In the early 1980s, Joel Belz, who would go on to become the founder of World magazine, had five daughters in grade school or getting ready to head there. He was eager to show them how a Christian worldview had something to say about everything they were going to be studying.
Belz had fond memories of his own elementary school days and how he looked forward to the arrival of Weekly Reader and Scholastic circulars, with their colorful pages, new stories, features and puzzles. He mused to himself, “Wouldn’t it be terrific if we could do the same thing for Christian kids now?-except that to all those good features we would add a faithful biblical perspective.”
That was the genesis of what today is God’s World News children’s magazine. Belz started the publication in 1981, and by the late 80s, had four age-appropriate editions of the magazine reaching a quarter of a million children in Christian schools and home schools in all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries.
Each week, the magazine’s writers produce 24 pages of original news coverage and commentaries on a range of topics. From political and international affairs, to scientific and technological achievements, to art and music-these publications, with their colorful maps, photos, and posters, bring God’s involvement in the world alive to young readers in a way they can understand.
Belz says, “We want kids to ask the question over and over: ‘What do you suppose God is up to?’ We don’t want to be preachy on that front-but we do want to be persistent.”
And that persistence is definitely needed. A recent study by the Center of Public Values at Trinity College reveals that 15 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t identify with any religion. That percentage is highest-almost 22 percent-among the youngest adults, those aged 18 to 29. That trend, researchers predict, will only continue to grow in the next 20 years.
For Belz, the growing trend in secularized thinking has a clear root. He says, “One reason our nation is as secularist in its mindset as it is, is that we’ve left [God] out of the conversation. Sometimes, even in our Christian schools and homes, we’ve left Him out of our discussions and out of the curriculum in so-called ‘secular’ topics.”
Well, I agree with Belz. And that’s one of the chief reasons God’s World News exists-to help families and schools learn how to talk about God’s ongoing activity in the world as both creator and sustainer.
Almost 28 years since its founding, the staff is beginning to see a generation of young adults who’ve been raised on God’s World News. One young lady, currently a student at the University of Virginia, wrote them to say, “I’d always enjoyed [the publication], but now I realize that you were teaching me to think like a Christian.”
It thrills me to hear that because my greatest worry at this point is the lack of worldview training for youngsters. When they go off to college or enter the workplace, the studies show that most of them lose their faith.
So I’ve got a great idea for you for a Christmas gift for your children or grandchildren-give them a subscription to God’s World News.
From BreakPoint, October 12, 2009, Copyright 2009, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. “BreakPoint®” and “Prison Fellowship Ministries®” are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship