As our boys got older, part of our goal in discipling them for Christ has been to help them become aware of current events, and to see these events through a Christian worldview.
In the middle and high school years, we developed a simple routine to study current events with our teens. It takes about a half hour of our weekday mornings, so we did it over breakfast or lunch. That way, it didn’t interfere with our school day, we had time for discussion, and on the days when Dad was home for breakfast, he could guide the discussion.
I’d encourage you to take the time to help your middle school and high school students understand the news from a biblical perspective now, while they’re at home. You can do this regardless of how your children are schooled.
Current Events for Teens
1) CNN Student News
Let’s be clear right up front: CNN Student News is not a Christian newscast, and there are sometimes segments we don’t agree with. Sometimes I feel like bias is evident. However, CNN Student News is not the same as the adult version of CNN.
I love the fact that we can stop the broadcast and discuss the worldview involved, and how we feel worldview and ethics influence the presentation. Our goal has never been to insulate our children from the world, but rather to train them to live in the world.
Our kids loved watching CNN student news every morning–or over lunch. It takes just 10 minutes. I appreciate the fact that the anchor, Carl Azuz, is cheerful and fun. I also appreciate the fact that the news is edited for middle and high school students.
Current events are carefully explained so that teens will understand the issues behind current events. For instance, an episode we watched in 2015 was a news section on the allied offense on ISIS. Teens learned what ISIS stands for, what the group is doing (in a non-frightening, appropriate way), why ISIS is a global security threat, and how allied nations are working to control the threat.
You can watch CNN Student News from any internet-enabled device, such as a tablet, laptop, or smart TV. We just find that a tablet works well for us at the mealtime.
2) Albert Mohler’s The Briefing
The Briefing by Albert Mohler is a 20 minute podcast. We listen on our tablet from his page on SermonAudio. Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Each weekday, he chooses several news events and comments on them from a biblical perspective with the goal of helping listeners develop a Christian worldview.
Our teens grew into this activity. Dr. Mohler’s podcast is aimed at adults, so were times when my middle schoolers glazed over a little. The subjects can be advanced and Dr. Mohler speaks quickly. I do think that stretching teens is worthwhile, and familiarity with the podcast helped them develop a greater understanding over time. You’ll want to use your parental discernment with your own teens.
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Faith Books for Christian Youth
First Steps Box Set: 10 book setRebels Rescued (A Students Guide)God’s Story: A Student’s Guide to Church HistoryWater the Earth: A Student’s Guide to MissionsNew Believer’s Guide to the Christian Life
The following resources were used by our family a few times a week or month, in our free time.
1) Wretched Network
We watch YouTube broadcasts on a full screen mode (again on our tablet). This prevents unrelated and undesirable posts from showing on the screen. (Some advertised YouTube videos have terrible screenshots.)
2) WORLD TEEN Magazine
WORLD TEEN Magazine comes 5 times a year. A subscription gives families access to weekly emails, as well as a tablet app that’s available. My boys love perusing these age-appropriate news articles and commentaries on their own. We trust the news team at WORLD and appreciate having this resource available.
3) WORLD Magazine
My husband and I subscribe to WORLD, a Christian bi-weekly magazine. I appreciate their theologically conservative viewpoint and the frequency of the magazines. My boys love the sections on culture, the political cartoons, and news blurbs. One of my boys reads the magazines from cover-to-cover. I actually have to request they return them each evening so I can have a chance to read them!
That’s how we’ve studied current events with teens from a biblical perspective. I feel it prepared our kids to examine and interact with the world, keeping God’s Word as their filter. I also hope you found a new resource or two for your family.
How do you study current events as a family?
Martin Luther and the Reformation
Teach your teens about Martin Luther and the Reformation in an exciting, new way with When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther!
Martin Luther (1483-1546) is often referred to as “The Father of the Reformation”. Born during a time of superstition, tradition, and spiritual corruption, Luther gave up a lucrative career as a lawyer to become a monk in the Roman Catholic Church–a path he felt would certainly lead to salvation.
As Luther’s understanding of the spiritual corruption within the Church grew, and he despaired of true salvation, Luther (now a scholar and priest) sought the Bible for answers. Following his discovery of the true gospel in Scripture, Luther began to preach spiritual freedom to his congregation, and to teach biblical (rather than philosophical) theology at the University of Wittenberg.
It was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther penned his Ninety-Five Theses in Latin in response to the abusive indulgence sales practices of the monk Johann Tetzel in a nearby town. Luther nailed the Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, the scholarly bulletin board of his day, and mailed a copy to the Archbishop of Mainz. Luther hoped to start a scholarly debate about the practice of selling salvation through plenary indulgences. The response he received was greater–and more dangerous–than he imagined it would be.
Luther’s story is exciting. There are death defying moments, epic spiritual battles, narrow escapes, a kidnapping, revolution, and war. As the “Father of the Reformation”, Luther is a vital figure in Church history. His sacrifice and willingness to wage battle against the spiritual, religious, and political powers of his medieval world allowed Christians throughout time to embrace the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as explained by Scripture alone once again. May all glory be to God alone!
Read portions of the first eight chapters of When Lightning Struck!:
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Thank you for sharing this. My son has just started middle school and is very interested in current events. Your suggestions are a great help. We have only been using bits and pieces of Fox News so this will be an improvement.
Thank you SO MUCH for this! I’ve been looking for a way to introduce my kids to current events without completely depressing them with the horrors of the world. I’ve not had much luck finding anything developmentally appropriate until now.