The Changing Face of Education in the US and How It’s Impacting the Faith of Children

Rob Hoskins, OneHope President

“Our kids learn within a system of education devised for a world that increasingly does not exist.”[1]

Technology has permeated the education system with American public schools providing at least one computer for every five students and $3+ billion per year for digital content. [2]

One computer to five kids

Tablets and smart boards don’t magically make pupils smarter unless teachers know how to use the devices properly and in a way that fosters engagement and encourages learning.[3]

The old way consisted of “learn” then “do.” However, with ubiquitous access to information and 24/7 connectivity, learning and doing have become inseparable in this new world which beckons us to, instead, wonder and discover.

Failing to acknowledge and adapt to a new way of learning would be disastrous. Hence, the increased push for classrooms and teachers to be equipped to teach for thought, discovery and application instead of rote memorization as mastery.

What is needed in a formal education environment is to guide the learners through a discovery process.[4] Discovery, as intriguing process, has become a powerful theme in contemporary culture and entertainment.[5]


Personal discovery >> personal learning>> concepts that stick

The same happens for a child’s faith and spiritual formation. When it is more of a guided discovery process and less of an old classroom exercise, there is a higher chance of spiritual vibrancy and a deep faith that can withstand the challenges of life as, well as internal and external scrutiny.

A study out of Fuller Youth Institute found that 60 percent of students will walk away from their faith and many of them will not return.[6]

The good news is, we know what helps kids have faith that sticks and allows them to grow spiritually vibrant.


educationThree influences

The three influences that determine spiritual vibrancy in teens are:

* positive family experiences,

* involvement in a faith community and

* engagement in religious texts.


Paying attention to the trends and having a pulse on the heartfelt needs of our partners in the field, we realized we needed to adapt our approach to this change in the educational climate. That’s why OneHope has been systematically augmenting our training programs to include instruction to teachers and leaders on how to do effective children’s ministry.

Our goal is not only to provide great programs and products for churches and leaders to share the Gospel to children and youth, but also for every church to have access to relevant content that allows them to have excellent children’s ministry practitioners.


[1] David Edwards, “American Schools are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist,” Wired, October 17, 2014.

[2] Benjamin Herold, “Technology in Education: An overview,” Education Week, February 5, 2016.

[3] Craig Blewett, “Outdated Teaching Methods Will Blunt Technology’s Power,” The Conversation, May 12, 2015.

[4] Mariappan Jawaharlal, “Teaching is not Learning: The guided discovery approach for learning,” Huffpost, May 6, 2011.

[5] David Edwards.

[6] Brian Houseman, “Why Are Teens Leaving the Faith,” Lifeway, June 17, 2013.

Rob Hoskins is the President of OneHope and blogs regularly at

Read more by Rob Hoskins at

Share this article