Thursday, January 23, 2014

The When, Where, Why and how of Intensive Worldview Studies

Welcome to the Informational page for the 2014-2015 "Understanding the Times" high school intensive worldview studies class!

If you are reading this then that means you have heard that I (Justin Knopp) am teaching a high school worldview class this year! I am delighted to provide the vision for the class, requirements, and more to help you decide whether or not to enroll your student in the 2014-2015 Worldview class.

Teacher's Experience:
As a sophomore in high school I attended my brother, David’s, worldview class wherein we dove headlong into the same material your student will encounter. Like all of the students in my class, I fell in love with discussing and learning more about worldviews. This was life changing. Then, my Junior Year, I travelled to Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs Colorado (the organization that writes and publishes the materials used for the Worldview class) and attended the two week intensive. This camp goes through the same textbook I'd studied previously over an entire school year only this time it was in two weeks! Summer Summit includes 70 hours of classroom time. This fanned the flame of my love for worldview studies. I began to ponder the idea of following in David's footsteps. I saw the great potential that he had to prepare young people to confidently go into the world and share the Gospel.

In May of 2013, I returned to Summit Ministries serving almost 12 weeks on staff. Every two weeks from May-August for 51 years Summit has been preparing Christian young people to be strong for Christ. This summer, I had the privilege to work with 45 staff as we served 180 new students every two weeks. Each session I lead a small group comprised of five young men. So I got to work with large groups, small groups and one-on-one always engaging with the students and the materials to help them to better understand the points the lectures, as well as discussing difficult life questions.

Many in Oregon know my brother, David, as "The Worldview Teacher" because he taught classes in Portland and Vancouver for five years. May 2012, David left for Colorado to serve as the classroom supervisor/mentor for Summit's summer program. At the end of the summer he was asked to stay as the project manager for a team that is revising Understanding the Times. This is a three year project to improve the very material that he was teaching in previous years! This means David and I were in Colorado together last summer which allowed opportunities to spend time with David discussing the curriculum, ways it is being improved (it is already great!) and to prepare me with a clear understanding of the way the curriculum is put together so that I can efficiently and effectively pick up where David left off. 

In the 2013-14 school year I was honored with a class of nine students ranging from fourteen to nineteen years old. We worked through the entire curriculum; spent hours in deep discussion and debate everyone (including me) learned a vast amount of information. Through this I am quite pleased to announce that I seek to teach this class for a second year!

Class vision:

Goal: To work through the Understanding The Times worldview curriculum - textbooks, DVDs over the course of one school year. Students will spend a minimum of an hour a day reading, writing, viewing DVDs, and contributing to thoughts on the forum culminating in a weekly meeting with their classmates.

I intend to create an atmosphere that doesn't feel as much like a school class as an opportunity to be mentored. Each student who desires individualized attention will work with me via weekly e-mails and phone calls. Each student will have the opportunity to work hard. The harder they work, the more they learn. Each class session will include discussion regarding material studied at home the prior week and preparation for the up-coming lesson. I will allow plenty of time to debate the philosophy of the differing worldviews. Occasionally I get up on my soap box and speak on various Theological issues that are on my heart.

Too often when grades are involved, high school students "freak out" and focus more on their grade than the real goal of comprehension and application. To help prevent this, I will not be giving grades on the daily work, weekly lectures, essays or reading. Daily assignments will be either "you did it" or "you didn't" graded as Pass/Fail. My purpose is to change the focus from grades to understanding the big ideas. I will be doing everything I can to inspire the students to diligently study through the week so they can engage in important, deep discussion during class. This is typically motivation enough.

The main point of World View is for each student to graduate thinking for themselves and being genuinely excited about the material. It is my experience that when a student discovers the vast number of belief systems in the world, it opens their eyes. Belief systems are in conflict with one another but only one is valid. By gathering a substantive knowledge of different worldviews one can learn how to love those who don't know our Savior and how to engage with other people groups in meaningful dialog without fear that our own belief system won't bear up to another system's scrutiny. There is an age-old adage that says, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." I will teach the students in depth worldviews material (outlined at as well as teach through the Christian worldview so the students understand their own beliefs just as much as others.

Class outline: outlines Understanding the Times as follows: “Understanding the Times is designed for your school classroom — complete with day-to-day lesson plans and classroom activities, as well as masters for assignments, papers, and unit tests — providing all the material needed to successfully teach worldviews and apologetics in your school. Understanding the Times has literally equipped thousands of students to become champions of the faith. We believe that those who are using this curriculum are playing a strategic role in the reclaiming of our Christian youth in our current post-Christian culture. Thank you so much for taking the time to consider this life-changing curriculum that will enable you to equip your students to become champions of the faith.”

At home the students will work through the day-to-day lesson plans and watching the weekly online lectures. In the past students were required to purchase these lectures. This has changed. We are now able to stream every lecture for the entire year completely for free through The lectures themselves come from world renowned apologists and thinkers of our day (many of whom I worked with personally this summer) covering a huge range of topics.

Through the course of two semesters we will dive into the core beliefs of the leading worldviews today: Islam, Secular Humanism, Marxist-Leninism, New Age, and Postmodernism. Some of the issues covered include: abortion, apologetics, the arts, biotechnology, critical thinking, cults, euthanasia, leadership, radical environmentalism, radical feminism, the problem of evil, religious pluralism, Scriptural reliability, and much more.

College Credit Opportunity:
For those students looking ahead to collage there is a fantastic college credit portion of the material that will allow students who participate to receive 2-3 hours of collage credit for the class:

Grading System:
Though the class is based on a pass/fail system, I want students to be able to put a grade on their transcripts as they exit high school. In order for this to happen I have set up the grading as follows:

All weekly homework that is due (Essay, lecture viewing etc) will be pass/fail. In the curriculum itself this homework is not even graded, only the tests and essays are. Through using the pass/fail system students can easily receive extra credit for doing their work throughout the week.

For transcripts the tests (unit, quarter and final) will be graded like any other class. These will then determine the final grade. Additional extra credit will also be offered to those who wish to participate (this aids in raising any low grades, or making high grades even better). I greatly enjoy handing out extra credit like candy.


Must be between the ages of 14-20 (Exceptions made) – The course is aimed at Juniors and Seniors in high school, however all students will greatly benefit from the material.

Must own the Understanding the Times Student textbook: (The fourth edition is required if your student will be applying for college credit.)
Must own the Understanding the Times Student Manual:

Must consider him or herself to be a Christian.

Must have daily access to the internet so he/she can participate in the 24/7 forum discussions with classmates as well as watch weekly lectures on the material being studied.

When and Where (Location and time are currently tentative, stay tuned for official word as the year progresses):
September - May
(Goal is to fill two classes if possible)
Tuesday afternoon from 1-3 PM.
Tuesday evenings from 7-9 PM.
My home: 8310 E. Burnside Portland OR 97216
Forum will be open for discussion all week but it will be strictly moderated.

The student textbook should be $20-35 depending on where it is purchased and if it is a new or used edition.

The student manual should be $10-15 also depending on where you purchase.

$50 non-refundable deposit due on sign-up.

[See below for three fantastic discounts!] The tuition is $600 due in two payments, $300 in September and $300 in January. In the past students had to pay roughly $100 for DVD’s of lectures etc. Today because they are online and completely free you don’t have to worry about that extra cost.

Early bird discount: Sign up and have your first tuition check postmarked by August 12th to get a $100 discount! (Total then becomes $500 for the year).

Referral discount: For each student who informs me they are signing up because you told them about the class I will reduce the cost by $20 per term (up to two students).

Tri-Referral discount: This discount is the best of them all! My dad was laid off three out of four of my high school years so I am keenly aware of how challenging it can be for some families to afford a class of this caliber. If you are willing to work for me and use your influence to let your friends (and their friends) know about Worldview, I will trade your time for mine. If you persuade three students to sign up for this year’s class, (students who wouldn't have signed up without your invitation) and all three credit you as their referral, I will thank you by giving one student in your family free tuition for the year. In other words, your student attends the class at zero charge. (Textbook must still be purchased). If you wish to enroll more than one student from your own family, I will extend the discount to $100 off for every additional student enrolled (after three referrals)!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email, call, or text me. I will be so grateful if you would forward this information to anyone you think could potentially be interested.

Contact Information:
Phone: (971)-235-7008
Or simply leave a comment at the end of this post, thanks!

Joshua Knopp, my older brother who took worldview from David and attended Summit in Colorado, was an alumni guest-speaker at the Worldview class I took from Dave. At that time Joshua was attending the University of Missouri-St. Louis; a very secular college. He was leading Inter- Varsity and involved in evangelism on a daily basis. I remember being impacted when he told the class that there were three courses from high school that he credited for being vital to his effectiveness in the classroom and on campus: These were NCFCA Debate, NCFCA Apologetics, and taking Understanding the Times with a group of like-minded students. 

My classmates and I took Understanding the Times as a class in high school and the vast majority of us would heartily agree that it was the best class we’ve ever taken. I will be a senior in college next year, and to date, I’ve never taken a class I learned more in or enjoyed more than Understanding the Times. Not only is the information in the curriculum educational and perfect for the world we’re living in, it is also absolutely life-changing. The amazing thing about this series is the ability of the content to impact so many aspects of our lives — an entire worldview.
Laura W
One of the stated goals of our school is to instill in our students a “Christ-centered worldview.” In order to achieve that goal, we have established the Understanding the Times curriculum as a foundational course in our 12th grade Bible curriculum. We feel that this study gives our students the valuable knowledge and tools they need to take on the secular worldview that they will face as they go on to college and into the work force. Our goal is to send out warriors for Christ equipped to storm the gates of Hell and claim victory over Satan’s schemes in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the Understanding the Times study helps us prepare those ‘warriors for Christ’. Thanks for making this tool available to us.
Douglas R (Ambassadors for Christ Academy)