Why We Needed to Create a Cultural Research Center

Tracking the seven mountains of cultural influence.

The Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University (ACU) was formed in partnership with George Barna to produce credible research and analysis to show the transformational impact of the biblical worldview on American culture.

America is in a period of moral and spiritual anarchy. Americans tend to believe that they control their own lives, that anything they desire is permissible, that there are no absolute moral truths or guiding principles that they must accept unless they want to. People are basing their moral and spiritual choices largely on emotions, and foundational truth principles are being discarded in favor of new, customized perspectives on life. The CRC will consistently and objectively track such conditions in our culture and subjectively respond from a biblical point of view, seeking to help guide the nation to sanity and health. ACU is an ideal setting for such a partnership because of the school’s long-term commitment to educating through a biblical worldview lens. CRC provides ACU with another vehicle for adding value to the Christian community, by providing useful information to decision-makers. What better time than now to provide such a service?

ACU is organized around and responsive to the seven mountains of cultural influence. Its goal is to prepare students to think and live biblically, and to use their skills, gifts and training to influence the nation for Christ through one or more of the seven mountains of cultural influence. Those seven dimensions of our society—family, faith, government, arts and entertainment, news and information media, education, and business—determine the nature of our country and how we live within it. Consequently, the focus of the research we conduct will be to track what is happening in each of the seven dimensions, along with our annual study of the nation’s worldview. In addition, each academic year we will conduct a worldview assessment among every ACU student and track their worldview development over the course of their time at ACU.

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The American Worldview Inventory: 2020 report is the first major research project conducted by the Center. Our plan is to release the data through major media outlets, so the public is aware of the findings, and to also share the results with like-minded ministry partners. We have a group of about 100 different parachurch organizations nationwide who labor as cultural change agents. Their work is directly impacted by worldview realities, so this information can help them to be more strategic and effective in their ministry efforts. We will also use the results to help develop a variety of resources that will translate the research into practical applications through books, curriculum, presentations, assessments, and other tools. Of course the research will also be integrated into our classroom content at ACU, as well.

Our goal is to keep leaders informed about the people whom they have been called to lead. Pastors and other local church leaders will have access to the information through our website, by subscribing to our quarterly newsletter, and by attending various informational and training events ACU and CRC will provide. As a research entity carrying out a variety of studies about current culture and how to best integrate Christianity into our society, we will be available to answer questions from church leaders about how the insights from the research relate to their local ministry context. Also, some of the resources we create from the research—such such as worldview curricula—will be designed to help churches promote vibrant, relevant, biblical Christianity, especially among children.

Our first two studies have been focused on assessing the worldview of Americans and also of ACU students. Those studies will be repeated annually. Three other studies we have just conducted and plan to release soon relate to the 2020 election and to the prayer life of Americans. After that we plan to implement tracking studies related to each of the seven mountains of cultural influence. Those surveys will provide us with the big picture of where the U.S. stands in those critical arenas. Just as importantly, those studies will establish benchmarks against which we will compare the results of surveys in future years to determine what type of progress we are making and what new strategies may gain ground.

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Learn more at CulturalResearchCenter.com.