world race parents

The World Race Parents Guide

A careful reading of this guide is necessary to discern exactly what Adventures in Missions values. The World Race parents guide is intended to for parents to understand exactly what the World Race is all about.    After reading it, we have two main concerns.  1.  The pure sweet Gospel of Christ is not at the heart of their “mission”.  2.  Intentional distancing of family and the faith “learned from childhood” (2 Tim 3) is   encouraged.
 Keep this verse in mind as you read on.
 “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” Eph 4:4-7, 13-14
We are called to one, true faith and as we mature in that faith we should mature in our ability to discern these deceitful schemes of the devil.
As a caveat, we understand that it is good and necessary for young people to leave home, to get married, for a job, etc. It is biblical for a couple to leave and cleave and/or to separate financial responsibilities, etc.(Gen 2:24) However, this is very different than abandoning the family of your youth and discovering a “new” faith.
The parents’ guide offers this insight into what AIM’s schemes are:
We practice radical discipleship, and this involves a process…Our young people
struggle with feelings of being illegitimate adults because there is no rite
of passage. The only option they feel they’re left with is rebellion that
leads to a tearing away from their parents. That tearing away may take
years to mend and heal. The World Race offers a healthy option in the
process of initiation.
It struck us that the initiation process intended to prepare young people for an 11 month missions trip neglects to mention Christ or winning souls to Him.  Missions is NOT about making legitimate adults and this self-centered focus is alarming.
Rebellion being the “only option” for young people denied a “right of passage” into adulthood is absurd. Parents, Seth is saying you fell short in raising your children and adequately preparing them for adulthood.
We expect Racers will go through the first three to four stages on the
World Race, and the final two to three as they return home and on into
their continuing life journey.
Everything starts with a call to leave the old security and structure and lean into the challenge of moving into the unknown. They are asked to leave their homes, and the comfort of current close relationships… Their mission is the same as Abraham’s: “get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1).
Seth insists this “mission” is required.  Is he correct? It hardly seems necessary to note that this was a specific call to Abraham, through whom God would build a nation set apart to be His people.  His call does not apply to all believers.  There is no Scripture that commands this and Seth’s use of this passage as a proof text for his idea is a mishandling of Scripture. 
His entire premise, that this call of Abraham is the reason parents need to let their children go, is using a “descriptive” passage of the Old Testament to be a “prescriptive” command for our lives. 
Abraham was living in a pagan and idolatrous family  (Josh 24:2) when he was chosen by God to be the man through whom He would build the nation of Israel.  Through Abraham’s lineage God’s Son, Jesus Christ would ultimately come.  Clearly, this call was not one that applies to all of us.


We are called to leave the old pattern of worldly, sinful living when we come to Christ (2 Cor 5:17). This is the only calling that is true for all who will come to Christ in faith, and it does not mean we are all called to leave our family and the faith that is genuine. Rather, these are to be considered a blessing from the Lord to embrace not abandon. Nowhere in Scripture are children instructed to abandon the family and the faith taught by their parents.

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut 6:5-7
Each person needs to have a faith that is their own, having come in repentance to a merciful Savior, but they are called to embrace “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) taught by parents.  They are not to abandon that faith for “new” ideas offered in its place.
As Paul exhorts Timothy,  “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ” 2 Tim 3:14-17
This moving from the old leads into a season of insecurity and questioning. They can no longer rely on someone else’s belief systems or experiences. In order to make their faith their own they must be willing to embark on a treacherous journey of faith toward God. It is a transition and, although scary and painful, it is absolutely necessary.
The transition from a childlike faith to a true saving faith does involve forgoing reliance on someone else’s personal faith and submission to Christ. But, parents encourage this by example and sharing the Gospel, teaching their children to acknowledge a personal recognition of sin. This is how each person will be adopted as children of God and justified before Him.  We will all stand before the Judge alone and we individually need to be wearing Christ’s robe of righteousness. The legacy of faith taught in Christian homes should be seen as invaluable to bring young adults to saving faith.
Brokenness leads them to find faith molded out of their own experiences and creates a new dependence upon God. It’s a nerve-racking time to swing from one security net to the other. In the end, this new dependence and faith in God will serve them on the World Race and for the rest of their lives. They will find themselves saying yes when God calls them to things previous generations have been afraid to embrace.
Repentance leads them to faith. Where is Christ in any of this? Parents, he is mocking you as being afraid to embrace what he is going to offer your kids.
In this time of true dependency upon God something incredible begins to happen. God starts answering their prayers in ways they have never experienced before. He actually seems to challenge them to believe and ask for more; they begin to believe for and ultimately see the miraculous. Doing greater works talked about in John 14:12 becomes their goal…
The “greater works” does not mean greater in power.  It means greater in extent meaning we are fulfilling the Great Commission to share the Gospel to the world, (Christ’s earthly ministry was limited to Israel) making disciples empowered by a life submitted to Christ and filled by the Spirit.  It does not mean performing signs and wonders which can also be mimicked by Satan.
While God is meeting them at the point of renewed faith they hear a whisper of God’s plan for their lives. Perhaps in this stage, they will sense God imparting a specific focus or calling. The goal of this time is to create an environment for God to speak about ministry. It’s a time of rediscovery that could lead them into areas that might be unexpected or even unrelated to their education. Much of this rediscovery is done near the end of the World Race and into their first several months home.
Still nothing of Christ or the Bible for that matter.
The World Race is not an all-encompassing experience. After the conclusion of their journey, we begin to see clarity to the calling. We begin to see real-world applications. As they begin to lay out the plan they are sensing from God, there will be a confirming sense of God’s presence apparent to those around them. This continues to be a time of discovery, so we as a World Race staff are working on post-Race options that will give better direction to calling and confirmation.
Racers need to be fully released and fully empowered by the Lord. Scary? Yes, but we believe it is the most successful and healthy way to go through the process.
Why does Seth keep using the word scary? Maybe scary is not the right word…maybe it is unsettling and unnecessary.  Hence the feeling that there is something wrong here.
One of the foundations of our discipleship model is that every Racer would break dependency on everything but the presence of God in their lives. The journey away from the familiar is imperative to this goal: they must journey away from the guidance of family, the security of friends, and the predictability of their everyday lives. They must learn to rely on their own pursuit of the things of God.Even if they’ve been taught good worldviews and theologies, they need to move beyond the spoon-feeding into new and deeper ways of thinking.
Even if they have been taught good theology?  Your faithful teaching of God’s Word to your child is termed spoon-feeding?  Seth is going to give your kids HIS newer, deeper way of thinking and it will not be the faith taught by our Lord Jesus and His apostles.
Throughout the World Race, each participant will be expected to learn the discipline of listening prayer.If God truly speaks and gives us the ability to discern his voice, then a life of listening to the Spirit of God on all occasions and for every purpose is the best life possible. Everything we do is rooted in the lifestyle practice of listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. It is a new concept to most of the Racers, but has life-changing results.
This is a perfect example of Seth conforming these kids to HIS theology.  For a man that does not exalt Christ anywhere in his writings, is he really the one you want teaching your kids how to hear the voice of God?  This is a mystical practice associated with Eastern religions and mystics.  It is not biblical.  Seth wrote the book they are expected to read.
Here is more information, “Centering prayer (listening prayer) is an unbiblical and dangerous practice.  It can put a person in an altered state of consciousness and open him up to a spiritual connection that is not in harmony with Scripture. Instead, we are to seek God in prayers that are non-repetitious, with a focus on God’s word and truth, with an active mind seeking to find the true and living God through the revelation of the Scripture and communion with his son Jesus. In short, avoid centering prayer and avoid whatever church promotes it.” 
We emphasize listening prayer. We believe God wants to communicate with us daily in a personal way. We ask, listen, and obey: asking God for guidance, listening for His response, and obeying Him to the best of our ability.
You’ve given your sons and daughters the best years of your life; you’ve been there and provided for them. Because of this, you may feel entitled to some things from them in return. Truthfully, one of the most helpful things you can do now is to give them the space they need to find their own identity and faith.
Their own faith?  There is only one.
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed…” Jude 3
If you have brought your children up to fear the Lord Jesus Christ and submit to His gracious care as our Redeemer, this is NOT the faith that they will be taught from this organization.  They are asking you to release them to their teaching and to abandon the faith of their youth.  This is not biblical.  Please read the testimonies we’ve shared in other blog posts and also the other areas we have pointed out concern about the thoughts towards parents.
“The focus of the World Race must remain on making it the best discipleship experience we can for the Racers — including helping them step into their own identity as adults.”
Missions is not about making adults, it is about sharing the Good News about Jesus Christ. 
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

1 Cor 2:2


Seth as Papa and Daddy

One of the signs of a cult is “Substitution”…Food for thought, an interesting consideration…

“The Cult and cult leaders often take the place of mother, father, priest, teacher, and healer.Often the members takes on the characteristics of a dependent child seeking to win the approval of the leader and or group.”

Parents, after reading our other posts is this what you want for your kids? Why are these kids even prone to calling him by this title? These are a sampling of the comments young racers are writing in response to Seth’s blogs.

“Oh daddy, you’re so great. I just love you. you set such a great example and make it so much easier for everyone else (me) to do the same. I love you!” Commentator

I call you Dad, we do so on account of your proven authenticity over the years. We count ourselves blessed to be fathered by you…I love you Daddy Seth Barnes Commentator

“Dear Daddy Seth,
Greetings! I love this and love you too much because you are my spiritual father

“great blog dad and i really love that picture of you and papa shearman.” Commentators

(see our post, What is the 42nd Generation?, for more about who Andrew Shearman is)

“…very few people will leave you feeling as encouraged as Papa Shearman will!” Commentator

“Dear Daddy Seth,
Thanks for the email.May God bless You.” Commentator

daddy, I just love your blogs/teachings/thoughts/sermons.” Commentator

This is what Seth says about “Fathering”.

“Fathers don’t give themselves the designation of “father,” sons or daughters do. Men who talk about themselves as fathers a lot probably do so out of their own need for affirmation. Be careful of them...”Don’t confuse authority figures, especially your pastor, with your spiritual father. Pastors may qualify as a spiritual father if they show up in your life over time in a deeply invested and personal way.”    Seth

how ironic…

“…And after considering, I chose the role of being a father…So now we’re focusing our attention on becoming a spiritual mom and dad to many of their peers.” Seth

how contradictory…

“He’d (Jesus) told me that a fatherless generation was growing up and that I should minister out of a fathering spirit.”  Seth

Jesus told him to father your kids…whose going to argue with that?  

“what people wanted from me was the fathering hat more than the boss hat.” Seth

It’s what the kids want?…as Seth so aptly (and ironically) said…

“Be careful” of those giving themselves the title of father.


Narcissism and Dominion Theology

In a recent post on his blog, Seth Barnes stated,

“God made you to be great. But you will never walk in the greatness he made you for until you’ve left your hometown…We discover our greatness as we encounter the needs of a hungry world and different ways of doing things.”

Narcissistic statements like these feed into the egos of fallen humanity.  Which of us doesn’t secretly long to be “great” in our own eyes as well as those of others?  But is this consistent with God’s purpose for us?   Are we to spend our lives seeking our own greatness or are we to spend them seeking to make the greatness of HIM known?  Are we to make much of ourselves or much of HIM?

The Bible does not say we are to be great, it says we are to be humble, gentle, and meek.  God is the one who is GREAT.

What scripture says about US:

2 Cor 3:4-5 “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God”

Matt 5:5  “Blessed are those who are meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Prov 11:2  “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Eph 4:2  “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another with love.”

We are sinners and children of wrath. (Rom 1:18, Rom 3:23, Rom 7:7)

We are slaves, redeemed and bought with a price if we have come to Christ in belief and repentance (Acts 20:21, Rom 6:16-22, I  Cor 6:19-20)

We are adopted, beloved children (Rom 8:15-17, Eph 1:5)

What scripture says about GOD:

HE is great and powerful and holy. (Job 38, Is 6:3, John 6:44, Eph 1:19-20, Phil 2:13, Col 1:29)

HE gets all the glory and will not share it with anyone. (Is 42:8, Eph 1:6)

Jude 24-25 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

This kind of advice is consistent with Seth’s encouragement to young people to get away from the safety of their family (and hence the God given authority in their life) and into his “discipleship program” at AIM.  (see our post, Disrespect of World Race Parents)   Please note, however, that there seems to be a certain inconsistency  with his  own family.

The insinuation that EVERYONE must leave their hometown in order to discover their “greatness” naturally alienates men and women who have chosen to stay and minister in their hometown and faithfully serve in the local church, Moms who stay at home to raise children (obeying the Titus 2 command to be workers at home), and Dads who work diligently to provide for their family’s needs.  If Seth’s words were true then all of the above would be missing out on their purpose and “destiny” because they would be unable to see the world and be “great”.

Kevin De Young writes, “My generation in particular is prone to radicalism without follow through. We have dreams of changing the world, and the world should take notice accordingly. But we’ve not proved faithful in much of anything yet. Until we are content with being one of the million nameless, faceless church members and not the next globe-trotting rock star, we aren’t ready to be a part of the church.Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction.

As an important side note to this post, Seth’s assertion that Jesus was rejected in his hometown because He was too “familiar” is patently false.  Jesus had just claimed deity (Luke 4:21) and while they were amazed at his miracles, they hated His message.  He confronted their sin and unbelief  in who He was claiming to be…The Messiah…and they hated Him for it.  This passage is not about us at all.

The rest of Seth’s interpretation is mere words to tickle the ears of those who want to believe that they are great and deserving of much, as opposed to the humble, repentant sinner.  The latter knows he or she deserves only wrath and yet has been graciously given an inheritance that is wholly undeserved.  In response he or she faithfully serves where the Lord has planted them.

Romans 16:17-18 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

In another post Seth implies that,  the world is getting better because of our greatness  then goes on to write,

“I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve come to believe that the world is getting worse and there’s no greatness in you to stop it. But the ironic thing is that it’s not. It’s actually getting better at an astounding rate.”

In the same post, Seth recommends the book,  Megashift.  The author agrees with and promotes the same idea of our “greatness”. 

“A megashift of spiritual power into the hands of ordinary people is about to overwhelm the world and put it into vastly better shape…Do you have a Christian background?…perhaps you’re one of those who can’t push themselves to show up Sunday mornings anymore. You love God and believe the Bible, but were disappointed in the church because it just didn’t meet your needs or make you feel significant…(pg 28-29)

Two reviews, here and here  connects all this with Dominion theology.  Jesus did not see the world getting better because we are people of power and greatness, he describes what will happen before He comes again in Matt 24, Luke 21 and in Mark 13, vs 5 warning us, “See that no one leads you astray”.

“Then comes the end, when HE delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when HE puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For HE must reign till HE has put all enemies under HIS feet.”
1 Corinthians 15:24-25


Disrespect of World Race Parents

A Note of caution to World Race parents…  You may also want to read our post called, “Seth as Papa and Daddy“, he seems quite happy to take them from you so he can be the replacement intending to rewire the kids with “deeper ways of thinking”…unfortunately our family is all to familiar with where that leads…

From Seth Barnes’ Blogs:

  • Parents who don’t disciple their kids  “Some of them call or write me to ask detailed questions about what’s going on with their kid. Many want to get a regular phone call update from them – something we discourage as it keeps young people stuck and unable to grow. These parents have got elastic apron strings that sometimes stretch as far as Africa. It’s exhausting for us. Sometimes I just want to refuse to take any young person whose parents can’t prove that they really get this point. It’s a fool’s errand to try and fight them. I want to tell them, “Hey, you did such a great job with your kiddo – why don’t we send them back home to you so you can have another whirl at it?”
  • Parents who are missing the plot  “So, I want to ask Tommy’s mom, “What is it that was so special about what Tommy was doing at home that has you so worked up, lady?” I mean, get a grip. Get some perspective!“…”And maybe, against her will, his example will drag Mom, kicking and screaming, to a point of realizing her destiny in spite of herself.”
  • An out-of-control mom  “A lot of parents need to get a life. Some are WAY too involved in their children’s lives.”
  • Let them go “Although the World Race has dramatically impacted the majority of those who have gone on it, there are many days that Michael Hindes, the World Race Director, and I have been ready to quit. And the reason is not the racers or their experience themselves. It’s their parents. Parents wear us out sometimes.”
  • Responding to unfair criticism  “Our objective at AIM is to thrust over-protected young people out into the world to formulate their own world view and collide with their destiny.”
  • From the World Race Parents Guide  “Everything starts with a call to leave the old security and structure and lean into the challenge of moving into the unknown. They are asked to leave their homes, and the comfort of current close relationships…The journey away from the familiar is imperative to this goal: they must journey away from the guidance of family, the security of friends, and the predictability of their everyday lives. They must learn to rely on their own pursuit of the things of God. Even if they’ve been taught good worldviews and theologies, they need to move beyond the spoon-feeding into new and deeper ways of thinking.”

From Michael Hindes-former World Race director

  • Michael to parents “They need places with close community that will challenge the behaviors and attitudes that we have previously excused.  In short, they need places to grow up and grow away from us.”
  • Blog (now closed) of Michael Hindes “I’m an antagonist by nature, an instigator, a provoker, some might even call me a bully (although I don’t think so). My goal in ministry has always been to challenge people’s beliefs…I’ve spent the last several years with the 20’s something crowd and have been very shocked, even dismayed at how much they’re dug in already regarding their understanding of God.

As an instigator, I try to wrestle with them. I want to see if we might deconstruct at least some of their presuppositions…  You know like challenging their views about the Spirit, the Word, His voice, the Kingdom…I actually had a 25-year-old ask me if I believed in the virgin birth, the atoning sacrifice, Jesus’ bodily resurrection, and our eternal reward? There was no room in their mind for any “true believer” to think differently about anything they’d been taught in Bible College.


With this information in mind, read this “manifesto”, “As a World Race Parent, I…”#5 says, “Know that educating myself on the process of abandonment, brokenness and dependence, specifically by reading Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes, will help me understand why my Racer needs to do the Race” and #6 “Will allow my son or daughter to do the hard work of abandonment and brokenness and will resist my temptation to rescue them from that.”

God’s Word Says:

2 Tim 3:14-15 “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Deut 11:19 “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother”


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