SojournKids

Steve Wright

Connecting Church & Home Conference 2010

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

I was able to attend portions of the Connecting Church & Home conference at Southern Seminary the past weekend.  I am always encouraged by hearing David Michael, Jay Strother, Steve Wright, and Timothy Jones--four men that I count as models in ministry.  It was also good to hang for a few minutes at the seminary bookstore with my friend Tony Kummer.  Here are some links to his coverage of the conference.

Connecting Church and Home Conference- August 20-21, 2010 from Southern Seminary on Vimeo

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Thursday Book Club: ApParent Privelege

UncategorizedAdministratorComment

ApParent Privilege. Steve Wright with Chris Graves.  Inquest Ministries: Wake Forest, NC.  175 pages.  $14.99. Steve Wright, as a follow-up to his book on the new reality in youth ministry, ReThink, spoke directly to parents in his book, ApParent Privilege. Steve, pastor of student ministries at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC, along with his wife, Tina, have 3 teenagers under their roof.  In this book, they give practical and theological advice to other parents who are, with God’s help, trying to raise sons and daughters in the 21st Century.  His premise is that the parents hold the biblical mandate to be the primary spiritual shapers (disciplers) of their own children.

From the outset, I would highly recommend (and or give) this book to everyone who is expecting a baby, has a baby, toddler, child, or teenager.  No matter what age, it is never to late to start training your children in the ways of God.  Over the past 2 ½ years, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Steve and Tina, and know they practice what they preach.

This book is not all theory.  It is coveted truths from Scripture and practical wisdom from the heart of a dad who loves his children.  Two chapters in particular lay this foundation: "Chapter 5: A Parent’s Tasks: Foundations of Christian Parenting," and "Chapter 7: A Parent’s Tools: Real Ideas to Make Discipleship Happen."

"Your parenting affects more than your child's here and now. It affects generations to come and their eternity" (94)

Dr. Randy Stinson, Dean of the School of Church Ministry at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, spoke on this topic at Re:Think, a conference held in May 2009 at Providence Baptist Church.  I remember him saying that we don't parent and do ministry just for our children, but for our children's children, and their children, and their children. Think future. Think eternity.

“If the cross of Christ is the center of history, then it must also be the center of our lives as well as the center of our communication with our children"  (54)

At Sojourn, one of the core values is the gospel.  The elders come back to the gospel at the end of every sermon.  This quote should resonate with every Christian parent’s heart.  This will not happen if we are left to ourselves, but we can pray that the Spirit would deepen our longing for the hearts of our children to know the saving power of the cross of Christ.  So often parents talk with their kids about all else excepting the gospel.  This book offers practical advice of how to work the gospel into conversations around the dinner table, the car rides, or special “dates” with your kids.

Maybe you just work with kids as a volunteer in a children’s ministry program, and you don’t have any children of your own (or maybe both apply to you).  I don’t have any children but I do like to work with children at church or in child care settings.  I love hearing them sing, their voices so cute (and you know there is always one who is waiving to the camera or not paying any attention at all).  This quote made me cry (and I was on a plane with others around me): "The responsibility to teach our children the incredible truths of God may seem overwhelming, but the Bride of Christ is there to help. She will teach you how to teach. She will train you how to train. You cannot do it alone." (109)  We have a challenge ahead of us, to come alongside parents and be a source of encouragement for them, to help equip them, to love them and their children, and to point their children to Christ.

So, my advice: Go buy this book. If you are a parent, go get it. If you know someone having a baby - get it for them. Buy the youth pastor at your church this book. Tell him to read it. Just read it. Then live it and practice it. By God's grace and for His glory. For eternity.

Kim Davidson is currently a Sojourn member who serves at Sojourn's East Campus.

Dads, the Old Testament ends with a message for you. God wants your kids. So, God wants you.

UncategorizedJared Kennedy1 Comment

Here are the famous final words of the Old Testament:

"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."  Malachi 4:5-6

One pastor, Steve Wright, observes, "Of all the ways that the Old Testament could have closed, notice how with laser accuracy it zeros in on one particular group--fathers" (ApParent Privelege, 135).  The passage promises a messenger like Elijah who would bring reconciliation of family conflicts within the Jewish community.  And it warns that the land will be cursed if the fathers do not respond to this messenger.  But how will they be cursed?  What is at stake if the fathers disobey?

Throughout the book of Malachi, the prophet has called fathers to turn in repentance toward Him and turn back to their community, their wives, and their families.  The consequences are clear.  By their actions, the fathers will either become a curse and source of warning for their children, or their repentance will be a source of blessing for their children.  And their children will be claimed by God as godly offspring:

"If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name," says the LORD Almighty, "I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.  "Because of you I will rebuke your descendants" (Malachi 2:2-3a)

"The LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth" (Malachi 2:14b-15)

God wants dads to reconcile with Him and with their families, because he has a claim on their children.  He desires godly offspring.  He wants the next generation to know Him and  treasure Him, keep his commandments, and not forget him.   And family conflict is an obstacle that gets in the way of kids knowing Christ.  Conflict with your spouse can be an obstacle to your kids growing in godliness.

Often dads use a heavy work load as an excuse for neglecting their families.  Steve Wright responds this way.  His words are ones to live by:

God has given a job description to us, and there is no escape clause, even for dads who work a certain number of hours.  You see, our career isn't really our job.  Our career puts food on the table and keeps the lights on so that we can do our real job.  Our real job is laid out clearly in the Word...

Love your Lord with everything you've got. Matthew 23:37-38 says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment."  If Jesus said this is the most important thing we can do, then it is also the most important thing a dad can do.

Love the Lord and lead your bride. Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."  The message is to serve your bride just as Christ served His Bride, the church, to the point that he laid down his life for her.

Love and teach your children. Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  This verse sums up the biblical mandate for dads.  Dads must lead the effort to give their children an eternal perspective, show them their need for Christ, and continually point them to the Savior (from ApParent Privelege, 146-147).

Don't neglect your primary responsibilities.  Don't let family conflict be an obstacle to your kids knowing Jesus in 2010.  Heed the final words of the Old Tesament.

A Parent's Influence

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment
  • An extensive study of 272, 400 teenagers conducted by USA Today Weekend Magazine found that 70 percent of teens identified their parents as the most important influence in their lives. Twenty-one percent said that about their friends (peers), and only 8 percent named the media (from Wayne Rice and David Veerman, Understanding Your Teenager, Lakeside, CA: Understanding Your Teenager Books, 1999, 118).
  • MVParents.com says, 'Nearly three out of four parents believe their children's friends and classmates have the most influence... Yet contrary to what parents think, kids say mom and dad have the biggest impact on the choices they make' (MVParents.com is a web site of the Coors Brewing Company).
  • In a national survey, 1, 129 middle school students were asked what the greatest influence in their life was, and parents topped the list.  The results were: parents--37 percent, friends--22 percent, church--11 percent, youth pastor--7 percent, and music--5 percent.  Adult volunteers, schoolteachers, culture, and the internet each scored 2 percent or less.  A national survey of 923 high school students yielded very similar results (Southern Baptist Convention survey, taken from www.sbcstudents.com/annualsurvey/2007ParentYouthRelationships.pdf).
  • MTV and the Associated Press released a study on influence of parents that said, "So you're between the ages of 13 and 24.  What makes you happy?  A worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this: Sex, drugs, and a little rock 'n' roll.  Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.  Turns out the real answer is quite different.  Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question... Parents are seen as an overwhelmingly positive influence in the lives of most young people.  Remarkably, nearly half of teens mention at least one of their parents as a hero" ("MTV and the Associated Press Release Landmark Study of Young People and Happiness" at www.mtv.com/thinkmtv/research).

Research statistics found in Steve Wright and Chris Graves, ApParent Privelege, InQuest Publishing, 2008, pages 17-20.

Gospel-Centered Kids Min @ Band of Bloggers?

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Band of Bloggers is “an informal fellowship of gospel-committed writers seeking to encourage faithfulness in what is spoken of Christ while raising the standard of discourse to reflect the character of those called to blog worthy of the gospel to which we have been called.” I’ll be there, along with Sojourn Director of Operations Bryce Butler, Sojourn Director of Communications Bobby Gilles, who blogs regularly at the Sojourn Music site, and our resident video master Drew Layman. If you’re coming, please say “hi.”  This third Band of Bloggers luncheon conference (my first) features some of our favorite bloggers talking about how to blog for the glory of God and the edification of the church, how to improve your writing and make your website more visible, and more.

Speakers for the event are Tim Challies, Steve McCoy, Timmy Brister, Tullian Tchividjian, Mike Anderson, Justin Taylor , Eric Johnson, Owen Strachan, and Tony Reinke.  I'm really excited about one of the free book give-aways, ApParent Privilege by Steve Wright (InQuest Ministries).  From what I hear, this is a great book on family ministry.

What other fans of gospel-centered children's and family ministry will be at the Band of Bloggers?If you are planning to be there, drop me a line in the comments below. I'd love to meet you.