Nathan Schneider


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This Week in Student Ministry: Parent Meetings

Parents,

As we look forward to the summer, please keep in mind the following dates for parent meetings.

May 22nd – Summer Send Camp

June 12th – Student Leadership University

July 17th – Cleveland Mission Trip

* All parent meetings will take place after the 10:30AM worship service in the Student Center. Meetings will last about 20-25 minutes and cover key information for our trips. If your child is attending any or all of these events, please make every effort to attend the meeting(s) that corresponds with such event(s).

I love being your Student Pastor!

Nathan Schneider

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16

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Recommended Resource: ApParent Privilege

This week, I want to recommend ApParent Privilege by Steve Wright. The book is a short, easy read, but full of practical advice for parents who want to see their children develop spiritually.41t6Yv8vo1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

This is the description from Amazon.com:

Parents have the greatest privilege of their lives literally in front of them everyday: their children. Pointing their children to Christ, modeling faith, encouraging with words, and showing unfailing love isn t a burden. It’s a privilege. Apparent Privilege will arm parents with biblical understanding and up-to-the-minute research to show them the unparalleled opportunity they have to be the primary influence of their children. It will give parents a biblical view of parenting, answer questions and concerns we all have, and help them understand how Christian parenting must become more than taking your children to church. In short, this book will equip a parent live a life where the difference is apparent.

Steve currently serves as Pastor of Discipleship and Church Planting at Family Church in West Palm Beach, FL. He has formally served as a pastor to students and families. His experience and understanding of Scripture has led him to place significant emphasis on the family for discipleship. He names seven ways that parents can nurture faith in the home:

1. Family Worship

2. Praying as a Family

3. Serving as a Family

4. Passage Trips

5. Journaling

6.  Journey days

7. Family dinnertime

He says this about the need for a home to be distinctly Christian, especially through Family Worship:

If a casual observer were to visit our homes, what practice would he or she see that is distinctly “Christian”? In many families today there is little noticeable difference between the home lives of Christians and the home lives of the unchurched. It should make us wonder what traditions and habits we are passing down to our children. It is my conviction that children need to see dad and mom leading in the study of God’s Word, sincere in their prayer life, and faithfully pointing to eternity. The Christian home has lost its badge of distinction as many families no longer practice family worship in their homes. I believe family worship, or whatever you choose to call it (family night, breakfast with Daddy, etc.), is the best place for our children to learn how to worship firsthand.

How can you begin the process of leading a time of family worship? He suggests the following small steps:

Start Small. Don’t be extreme by setting a standard of an hour each day for family worship. This will set you up for failure. Be realistic on what time and how much time works best for everyone.

Stick with it. It might be awkward at first for everyone (even you), but it will get easier over time.

Be realistic. When and how often should be determined by what works for your family and puts a win under your family’s belt. Some families start with once a month or once a week, some do every weekend, and others fo five days a week. Some families meet in the morning, some at night. Choose what works for you.

Have a plan. It could be structured or very informal, based on a Bible-reading plan or working through spiritual issues or questions. At first you may read on verse and share a statement of what God has been teaching you then end by praying for protection and blessing for your family. Some families have musical talent, and many young children love singing Bible songs. Some families memorize a verse together.

Give it time. Develop a plan for a few weeks, then evaluate later to determine if you need to make some minor tweaks or create a new plan entirely. Don’t worry, God will honor your efforts. He will finish His work.

Make it interactive. It would be wise if it weren’t a one-sided sermon. Make sure that your goal isn’t to simple scold your kids. This is a time to focus on the Lord and His Word, not on our kids’ failures and weaknesses.

Don’t overwhelm them. Make the worship time inviting and short enough leaving your children wanting for more. Then increase the length and depth as everyone gets more comfortable.

Be transparent. Be honest. Be open. Your children know you; so don’t try to fool them. If you don’t know what to say, then tell them so. In those moments, tell them that you are doing this because that is what the Bible tells us to do, and you are all learning this together.

One final word of advice: get to know parents who already have a set plan for family worship. Ask them questions. Learn from them, but understand that just because something works for their family doesn’t mean it will work for yours. The specifics of family worship are not spelled out in the Bible, but it is very clear that it is our responsibility and privilege as parents. I also encourage you to use the bible as your curriculum. There is so much confusion about which curriculum works with which age and whether or not your kids will like it. You can avoid these curriculum worries simply by going to the Bible.

Take a step of faith by submitting to God’s design for YOU to be the primary nurturer of your child(ren)’s faith. This book is simply one tool that will help you take that role seriously and give you practical advice to help you get there.

I love being your Student Pastor!

Nathan

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16


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Praise for My Parents, an Encouragement to Others

With a thankful spirit this holiday season, I’m going to acknowledge two people who had the biggest impact on me, my mom and dad. I want to give a word of praise to two parents who did their best, and for the most part, raised a decent human being. Now, my parents aren’t perfect, but no one’s are.  However, I’ve come to realize, more and more, how much my upbringing has prepared me to be the person I am today.

Unfortunately, many children don’t have a model home, because of such things as divorce and incarceration, among other factors. Sadly, though, many kids with both a mom and dad at the home are also struggling. There is a lot be said about proper parenting. Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, said this in the book of Proverbs (22:6) says:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Let’s be careful not to place all blame on the parents. Because this is a proverb, and it deals with general truths, there are exceptions to the wisdom suggested. Sometimes, youth rebel despite of the great efforts of their parents. However, most often, this proverb proves itself to be true. People grow up to be a result of their upbringing. Think of the implications, if you haven’t already reached the conclusion on your own, that one’s method of parenting matters.

I really believe my parents did a great job in raising both my brothers and me.  I hope that if you are a parent and still have children in the house, or even if their grown up, that you will see what mattered most for me and really, what matters most for the majority of teenagers – having great parents. Don’t believe me? These are comments from young people who watched an episode of World’s Strictest Parents (where the parents set rules!):

“I’d actually love to be in that family.”

“In retrospect, I wish I had parents like these.”

“I wish I had the opportunity to experience their lifestyle… their three kids are lucky to have someone who loves them unconditionally.”

“I am an atheist and I have to say, that makes no difference on how I view this. The family values and trust instilled by the parents here are just great. I admire the father for his commitment to his children. It is so refreshing to see such love and trust/responsibility given to kids in an age where all of that seems to have gone away and the kids are in charge.”

This generation of young people seeks parental influence. They desire for their parents to be involved in their lives. There must be a proper balance between being a friend to your children and being an authority figure. Here are some things I admire most about the way my parents parented:

My parents let me know, verbally, that they loved me and had taken great interest in me. I have had more than one friend who has told me, “I don’t ever remember my dad telling me ‘I love you.’” Notice, it’s usually the dad that has a hard time expressing this. My parents did more than just say “I love you.” They told me they cared for me, asked questions that showed interest, and they bragged about me behind my back (I’m far from perfect, so this last one was a big deal). The truth is: words do make a huge difference. I had a professor at college use the phrase “words create worlds.” Well, my parents showed me they loved me by the world created by their words.

My parents made my interests a priority in their own schedules. As most boys, I loved sports. On the hierarchy of important things to me as a teenager, sports were at the top. By the way, as I write this, I am really trying hard to think of a time my parents were not at one of my sport’s event, and I cannot think of one. Had they missed one it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I bet that if they had missed one, they would have at least took the time to ask me about the game or event. This was no small task as I participated in baseball, basketball, football, and track and field. If your children play video games, play video games. If they love learning, find a way to learn their favorite subjects and interact with them. Most importantly, TALK TO THEM, and I guess more importantly, LISTEN. Take advantage of time at the dinner table (eating dinner as a family was a big deal to me) or time before they go to bed. The more you have conversation with them, the easier it will be to do everything else.

My parents communicated to me a healthy model of both manhood and womanhood. There are many things I learned from my parents about being an adult (i.e. my dad was big on hard work). The important thing, however, is how I learned these things. I learned by watching. My parents modeled characteristics of healthy adulthood by living it themselves. Scott Moreau says, “It is impossible for any person to stop communicating. From a sigh to a wink, from a laugh to a yawn, every word, every gesture, and every action of yours can be seen to have meaning by another person, whether you intend it or not.” Remember, as Doug Fields says, “children are like ‘sponges’ and they will soak up EVERYTHING you say and do” (This is why I can say my parents aren’t perfect =)).

My parents invested in my spiritual life by instituting an atmosphere of spiritual growth. This, the most important thing, I appreciate most. Neither of my parents have a background in theological education, but they both understood their role as spiritual leaders. Check out Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

In other words, parents, constantly be modeling and teaching the things of God. This is not an either/or, but an issue of both teaching them the right things and actually living out those things. It wouldn’t be a help to tell your kids how important it is to follow Christ and then abandon that walk yourself. Remember, they’re like “sponges.” Teenagers today are looking for something worth following. Are you modeling a faith that shows genuine passion for God, the church, and for others? I will always remember the spiritual disciples my parents taught my brothers and me. We attended church on a weekly basis, had family devotionals nightly, and even sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus every Christmas evening. Simple, yet these memories will always be a reminder of the spiritual influence of my parents.

Now, I’m married and my wife has also been blessed with great parents. I appreciate the influence of both sets of parents. This holiday season should be great!

To conclude this thought, my parents were not perfect, but that’s the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He loved us while we were rebellious and gave up His life so that one day we could be forgiven of our sins and reconciled to Him, our Creator. Through a relationship with Christ, we can live out His grace in all areas of our lives, including parenting.

I love you mom and dad!

-Nathan