Wednesday morning, I rose from a deep, deep, deep sleep at 3:30 AM to head to the airport and head to Dallas for D6 Conference. While I would’ve loved to sleep just a little longer, the pre-conference labs were worth the sacrifice. Here is a little bit about the labs that I attended and the take-aways that I’m processing:
Pre-Con Lab #1 with Dr. Richard Ross
Dr. Ross is an outstanding speaker and mentor on all things Student Ministry. But what really spoke to me this morning in his session was how he spoke from his heart. He didn’t share statistics or projections. He simply shared a prayer that he prayed for his son that morning. He shared how even those his son was in college, Dr. Ross still sought out moments to make a heart connection with his son. He spoke on this heart connection and how it is the primary “pipe” for how a parent passes on their spiritual maturity to their son or daughter. Without a heart connection, we are unable to pass along spiritual material to our child. These heart connections are strengthened by 1) Proper Handling of Discipline, 2) Encouraging Words, and 3) Focused Time & Fixed Attention.
How does this relate to preteens?
Dr. Ross pointed out that the disconnect of this heart connection was a common issue between parents and teenagers. He mentioned that parents often do not struggle to make heart connections with their younger child. So, when does the disconnect happen? I couldn’t help but think of the potential for a disconnect during the preteen years. I spent much of the day thinking about our Preteen Retreat and how that must be an opportunity for parents and preteens to bond and communicate so that their heart connection will withstand the next 8 to 10 years.
Pre-Con Lab #2 with Mark Matlock
I love hearing Mark speak on student ministry. He has a way of relaying mounds of information in a manageable format. The session was all about developing real world parents. Mark quoted research that showed on all questions pertaining to spiritual development, parents were the top-rated influence. There is no greater influence than that of mom and dad. So, how do we equip parents to capitalize on that influence? Mark spent some explaining what it meant to raise ambassadors for Christ. This means that the home is the embassy where those ambassadors are raised, encouraged, and unleashed. Mark shared about living within God’s bigger story and the 3 responses that parents can take to this life: Isolation from the World, Agreement with the World, or Transformation of the World. We pray that families choose the latter. This is truly living inside God’s bigger story.
What does this mean for preteens?
I’m really trying to process what it means for families of preteens to embrace living in God’s bigger story. What am I calling families to rise up and be a part of that is bigger than them? How are we empowering parents and/or preteens to practice their faith? Are we teaching parents to simply correct behaviors or are we teaching them to instill a worldview that includes God’s bigger story?
Looking forward to the main session tomorrow. Go to d6conference.com to listen to session live.