Tuesday, March 5, 2019

GROWING WITH: A Remarkable Parenting Resource

I've been involved and engaged with the youth ministry and high school and college campus ministry contexts for about the last 30 years. I've walked alongside thousands of students and their parents as they've navigated adolescence, the college years, and the post-education early career years. I've traveled with them to dozens of foreign countries, officiated at many of their weddings, and watched hundreds and hundreds of them perform on fields and in theaters and all kinds of spaces, often sitting besides their moms and dads and siblings. And I currently am a parent of a 20 year old college junior and a 15 year old high school sophomore.

As I head into my 4th decade of professional student ministry work and walk through life as a dad in 2019 there are a couple things that stand out to me as I look at the faith journeys and stories of this generation of students:

*Growing as a follower of Jesus and living out one's faith is pretty challenging for our next generation in a culture that throws at them non-stop technology, endless information, a sea of video, and a seeming growing indifference to formal faith practices and participation in the local church.

*Parents are more connected than ever before to their kids and young adults. They know more about them, are more deeply part of their everyday worlds, and communicate with them almost non-stop in comparison to any other previous group of parents.

I've read and reviewed and highlighted hundreds of books concerning the spiritual formation and development of the student generation. Some of them have even dared to address the role of parents in the spiritual growth of their adolescent children. But in this season of more parent and child communication, there is and has been a massive need to help parents engage their kids in new and more thoughtful ways, especially through the 18-28 years that have often been thought as the time when parents disconnect as their kids become fully adults.

Today an incredible book is being released called GROWING WITH from two young adult thought leaders from Fuller Youth Institute. I've been a huge fan of Kara Powell's work for a long time and her material in previous books have often been the basis for presentations I've done to help others working alongside me in the high school and college contexts, and Steve Argue has been a friend and ministry partner for almost two decades. These two professors who come from both a research background and ministry and personal parental experiences have authored a book that I think does a truly exceptional job of helping parents to help their teenagers and young adults thrive rather than be overcome as they make their way through seasons of incredible challenge and change in their lives.

They focus on several key topics in the text that engages the 3 distinct times of life growth and parental roles in this critical dozen years:

*LEARNERS (13-18)--Teacher Role
*EXPLORERS (18-23)--Guide Role
*FOCUSERS (23-29)--Resourcer Role

--How Our Kids' Life and Faith Paths Are Different Than Our Paths
--WITHING: a family's growth in supporting each other as children grow more independent
--Repairing & Reorienting Our Relationships as Parents With our Growing Children
--FAITHING: helping a child's growth in owning and embodying their own journeys with God as they encounter new experiences and information.
--Searching for the Communities That Support our Faith Journeys
--ADULTING: encouraging a child's growth in agency as they embrace opportunities to shape the world around them
--Navigating the World of Friends, Love, and the Search for Connection
--Shaping the World Through our Service and Career

Growing With is the best resource I've run across in helping to CLOSE the FAMILY GAP in the midst of our fears and feelings that are so strong when it seems like we are quickly growing apart...

I can't wait to share some of the principles and ideas and examples with the Student Development and Athletics staff teams at Cornerstone University where I serve, the parents who share their kids with us for the college years, and my peers who are walking the parenting journey as well.

More than anything I love the word, the title WITH...and the invitation to GROW with our teenagers and young adults as together we pursue Jesus and His Way for both of us!

If you are a parent, a youth worker, an educator, or a church leader, you really can't not grab a copy of Growing With as you lean into the work and joy of discipleship and spiritual formation with the incredible next generation we love and care about SO very much...

Here's a couple links to find out more and to order a copy today:



And check out a few quotes from the book below...