• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
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    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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Intentional Parenting: Finding HOPE at CAFE

The title of this article might suggest that Derrick and I are slowly going to shift gears to tell you how much we know about parenting.  It is just not true.  Like every other parent out there, we are just trying to keep our kids alive and show them how to live.  Every situation looks different.  Emily and I have five kids.  Derrick and AC have one.  That totals six individual bundles of depravity and their four sin-ridden parents.  As much as we would like to have a cookie-cutter philosophy that works for all kids in all circumstances, it just does not exist.

As we discussed in our March 2018 article, “Parenting Partners,” the primary job of Christ-following parents is to raise their children to maturity in that same pursuit.  This always seems like a daunting task, yet we possess so many wonderful promises from our loving Heavenly Father letting us know that he has equipped us for the task through his Holy tSpirit.  As we seek to develop an encouraging community of parents praying, sharing, and working together to further the Kingdom through the discipleship of our own children, Derrick and I want to offer HOPE to each other and to you as you parent your children.  It is important for a community of believers to set a foundation of common commitments all built upon our shared commitment to Christ.  When we do this together, we can HOPE as we parent.  Though we do not have control, we do have influence, and God has given us himself and each other.  This is cause to rejoice and to HOPE.

Honesty—  We must commit to the same heart of honesty that we require from our children.  The modeling of honesty from parents in any given circumstance is necessary to show our children that we are with them and for them.  This also provides the atmosphere through which our children will transition through their different phases of life.

Openness— We must commit to the same heart of openness that we require from our children.  Tactful and age-appropriate sharing of the commonality of our sinful existence being overcome by the great love of a Father who calls us his children is something for which we should strive.

Purpose—  We must commit to the same heart of purpose that we require from our children. We should have clear reasons for choosing discipline, reward, and everything in between. Certainly, sometimes “because I said so” is an appropriate statement from the mature to the immature, but how we follow up on those statements is the key.  Our intention ought to be that we let these young people into our reasoning and experience.

Empathy—  We must commit to leading our children in being empathetic to us and to an unbelieving world.  There is nothing worse in the world than being misunderstood.  As much as we desire that our children would seek to know our heart and experience, we must desire to see them as they are.  A five-year-old does not reason as a forty-year-old.  An eighteen-year-old does not reason as a fifty-year-old.  We must share the experience of our reality with them and be willing to know their experience, also. 

The Christian experience is ultimately the process of knowing and being known.  On April 17, Derrick and I will be hosting our first CAFE meeting at the Lodge, focused on the impact of technology on our families.  This will not be a time where two young pastors sit down and give you the answers to everything.  This will be a time where we can gather together as parents on our knees at the foot of the cross and share experience.  This is an environment designed for us to C-onnect, A-cknowledge that we don’t have it all together, F-ocus on what really matters, and E-ncourage each other.  In short, this is an evening designed to support, encourage, and help equip each other for this journey called parenting.  We hope to see you there!