Dads, Be Where Your Kids Are!

socialmedia_iconsDads, I know you are busy doing many awesome things at home and at work, and trying to give your family the best you can give them.    But let me add one task to your load that won’t take much time and I believe is a wise move.   Be where your kids are … online.
Specifically, I want you to consider being on every social media platform on which your child has a presence.   If they are already on twitter, be on twitter.  If they are on instagram, be on instagram.  If they are on snapchat, be on snapchat.   Don’t delegate online parenting to Mom!  Sometimes dads see what moms don’t and vice versa.
It won’t take you 10 minutes to create a social media account on every platform your teen or preteen is on. You don’t have to post pictures of your food, use wacky filters, share selfies, or old man versions of yourself.  You don’t have to post anything at all!  But be there in the world your student will spend a large percentage of their waking hours (4-8 hours a day).  Be in the world WHERE they are learning what causes to be passionate about from celebrities and social media influencers.  Be in the world that is shaping their worldview.  Many will spend an exponentially greater amount of time in social media than they will in church.  Be in the world that has a big impact on their self-esteem and is a well-documented source of adolescent anxiety.
I know what some of you are thinking, “But what if they don’t want you there?
At the risk of being terse, the short answer is, “So what!”  You’re the parent.  You’re the grown-up.  You are the one who will answer to God for your watch care over their souls. But you need to do more than say “because I said so”.  It will be exasperating to your teen if you barge into their world without having a thoughtful conversation first.   So talk about it!
An Opportunity! 
If your student doesn’t want you there, or is resistant, then you will have walked into a great opportunity to help them think through their feelings and motivations for not wanting parents there.   For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume you online child is a professing believer.
If one of my teens did not want me on a social media platform they are on, there are many conversation starting questions that I might ask, but here are a few.
  1. If you spent hours a day in a neighborhood unfamiliar to your dad, would you understand why your dad wants to know about where you are?  (yes, a leading question)
  2. Do you say things or post things online that you would be ashamed for your parents to see?  If not, then why the resistance?
  3. Do you see things other people post, or content in general, on that platform that you would be alarming to your parents?  If not, then why the resistance?
  4. Do you try to be a different person online that you are with your parents?  If so, why?  If so, why you is the real you?

Have A conversation their identity as a Christian

Again, assuming your teen knows themselves to be a Christian, there are some things you can help them think through.

  • Christians are a liberated people. It is a LIBERATING thing to be the same person with everyone.  It is EXHAUSTING to try to live two lives, a life for your online audience and a life for your family.   Being a person of integrity means being the same person with everyone.
  • Christians are people who welcome light, we “walk in the light” ( Wanting to be on a platform your parents can’t see, or have an account they can’t see is like trying to live in the dark.   (See 1 John 1:5-7, John 3:19)
  • Christians are ambassadors.  If you are a Christian, you are a Christian 24/7… at home, at school, and online.  You don’t log off as a Christian when you log on to your social media account.   You probably have more unbelieving friends that you realize assessing the credibility of the faith, by watching how you live.   Does you activity online make people more or less likely to listen to what you have to say about Jesus?

I only have one child on social media at the moment and we don’t have super-heavy conversations all the time.   We did have a BIG conversation before they entered social media and we do have a contract of expectation.  But now we have “as we go” conversations.  We talk about why we follow certain people, we talk about what we communicate when we like certain things, we talk about our motives for what we do post, and we talk about what we see and are learning online.

In Deuteronomy 6:7 parents are commanded to talk about the most important things, “when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

That was a LONG time before the invention of the internet and social media, but I can’t help but think that the spirit of this instruction would include online.

Dads, I don’t want to add too much to your load, but this is a worthwhile task, to be where your child will be so that you can guide them where they live.

Life Skills List compiled by Jennifer Young Scott

lifeskillspictureJennifer Young Scott has created a “Life Skills List” of what to teach your teenager before they leave for college.

This is definitely a need.  My wife and i were just thinking about how prepared, or unprepared, or oldest two are to function after high school.   This is a helpful list.

Another good resource that gives practical instruction on how to teach some basic skills, one that I highly recommend, is Joe Carter’s Life and Faith Field Guide . 



  • How to wash a car
  • Identify basic car parts & understand their function
  • Pump gas
  • Check oil
  • Change oil (how often and how to)
  • Put air in tires
  • When to rotate tires
  • How to change a flat tire to a spare
  • Jump battery
  • Refill wiper fluid
  • Radiator safety
  • Drive a stick shift
  • Change a headlight/taillight
  • Change wiper blades
  • Driving in hazardous weather
  • What to do in an accident
  • What to do if you get pulled over
  • What to do if your car breaks down
  • Car insurance basics
  • How to navigate without GPS/use a real map
  • How to purchase/sell a car
  • Important documents related to car (insurance/registration/title)
  • How to renew your driver’s license


  • Making a budget (tithe, save, spend)
  • Carrying cash
  • Emergency savings funds
  • How to file taxes
  • Building good credit
  • Dividing expenses with roommates
  • Comparison shopping (reviews, prices per lb/oz/unit)
  • Bank accounts (how to shop rates, open account, write checks, make a deposit, balance checkbook and understand overdrafts)
  • How to use an ATM
  • Understanding compound interest
  • Explain loans/debt (real price over time of an item purchased on credit)
  • Selecting a credit card (perks, rates, annual fees, completing application)
  • Applying for a loan
  • How to read a bank/credit card statement
  • How to handle a lost/stolen credit card
  • Reporting credit card fraud
  • Paying bills
  • Understanding identity theft
  • Knowing what to file and what to shred
  • Who to tip in life, why it matters and how much
  • Overview of the stock market
  • Explanation of insurance types and how/when to obtain (car, home, renters, health, life, disability)


  • Changing sheets (how to and how often)
  • Setting a table
  • Dishwasher (how to load/what can and cannot be put in/cleaning drain)
  • What NOT to use on certain surfaces (i.e., no steel wool on non-stick pans)
  • How to set up utilities
  • What to do in a power outage
  • Hot water heater function
  • Basic tool use (names and functions)
  • How to build/hang a shelf
  • How to change/remove a broken lightbulb
  • Plunging/snaking a toilet
  • Opening the back of toilet tank to stop running water
  • Turning off water source at toilet if overflowing
  • How to turn off water to house in case of a leak
  • Faucets on to prevent frozen pipes
  • Basic cleaning
    • Sweep
    • Mop
    • Dust
    • Clean windows
    • Counters
    • Clean a toilet
    • Clean a sink/disposal
    • Clean an oven
    • Clean out refrigerator (drawers come out)
    • Vacuum (how to change bag)
  • Pet care basics
  • Organizing in tight spaces
  • Changing air filters
  • How to sew a button
  • Using coasters for drinks
  • How to use a ladder
  • Popping a lock with a credit card
  • How/when to flip breakers
  • Basic yard work
    • Mowing
    • Weeding
    • Edging
    • Leaf blower



  • Cooking key words (saute, chop, bake, boil, etc.)
  • Food safety (raw chicken!)
  • Food expirations/sell by dates
  • How to sharpen a knife
  • Dicing/slicing/chopping fruits and vegetables
  • Make a pot of coffee without a Keurig
  • Microwave cooking (for dorm life) including what is microwave safe and what isn’t
  • How to grill
  • Selecting produce
  • How to handle hot grease/grease fires
  • How to boil an egg
  • Grocery shopping process (plan meal, make list, shop, compare prices, coupon)
  • How to make 3-5 basic meals
  • A go to meal for company
  • Meal planning (based on sales and how to reuse leftovers later in week)
  • How to make healthy cheap meal choices (not all ramen)
  • How to use a manual can opener




  • How to wash a load of laundry
  • Stain treatment
  • When/how to use bleach
  • Identifying what can be washed and what requires dry cleaning
  • How to dry clothes/when to hang or flat dry
  • How to use the laundromat
  • Ironing
  • Folding clothes properly/what to hang
  • Folding a fitted sheet
  • Cleaning the dryer vent



  • Waking yourself up in the morning
  • Addressing an envelope
  • How to hold mail when out of town
  • Don’t mail cash
  • How to return online purchases
  • Identifying junk mail from legitimate correspondence (email and snail mail)
  • Ordering at a restaurant
  • Conducting basic internet research (contact numbers, hours of operation, how tos)
  • Make travel arrangements
  • Packing for a trip
  • Navigating airport alone
  • Reading a bus/subway schedule
  • Tie a tie/bowtie
  • Haircuts (how often/make appointment/tip)
  • Calling technical support
  • Voting (registration/research ballot & candidates/what to do at poll)
  • How to file important papers at home (what to keep, where and how long)
  • Completing basic forms
  • Memorizing social security number
  • Effective goal setting
  • Time management tips/managing a schedule
  • Reading/writing cursive
  • Typing
  • Having a good signature
  • Hitching, pulling and backing a trailer
  • Looking for an apartment/place to live
  • Polishing shoes
  • Launching/driving/docking a boat
  • How to safely cut down a tree
  • Operating a chainsaw
  • Using a tablesaw
  • How to start something with a pull start cord





  • Using cell phone emergency alerts
  • Memorizing emergency numbers
  • What to do when you smell natural gas
  • How to start a fire safely in a fireplace
  • Starting/managing a fire safely outdoors (dangers of accelerants)
  • Surviving an accident in the wilderness
  • Parking lot safety
  • Socializing in pairs/groups at parties
  • What to do when a friend has had too much alcohol
  • The danger of leaving drinks unattended in social settings
  • Saying no to drugs
  • Dealing with panhandlers
  • Elevators with strangers
  • Using uber/lyft/taxis safely
  • Testing/changing smoke detector batteries
  • What to do with live/downed wires
  • Types/uses of over the counter medications
  • Knowing when to go to the doctor & which type to see
  • Making a doctor/dentist appointment
  • Filling/refilling a prescription
  • Health insurance overview (insurance cards, copays vs deductibles)
  • Basic first aid (cuts, allergic reactions)
  • Always finish your antibiotics
  • How to ask for emotional/mental help




  • Creating/maintaining a resume
  • Completing a job application
  • Interview skills/etiquette
  • Respect the chain of command in conflict (don’t go straight to CEO)
  • Take notes
  • 401k overview
  • Understand tax withholding
  • Respect others by being on time
  • How to leave a job



  • Eye contact
  • Firm handshake
  • Stand up for ladies at a table
  • Elevator etiquette
  • Opening/holding doors (including car)
  • Active listening/ask questions
  • Be a good borrower
  • Being a polite guest (hostess gift, offer to help, make bed if overnight, etc)
  • The importance of an RSVP
  • Planning a party
  • Wrapping a gift
  • How to make a phone call/leave a clear telephone message with return number
  • Writing a quality, personal handwritten thank you note
  • When to text versus email (etiquette for both–tone, time of day, etc)
  • How to be a wedding guest
  • Making a toast
  • What to do at a funeral/visitation
  • Managing social media image/content
  • Polite, effective self advocacy (healthcare, workplace, school)
  • How to recognize/explain expectations (roommates, relationships)
  • Declining a love interest
  • How to give/receive genuine compliments
  • Being a good roommate
  • Choosing friends wisely
  • Managing conflict
  • Admitting when wrong/taking responsibility
  • Sincere apologies


DNow schedule_diane_update2



Friday, March 8

6:15 pm    Check-In at VBC Fellowship Hall

6:30 pm    Dinner and meet your group leaders.

7:00 pm    Worship #1 with Rob Turner in Sanctuary.

8:30 pm    Leave Church and travel to Host Homes

9:30 pm    UNDIVIDED Home Discussion #1

Saturday, March 9

8:30 am   Breakfast in Host Homes.

8:45 am   UNIVIDED Home Discussion #2

10:15 am  Worship # 2 at VBC Sanctuary.

11:30 am  Lunch at VBC

11:45 pm  RECREATION

2:00  pm    Back to homes.

4:30  pm  UNDIVIDED Discussion #3

6:30  pm  Dinner at Versailles Baptist

7:00 pm   Worship # 3 at VBC with Turner

8:30 pm    Back at homes.

9:15 pm  UNDIVIDED Discussion #4

Sunday, January 31 *you lose an hour sleep

9:30 am  BFAST at Church during Sunday School

10:45 am Worship at VBC, Students help in worship!  Parents encouraged to attend .

12:00 pm  Pick-up at church.



Bedding (sleeping bag, pillow)

Toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, etc)

Towel and Washcloth

Bible (non-digital) if you have one we can give you one.

Something to write with.

Everyday clothes, nothing fancy.  Bring shoes you can be active in.

Your favorite snacks and drinks for the home.   I suggest 20 ounce bottles of your favorite soda, something salty, something sweet, and something you can share.

Any important info about medicine or allergies and give them to host families.

A desire to learn, meet new people, encounter God, and eat unhealthy snacks.



Stuff that would get you in trouble at school, home, or church.  Use your head.


DNOW 2019 – UNDIVIDED – March 8-10


undivided square largeWhat is disciple now or DNOW?  

It is part home retreat, part worship rally, part sleep-over, part . Student’s are typically grouped together with friends according to gender/age and then assigned a small group and host home (with 5-7 other students) for the weekend.  
Each host home has a Bible study leader (typically a college student). Students will either be at their host homes for rest, study, and sleep or at church for worship, or near the church for a recreational activity.   LEADERS, HERE IS YOUR MATERIAL! 

TIME AWAY CARDS.  Parents who have students who have competing commitments during the weekend can fill out a “time away” card.   We encourage families to strive to do as much of the weekend as possible.   There are 3 worship services and four small group studies during the weekend, don’t let a partial conflict justify missing the whole weekend.  And … not all conflicts are equal.  Missing a state championship isn’t the same as missing one of 100 practices during a season.  Consider letting the coach know that this weekend is a priority.   You might be surprised how many coaches are happy to honor spiritual commitments.  

What can you do now?

1. Get registered. You can step out during the weekend if you have a conflict.
2. Get friends registered! Grab a couple close friends who could use a weekend
of focus and be nurtured by hospitable Christian host-parents. CHALLENGE! Fill a house with friends you are trying to reach for Jesus.
3. Be a Host Home. Do you have a home that could accommodate 5-8 students and their adult leader? Let me know ASAP. You only have 1 meal to provide at your home, Saturday morning breakfast.  All other meals are at church. 

The weekend flows like this…

Friday night:  Check-in, Pizza, and Worship with Rob Turner
Late Friday: Go to your host homes and session 1 discussion.
Saturday morning:   Wake up in homes, eat bfast and do session 2.
Saturday late morning:  Worship and lunch at the church.
Saturday afternoon:  Fun activity TBA and down time in host homes.
Saturday evening:  Dinner at church, then worship, and back to homes for the evening.
Sunday morning.  Breakfast at church during Sunday School, followed by student-led worship and our guest DNOW Speaker bringing the message.   DONE AT NOON ON SUNDAY!

Quick Takes on “College Professors Aren’t Killing Religion” from FiveThirtyEight

fivethirtyeightFive Thirty Eight, a secular publication whose articles usually spring from numbers like polls and statistics, published an article recently, “College Professors Aren’t Killing Religion“.    The article makes the argument that it’s not professors who are undermining young people’s faith, because they were already walking away before college.   See quotes below.

“A recent study found that 24 percent of Americans are now religiously unaffiliated, including 38 percent of young adults. But these changes are occurring at a much earlier age …. Most young people who wind up leaving their religious commitments do so before ever stepping foot on campus.
“most Americans who have left their childhood religion did so before reaching adulthood. Seventy-nine percent of young adults age 18 to 29 who have become religiously unaffiliated report having made this decision during their adolescent and teen years.”
“This all makes more sense when we consider that the early religious lives of young people are far different than they were for previous generations. Young people today have had much less robust religious experiences during their childhood than previous generations — only 41 percent of Millennials attended religious services with their family at least once a week, compared with 55 percent of Baby Boomers, according to a recent PRRI survey. Similarly, only 40 percent of Millennials attended Sunday school or some other religious education program weekly, a much more common experience among Baby Boomers (62 percent reported at least weekly participation).”


This is notable to me, as a student pastor who has been around a while.  Because it wasn’t that long ago that you would hear me saying, “you gotta get those kids ready for college where their faith will be put to the test!”   While that is still true, the culture has changed, inside and outside the church and students are loosening their grip on faith earlier.

Below are my “hot takes”, which is to say, these are quick thoughts that are not meant to be exhaustive.  Perhaps they may prove to be “freezing takes” under scrutiny.  Nevertheless, we need to begin to consider seriously the trend of students walking away from their faith earlier.   Lord willing, people wiser than myself will weigh in on this trend.   Till then here are a few thoughts about students laying down their faith before college.

A Collapsed Bubble.  The culturally Christian bubble that once protected kids from having their faith seriously challenged pops a lot earlier than it once did.   Most of their friends, as early as middle school, are nominal Christians or none of the above.  They encounter classmates who reject their faith a lot earlier than their parents ever did.  The end result is that they probably question or scrutinize their faith earlier than in previous generations.  Also, they leave the bubble online and in social media where they encounter more people who are intentional in challenging their faith.  Most of our kids don’t know who Richard Dawkins is… they are more like to hear arguments hostile to Christianity or lampooning it on Youtube.

A Premature Autonomy.  It has always been true that when students get full autonomy, usually away from home, we see their faith tested and it is usually pretty revealing about whether students were just borrowing their parent’s faith or if they really own it for themselves.  There is a trend in the last generation of parents giving their students autonomy of spiritual education earlier than their parents or grandparents did.    When students, whose faith is still undeveloped and immature, become the authority in the home on their spiritual education, it is not surprising that their development is arrested, then atrophy, then ultimately they lay it (their faith) down. 

A Relegated Priority.   Related to previous point, I think there is another factor that leads to arrested development and abandonment of faith earlier in life… and that is the forgotten or relegated priority of spiritual development.    Every Christian parent rightfully worries about their child’s spiritual standing before God, that they have given their would give their sins are forgiven and they will go to heaven.    But it seems in American Christianity that once that question is answered, there is a pivot toward prioritizing excellence and achievement in other areas such as academics, athletics, and arts…. all great things. But.. excellence in great things should not necessitate relegating spiritual development to an afterthought.   

Some might object, “that’s not us!”  Ok.  Consider what is scrutinized the most and most intently in the car or at the kitchen table.  Is it how they performed in a game?  Is it how a “C” could have been a “B” or how a “B” could have been an “A”?  Is it how they could be first chair if they just practiced their instrument more?   Don’t hear what I’m not saying, PURSUING EXCELLENCE IN ATHLETICS, ACADEMICS, AND ARTS IS NOT A BAD THING. But… relative to those areas how prominent and intense are the conversations about growing in Christlikeness, developing their faith, and obeying the great commission?  

Do you have to chose between taking Jesus seriously and excellence in other areas?  No.  But I think it is worth evaluating if that if our students are tightening their gripe on good things, if they are loosening their grip on the ultimate things.   (Please know, I am preaching this to myself as much or more as I am to anyone who might read this.)

Some things are beyond our control, such as the culture we raise our children in.  And Jesus never promised us a safe culturally Christian bubble to protect our Christian kids.  But we do have control over how discipleship takes place in our homes and what we prioritize.

Let’s pray for wisdom and perspective and courage to do what it takes to cultivate life-long followers of Jesus Christ.

Middle School Retreat – Sept. 29 – 30

hello! we need families of middle schoolers and their friends to get their registration in middleschool_breakout_4by3for the retreat asap.  By the way, registration = payment. We rarely do a sign-up sheet because lots of students sign-up spontaneously without knowing if they are free. Payments are a better gauge of who really plans to come.  The cost is $35.

Please bring your payment for the retreat in by this Wednesday or Sunday. Or go online and pay your registration fee.

  1.  Online Registration and Online Payment –> CLICK HERE If you need scholarship help toward camp, let Kevin know.
  2. We do have a permission/liability form as well, that needs to be filled out and notarized. You can notarize it at church during office hours or do so on your own.
  3. Parents, if you would like to volunteer or help drive or help drive that would be great!
  4. Students can bring snacks on the trip, but should also bring a Bible, sleeping bags or linens, and a pillow…. and toiletries.
  5. We are meeting at church at 2 pm Saturday and returning at 2 pm on Sunday.

Note: i know some students have sports conflicts.  The retreat is not super far away if you would like drop your student off at Camp when you are free.  I know we drive our kids all over creation to get to meets and games, this would be worth the extra effort if you cannot get out of a scheduled practice or game to leave when the rest of the group is leaving.

FYI, we will do Mega Quest a little later in the evening on Saturday if you are wondering if you will miss it. Kavanah


Books and Bios for Our Speakers for the Christ & Culture Conference for Students

Christ & Culture 2018_revised.pngchrist_culture_speakerpictures

Books by Christopher Yuan

Out of a Far Country


Coming this fall… Holy Sexuality and the Gospel 


Upcoming book by Curtis Woods

The Gospel in Color: A Theology for Racial Reconciliation for Families  Comes out on July 19, 2018









Books By Dan Dewitt

Jesus or Nothing


Life in the Wild: Fighting for Faith in a Fallen World


Christ or Chaos