I still remember the first time I went to a marriage conference. Lisa and I weren’t even married yet, but this particular conference was supposed to have some great break-out sessions for those who were engaged and preparing to marry. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t think it was something we needed. In my opinion, marriage conferences were for people whose relationships were in trouble. In the end, however, I went because Lisa really wanted to go and because she got a discount for being on staff with Campus Crusade. It turned out to be one of the greatest spiritual blessings we had experienced up to that point in our relationship. After the conference, I joyfully acknowledged to Lisa how much I had benefited from it.
Your initial reaction to a “Parenting Conference” may be quite similar. You may think you don’t need it. Perhaps you have said to yourself, “I’m glad the church does these kinds of things, but we’re doing OK right now.” Maybe you feel like you’re too busy to fit something like this into your family’s schedule. Maybe you’ve even gone so far as to think, “We don’t need this, but I sure hope the ___________s attend; they REALLY need some help.” (If this last statement reflects your thinking, I humbly and lovingly admonish you to look to the log in your own eye.)
The fact of the matter is, with most of our church conferences, the people who could benefit from them the most are almost always the ones who fail to participate. We may go to doctors for physicals and other preventative health measures, and we may go to the mechanic for tune-ups and oil changes, but when it comes to our spiritual health or the health of our most important relationships, we feel it unnecessary if we aren’t “in crisis.”
I want to challenge you to not wait for a crisis to motivate you to attendance. Doing “OK” in these areas is not the Scriptural standard. Don’t wait for a spiritual crisis, don’t wait for a marital crisis, and don’t wait for a parenting crisis when strength and vitality and maturity can be furthered in those areas right now. Demonstrate the priority of these areas of your life by investing time and energy into learning and growth.
To that end, let me challenge you. If you still have children (or grandchildren) in the home, you should be at our Parenting Conference on November 6th. In just a few hours together, you will receive some excellent resources, glean from some sound biblical teaching, and experience a great time of fellowship with other couples. We are going to discuss the priority of a healthy marriage, and how the husband-wife relationship is foundational to biblical parenting. We are going to learn about how the Law and Gospel should guide our approach to parenting. And we are going to discuss practical issues of how to discipline and shape our children’s hearts with Scripture.
If you think you don’t need this, trust me, YOU DO. If you think you don’t have time for this, I challenge you to weigh this commitment against everything else in your schedule. Is your favorite television show, a ball game, rest, or even work more important than receiving biblical direction and encouragement for your parenting? I love you all dearly, and I trust I will see you there.