Written by Dave Carl, Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church
I attended high school in the late 70’s. There were many things that were uncertain. There were gasoline shortages. On even numbered days, you could only get gas if the last number on your license was an even number. Interest rates were through the roof. I got a car loan for my first used car with a 17% interest rate. The going rate was 21% so I was glad to get 17. Eight track tapes were clunky and inferior. Obviously, they were not gonna last. There were other things I knew were constants, things that would never change. Cassette tapes were forever. How could it get better than that? Bell bottoms were not fashionable, they were just normal. Straight leg pants were what Beaver Cleaver wore. Bell bottoms were forever. Datsun made really good and inexpensive cars. The Datsun name was a thing you could bank on…
Change is inevitable. Change happens constantly. If you’ve had a season in your life with little or no change, you could easily come to believe that since things have not changed lately, they will not, should not change. You would be wrong. Change is inevitable. I would propose that spending a great deal of time and energy fighting off change is a waste of time. Non-change is a losing battle. So if change is inevitable, why is it so inevitably difficult to endure? I think change is most stressful when it seems random.
“Why is this happening?”
“What’s going to happen with the old stuff I love so much?”
“When will this all just settle down?”
Those are stress questions that can swell into near panic. It is terrible to be under constant waves of random change.
There is another kind of change that we do very well with. I have a grandson who was born last spring. He changes every day. It is exciting and fun and makes us all look to the future with optimism for the things he will soon be able to do and say. This kind of change is positive because it follows a pattern we can recognize and anticipate. When a new building is built, we do not fret and worry about it; I don’t worry that things are changing every day. I don’t try to figure out ways to slow the construction down. I am, on the contrary, filled with hope that it will be a new and amazing pizza place and not just another boring bank. Assuming it is going to be a pizza place, my only question is, “When will they serve me their first pepperoni and mushroom pie?”
Change that is following a plan is not stressful. We may not like it much, but that is different than suffering anxiety from it. If there is a plan, if there is clear direction, we call this growth, improvement, or reinventing. These words are the exact opposite of random and therefore change is recognizable and much less stressful.
In the last few years, our Student Ministries here at Stonebriar Community Church has changed. Actually, much of our Family Ministry has changed. If this change was random, if good things were dropped or altered and replaced with other arbitrary things, anxiety would be the appropriate response. I’d like to tell you about our plan, our well thought out, non-random plan to care and feed your kids so that when they move from birth to graduating high school, they will be “… a kid with a passionate love for Jesus Christ that shows itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others” (from Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel). Here at Stonebriar, we call this “loving God and loving others.” There is no better goal. There is nothing that is a close second. This is the very essence of following Jesus. We want your child to be a self-propelled missile toward God and caring for others so that it comes out of them instinctively, thoughtlessly, like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3). This kind of thinking and behavior does not come easily. It takes years of training and teaching.
These two modes, teaching and training, are different things but deeply interrelated. Either by itself is insufficient. I want to take you on a journey for the next couple weeks. I’ll begin to lay out our plan to teach and train kids (along with their parents) to become people who love God and love others.
P.S. I’m still getting over the whole demise of the cassette tape thing. It’s fine. I’m fine. I’ll be fine…
Dave Carl is the Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church and is responsible for the ministry focusing on children birth through graduation and the parents who love them. With a ministry philosophy based on Luke 10:27, his primary focus is to give parents the skills to raise kids who truly love Jesus and want to serve others. Dave has a passion for ministering to families in crisis in our community. He has spent several years pouring into fathers and husbands and helping them learn that they need community, were designed to guard and protect, and that they really can be the spiritual leaders of their family.
Dave and his wife of 30 plus years, Cathy, have two adult children and one in high school and recently became grandparents for the first time. They are completely in love with this new member of their family. Dave is an avid woodworker and loves to write. He sees all stories in the form of pictures, and he would love to connect with you!