Amy Rienow says she and her husband Rob got married … then dated for 10 years.
It was just a few months from first their first date to their wedding, which meant the years that followed were filled with surprises. They both loved the Lord, but they were clueless about the purpose of marriage and family.
Their crisis moment came 10 years into their marriage. Rob was a dedicated youth pastor. His number one passion was passing his faith to other people’s children. Amy was busy, too. She was getting her master’s in counseling with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy. They held seminars for parents and held retreats with other people’s children.
Meanwhile, they weren’t investing that same energy into influencing their own four children at home. They were praying with other people’s children, but not their own. They were teaching other people’s children the Bible, but not their own. They were strong spiritual leaders publicly, but passive at home.
They felt convicted that they were putting spiritual opportunities in front of their spiritual responsibilities. They turned their hearts toward their most important ministry: their family.
They based their new parenting approach on Deuteronomy 6:7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The verse details four times of the day where parents can spiritually connect with their children:
- “When you sit at home.” Family worship time or devotions.
- “When you walk by the way.” Car rides to school or sports or music practice.
- “When you lie down.” The last moments of the day.
- “When you rise up.” The first moments of the day.
The enemy will lie to you and say, “You missed your window to influence your children. It’s too late.” But as long as you have a relationship, you have influence.
If you’re saying, “I haven’t been as engaged as I should be,” I encourage you to join me for my conversation with Rob and Amy Rienow on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Catching a God-Sized Vision for Your Family.”
Rob and Amy encourage parents to begin each day with a simple prayer: “God, turn my heart to the ministry of my family.” A parenting to-do list will be ineffective if your heart is ultimately focused on other things instead of your family. The goal isn’t to produce super-Christian kids. We’re not raising a product. We’re raising a person.
The Rienows will share helpful ideas for connecting with your kids and will encourage you to make your children and your home your number-one ministry.
Our discussion was based on Rob and Amy’s book Visionary Parenting: Catching a God-Sized Vision for Your Family. We’d love to offer it to you for a gift of any amount. Visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459). If you can’t afford it, we’ll find a way to get it to you.
We’ve also got a free parenting assessment for you at our website. It’s a short quiz that takes just five to six minutes and will quickly give you an overview of how your family is doing in seven key areas, and offer some suggestions on how you can improve the relationships in your home.
The Rienows are the founders of Visionary Family Ministries and host family events at churches around the U.S.