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Rob Rienow provides a family centered framework for addressing spiritual apathy in the lives of our young people.
In the first chapter, he looks at the heart of the parent, teasing out a biblical framework for the position and role of the parent, and then giving concrete suggestions for parents to more correctly align their practice to that biblical framework. This is not a book that bashes the parent or is intent on blaming or finger pointing. This book is written in a positive way that engages parents and calls parents to positive action.
Chapters 2-5 then address a biblical understanding of what spiritual apathy is as it relates to the life of a teenager. Instead of looking at behavior, he details root causes that have their foundation in Scripture. For example, he specifically does not give "creative consequences" or other behavior modification devices, understanding if the root of the child is lost in sin, these approaches are reflect a surface understanding rather than addressing the corrupt foundation.
Rebellion is caused by sin. Children and teenagers fall into only two camps: either they are Christians struggling with sin in their lives and must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit interacting through His Word or they are still seeking out the Savior, being unsaved. The goal of the parent is to balance grace and truth, revealing this light in the life of the child.
I think the best questions answered in this book are: What is the role of the parent? Are parents supposed to engage or retreat when they see spiritual apathy in the lives of their children? How often do you engage? How serious does the apathy need to be before addressing the situation. What are the root causes of spiritual apathy? What are some concrete steps to be taken by the parent to address spiritual apathy.
It is a thoroughly biblical approach to addressing these issues and a very easy read as a basic introduction for the role of the parent in the family. For further reading, I would also suggest Rienow's book, "Limited Church: Unlimited Kingdom," as a follow up, giving clear reasons why spiritual apathy in the lives of our children is not best addressed by youth pastors and Sunday School teachers (i.e. Limited Church), but why God placed this calling on the lives of parents.
Anything by Rob Rienow is excellent. Met him while living in Chicago; a genuine Christian, humble, honest, wise, taking the Bible as His true guide. Practical book--I keep reading certain pages again and again, to get it into my head, so that it hopefully will become my practice. Highly recommended! And DON'T WAIT until you've lost them...start thinking about this now! (Of course, it's never TOO late with the amazing grace of God...)
This is an amazing instrument in the hands of any parent raising children, especially teenagers. It’s a good book to read even before the kids are teenagers to prepare a parent for those years. Highly recommend this book.
As the mom of six kids, ranging from 4-21, this is a resource I will turn to again and again. It "normalizes" the struggles we face as Christian parents without guilt or comparison. There is no element of a quick fix, but instead, great compassion for both parents and teens.
As I was reading, the verse that continually came to mind was Romans 2:4...It's His kindness that leads us to repentance. Likewise, the approach the Rienows are teaching here is grounded in such eternal motivation. It is not about changing behavior or fixing attitudes...it is about shepherding our teenagers toward a God whose heart for them is kind and good.
I love the small bites, the practical conversation starters, and the Scriptural foundation.
Get a copy for yourself and your pastor/youth pastor! It will be a great resource for them as they counsel families in need.