I’m delighted to share with a recent experience from one of our team members.
I was recently reminded of a funny experience when our sons were young boys. We were driving home tired but still rejoicing from a fun day at Disneyland. Earlier that afternoon, our older son had observed a couple being very inappropriately intimate in front of us in a line for a ride. As our family was reflecting on our fun day, he blurted out a question, “Why was that couple acting like that?” My wife looked at me with the sign “you take this one,” and without providing an articulate response on healthy intimacy or God’s view of the same, I gave a sufficient enough answer to move the discussion to another subject. However, when we returned home that evening, I recall my wife and me lamenting the challenges we were about to face raising our sons in a world that was often opposed to Christian values.
We were blessed to send our kids to a Christian school through eighth grade and then to a Catholic high school. We saw these schools supplement the theological foundation and support the values that we taught our sons at home and through our church. However, there comes a critical time in every Christian home when the kids go off to college or leave to pursue a vocational interest that “they have to make their faith their own.” We were pleased when both of them left home for college that they had made a decision to continue to follow Jesus. Subsequently, they found churches in their respective cities and Christian youth groups at their college campuses.
Having worked in ministry for many years and counseled numerous men and women, I always felt a gap in the foundational education that we, our church, and the schools provided in one crucial area – relationships. I am not talking about the “birds and bees” discussion, but the key Biblical lessons on relationships – our relationship with God and relationships with others. I prayed for resources to be developed to help bridge the knowledge gap in this critical area.
In the summer of 2020, as the Covid pandemic had turned the world on its head, God challenged the team at Transforming Families to develop a small group study guide for young adults on relationships. We met with high school and college youth pastors to get their input. My older son (the same one that asked us that awkward question many years earlier) was home from college, and I asked him for his feedback on the first chapter/lesson we had written. He gave some great insights and, from that, birthed the idea to form a small pilot group made up of him and 5 of his close friends. As we wrote each chapter, we met bi-weekly as a group to review the material. At the end of the summer, we had completed a book entitled “Relationship Foundations” released by WestBow Press on March 2021 (see below for more information on Relationship Foundations).
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. That same older son, who is now a senior in college, called me on a Friday night at about 7:00 pm. Several months earlier, he had ended a 3-year relationship with his longtime girlfriend, and he was seeking my wisdom on meeting and dating Christian girls. Over the next hour, we found ourselves revisiting several of the core concepts that he learned in his Relationship Foundations experience. This helped him sort through many conflicting messages from his college friends who lacked a Christian worldview on male/female relationships. I am sure he will have many more questions as he continues to navigate life as a young adult, but I am thankful that he has resources, most notably God’s Word, to help him find answers.
Relationship Foundations is a seven-week guide to help young adults (ages 16 to 24), in a group interactive environment, learn and apply the fundamental Christian principles to build a healthy foundation for their most important relationships. Topics covered include:
◆ God’s Unique Design for Relationship
◆ God as the Creator of Relationships
◆ Relationship Fundamentals
◆ Barriers to Healthy Relationships
◆ Spiritual Freedom for Healthy Relationships
◆ Authentic and Intimate Relationships