Monday, February 1, 2010



This post is less of an article and more of a report. Cheryl, Kristin and I just returned from a youth rally in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cheryl and I were the chaperones for 10 middle and high school students who went to the event.

A youth rally is a spiritually-based youth event. There are lessons, Bible classes and singing for the youth, as well as fun activities. Two dynamic speakers did keynote lessons and taught classes for the youth, and one middle-aged guy (me :) taught the adult classes (on Proverbs). On Friday night we had 287 people in attendance (youth and adult sponsors) and this morning (Sunday) we had 405 people.

The weekend was motivating. The theme was on "shame" and the speakers encouraged us to take any shame-based activity or attitude to the cross where Jesus will cover us (I’ll have a post about this later on Family Fountain). Numerous youth responded to an invitation for prayer on Sunday.

The weekend was uplifting. A dynamic young song leader from Tennessee flew in to lead the worship. He led us in songs that stirred the heart and soul. Additionally, we had a 60-member high school chorus from Denver, CO sing for about 45 minutes. I was moved to tears a couple of times by these outstanding kids.

The weekend was bonding. Cheryl and I got to see old friends that we ministered with years ago in Wyoming. But we also got to spend the weekend with our high school daughter and our son, Wes. Wes is the youth minister for the church in Cheyenne that hosted the youth rally. He organized the youth rally, chose the speakers and worship leader, and MC-ed the event. We were proud of how he did!

Dads, I would have missed out on this motivating, uplifting and bonding activity if I sent my daughter to the youth rally (with her mom and other chaperones) but didn’t attend myself. There are always numerous tasks awaiting us at home, such as cleaning the garage, replacing shingles and fixing trim. But, can any of these things compare with the benefit of attending a spiritual or family activity with our own kids?

I was glad to see dozens of dads at the youth rally with their teenagers. A lot of concerned fathers want their children to receive positive, religious instruction and influence at church and other spiritual events, but too often they leave the guidance and oversight of this spiritual training to the moms. This is certainly a mom’s responsibility, too, but ideally it should be in partnership with dad.

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). One way to provide the training and instruction of our children is to not just send them to spiritual events, but to take them ourselves and participate with them. We’ll find that the experience enriches us every bit as much as our kids.

Warren Baldwin


Denise Hughes said...

Great words of wisdom here. It is so important to actively participate in the spiritual growth of our kids. I'm so glad to hear of the awesome experience you had with your daughter - and a few hundred other teens. :)

Jessica Faith said...

sounds wonderful!! we go to church in laramie.

Warren Baldwin said...

Denise - thanks. These kinds of experiences create such wonderful memories and traditions for families.

Jessica - Neat! Were you at the Cheyenne rally? I saw Brian and Jennifer Lombardi there.

Edie said...

This is great encouragement for both parents but it's so good to see dad's get involved in their kids spiritual upbringing too. It surprising how many married women attend church and other events, without their husbands.

I think many men don't realize how important it is to their wives that they take up their position of spiritual leaders in the family.

Good words Warren!

Stacy Wittkamp said...

I agree. We gain so much perspective when we engage in these activities with our youth. Now that most of my kids are out of high school, I now find that these types of activities are great "bonding" experiences as they see me less as a "hindrance" to their social lives than they did before!

2Thinks said...

Daughter, Fash, has the opportunity to attend a similar event this weekend. Unfortunately, it is not inclusive of all the parents, only the ones who serve in leadership w/the youth at the sponsoring church. But I am thankful for the particular group with whom she will be learning, because they appear to be distinctly focused on God and his word and not all about eating goldfish and running around like chickens with their heads cut off- though I realize there is a time and place for everything (most things).

Glad I bopped over here today. I'm off to read the one below, because hubby and I are reading that book right now!

Thanks writing team!

Sonya Lee Thompson said...

Amen! I'm glad you went and hope more dad's are encouraged to play a part in their children's spiritual upbringing.

Warren Baldwin said...

Edie - you are right, dads need to be more involved in the spiritual training and nurture of their kids. I hope this article will help encourage some dads to do that!

Stacy - b/c of our work, Cheryl and I have been taking kids to youth rallies before we even had kids of our own. Then, we started taking them with us, so we've been going to these events their whole lives. It is a very natural thing for us. I didn't realize 20 years ago how much of a blessing this would turn out to.

Heidi - Some of the youth rallies/conferences have limitations of space, so I guess all parents can't go. But, the youth rallies in Wyoming are inclusive of everyone, which is why we like them so much. It is a great spiritual/social event for the adults as well.

Sonya - Thank you!

And thank everyone for the comments. wb

Kelly Combs said...

Another great post Warren! What a great example to set for men, especially since they are supposed to be the spiritual head of household. Hoping many men see and respond to this!

Warren Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kelly.