The Interview with Rob and Amy Rienow, Authors of Visionary Parenting and Visionary Marriage

I sat down with Rob and Amy Rienow a few weeks ago at the D6 Conference and talked with them about families. Rob and Amy are the founders of Visionary Family Ministries.

They shared some great insight about ministering to families. Below are the questions I asked them and their answers. My prayer is that as you read this, you will be encouraged and better equipped to minister to families.

1.  The Millennials are entering parenthood. What are some key factors we need to keep in mind as we minister to them?

Rob and Amy: We must teach families that faith begins at home. If we ask parents what their highest priority is they would say their family. But one of the missing pieces in many cases is not teaching children the importance of making a difference in their own home. Parents spend a lot of time talking to their children about career choices and what they want to do with their life. They even spend time talking about making a difference at church…at work…maybe even on a mission field. But they don’t spend time talking with their children about how to lead their home one day.

So kids grow up and when they think, “I want to make a difference, they think about themselves making a difference instead of thinking about making a difference in their home and as a family unit.

One way we can change this is to give families opportunities to serve together. Most families serve separately at church. Mom serves in one area, dad serves in another area, and the kids attend or serve in another area. When families serve together, parents are modeling for their children the value of serving Christ as a family.

2.  There are a lot of blended families. Many times they bring baggage from the previous marriage or home situation. How can we best minister to them?

Rob and Amy: Families are families. Much of the advice is the same. We can help all parents, whether it’s traditional parents, a single parent, or a blended family, to catch a vision for their parenting.

Yes, blended families many times do have extra obstacles to overcome. That’s where we must take the lead in equipping them to be visionary parents. That may mean helping them with issues such as forgiveness, baggage, and other needs. We must focus in on their needs and give them the tools and support they need to succeed.

3.  How do you balance giving your child independence while maintaining reasonable boundaries as they grow older?

Rob and Amy: We must balance giving our child independence with control as they grow older. You expand the boundaries not necessarily with age, but with maturity.

Logistically our children begin separating as they grow older, but the heart connection should continue to grow deeper. When they are struggling, you want their first thought to be, “I want to call my father or mother.”

How does that happen? Proverbs 23:26 says, “My son give me your heart.” Kids should give their hearts to their parents. Anger and resentment can crush the heart connection. When that happens, the Biblical tool of forgiveness must be used to restore the connection.

4.  We are seeing many instances of children being exposed to online pornography in their elementary years. How do we help parents navigate through this with their children if it happens?

Rob and Amy: The mistake parents make is depending on one big talk about this. It’s important to have ongoing conversations. Parents must help their child discover God’s forgiveness without projecting shame on the child.

Parents must also be more proactive. Many times they give trust that shouldn’t be given at early ages and set boundaries that are too far out. They must take ownership for protecting their child.

5.  Recent stats show that 24% of kids are born into a cohabiting relationship. We are even seeing this in the church. What are your thoughts on this departure from marriage by many couples?

Rob and Amy: I think it shows a massive immaturity of believers. Radical discipleship is necessary. Couples need godly mentors who will befriend them and commit to an ongoing mentoring relationship.

6. What are three keys to keeping your wife happy?

Love her (Ephesians 5:25-26, I Corinthians 13)
Serve her
Lead her

7. Why do you think divorce is just as high among believers?

Rob and Amy: Personally, I doubt that stat. But one way we can bring the divorce rate down among believers is to teach more about the theology of marriage. When we do that we can dramatically shape young adults' view of marriage.
Posted by Dale Hudson