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May 2011

Prepare Your Teens for Life after High School

Making the transition to college (or the world of full-time work) is a major step not only for young people but also for their parents. It’s what many people view as the “end” of their major parenting duties. But in fact, your kids need you now more than ever. As high school seniors start to grasp their move to adulthood, many feel compelled to re-engage their parents in meaningful ways— though they rarely admit it.

Tips Dare 2 Share founder Greg Stier suggests ways you can prepare to help kids “keep the faith” in college: Wake up! Be aware of the statistics, which show that up to 50% of evangelical college freshman forsake their faith by their senior year of college. Prepare! Make sure your teenagers know what they believe, why they believe, and that they believe. Train them to know and live the core truths of Christianity. Discuss! Sign your kids up for Soul Fuel at These free training devotions deal with Christian basics in a powerful, relevant way. You can discuss them together each week. Talk! Have conversations with your teenagers about the temptations that await them. If you

Parents can use this brief window of opportunity to strengthen their relationship with their teenagers and also to help their teenagers strengthen their relationship with God. Ideas for doing this include: • Spend one-on-one time with your soon-to-be-graduate, possibly at a retreat-like setting. Make fun memories, share a meal, and engage in discussions about life beyond high school. • Embrace the emerging adult lurking inside your teenager. Begin talking to him or her more as an “equal,” sharing your own stories of stepping out into the real world. • Connect your kids with thriving college-age adults. Seek your youth minister’s help to provide positive examples and mentors.

suspect your kids won’t be able to withstand the onslaught, consider sending them to a solid Christian college. The odds go way up for long-term commitment to Jesus in a thriving Christian setting.

Statistics Although estimates of faith abandonment by college students run as high as 94%, some researchers show otherwise. They say college attendance can actually prevent young people from losing their faith. According to one study, 86% of college students retain their religious affiliation. (University of Texas, Austin) Attendance at religious services decreases dramatically between the freshmen and junior years in college, yet older students consider themselves to be more “spiritual.” (UCLA Higher Education Research Institute)

Going Deeper

Author and pastor Chuck Bomar explores ways young people can connect at college:

They offer exposure to people who have completely different church and family backgrounds and who view things entirely differently from your student. Kids are forced to think through why they believe what they believe—possibly for the first time.

Most of these ministries have a mission on campus. This is great because college students often tend to lose their sense of mission. They’ll be focused on themselves, homework, and social activities and can easily lose sight of the fact that people need to know what they know—the gospel. So ministries can really encourage young people to stay strong.

When God places young people on a college campus, they should embrace the experience with everything they have. Encourage your teenagers to get involved, meet people, and make waves for Christ.

College-age kids are about to enter some new struggles. This next stage can be tough and lonely. Getting involved in a campus ministry is key not only for making it through but also for possibly helping young people dodge obstacles and challenges. Many great Christian campus ministries are active on college campuses. Here are some thoughts on those that are worth exploring: 

They provide a community of friends that can be very healthy. These people can serve as a great source of accountability and connection. Some could become best friends with your kids.

Discussion Questions 

What aspects of college life are you most excited about, and why? What aspects are you the most hesitant about, and why? What do you expect it will be like to be a Christian at your college? How easy or difficult do you think it will be to express—and grow—your faith?


Do you think it will be safest to hang out with only Christians on campus? How can you witness to non-Christians without being influenced by them? How do you think your faith will help you face the challenges of college life? What steps can you take now to help keep your faith strong?

Resource This three-book graduation gift set helps young people explore their beliefs and prepare for the challenges and opportunities of college life. It is $15 and includes, 99 Thoughts for College-Age People, Live Large. Be Different. Shine Bright., and Creative Times With God.

“Thor” Movie Review Read the rest of this and other reviews at ©2011, Focus on the Family

Plot: Never mind that 1990 is ancient history. For Thor, it's always hammer time. And with a hammer this cool, why wouldn't it be? Thor's the perfect guy to wield a hammer like that— or at least so thinks he. He's the heir to the great throne of Asgard. And he's got biceps bigger than bowling balls. So why not, he figures. But not to build, at least not quite yet. Thor's more of a demolition kind of guy. So when he learns that the family palace was nearly burgled by a handful of frost giants—eternal enemies of Asgard— Thor decides it's time to put the hammer to good use. Defying Odin's orders, he, his brother Loki and a handful of his best buds gallop across the Rainbow Bridge, get zapped into space and barge into the frost giants' chilly kingdom. It almost goes without saying that Odin's none too pleased with Thor's willful disobedience. He was actually on the brink of crowning the boy king before this whole giant fiasco began. Now Odin wonders if perhaps his plan was too hasty. So the father calls the son a "vain, greedy, cruel boy"—and the son shoots right back with, "You are an old man and a fool!" Odin's had just about enough of that kind of talk. Hoping to teach Thor a lesson, he banishes him to Earth, sending the hammer along for the ride. The catch: Thor's just an ordinary guy down here (albeit extraordinarily large), and his nifty hammer's frozen in rock— a sort of "sword in the stone" trope to ensure that no one, not even Odin's No. 1 son, will use the thing until he's good and worthy. Looks like Thor has some growing up to do.

Conclusion: "When you learn you don't have all the answers, you ask the right questions,"

Erik tells Thor. It's a paradox of sorts—the idea that we're a step closer to wisdom when we admit our ignorance—but we know it instinctively to be true. This film pounds away at that concept and, in so doing, becomes something of a conundrum itself. It's a spectacular, silly action movie that, in spite of itself, has something to say. We know all along that Thor is incredibly strong—yet he finds his true power when he's at his weakest. We know him to be a hero, and yet he's at his most heroic when he bows his head in submission. He was born to be a king but proves his worth in exile. He was trained to be a warrior but makes his most impressive stand without weapons, without armor. He scores his greatest victory when he suffers a killing blow. I could go on. Some of this calls to mind, of course, another counterintuitive King. And while making too many parallels between Christ and Thor would be pointless, if not even a tad sacrilegious, they're interesting to note … and lead to yet another paradox: Thor, a film with undeniably pagan roots, can feel at times almost Christian. I won't and don't want to intimate any sort of an excuse for those ungodly underpinnings or the film's unremitting violence. Thor, like its namesake, has issues. But it still showcases a true superhero—one who becomes all the more heroic when he's not doing anything super at all.

Discussion Questions: Thor was forced to come to earth and become a mortal; did Jesus have a choice to become a man? Why would someone give up that position of authority and humble himself? What makes a hero? What was heroic about Jesus coming to earth?

Calendar of Events

May 2011

Sun 1 AC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6-8:30 PM

Mon 2 IC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 7-9 PM

Tue 3

Wed 4 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9 PM

Thurs 5

Fri 6

Sat 7


9 IC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 7-9 PM


11 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9 PM



No Aurora Campus Meeting Mother’s Day!

14 Sr. High Loft Night at SG 7-10 PM

15 AC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6-8:30 PM 22 AC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6-8:30 PM

16 IC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 7-9 PM 23 IC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 7-9 PM


All-Campus Phone-a-Thon at Wayside Cross 6-9:30 PM 19





28 No Loft Night

29 AC Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6-8:30 PM

30 No IC Meeting Memorial Day Picnic





24 Baccalaureate at Kaneland HS 7 PM

18 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9 PM 25 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9 PM 1 SG Refuge/Aliens Meeting 6:30-9 PM

Upcoming Events June 19-25 June 29 June 30 July 5-8 July 10 July 23-31 August August September 7 September 12 September 15 October 28-30 November 12 November 16 November 19 December 3

Lake Ann Camp (week 2) For students entering grades 4 through HS Graduation. www. Refuge Family Reunions / Aliens 5th Wednesday Six Flags Great America | Jr & Sr High | 8 AM-12 midnight | $65 (Early bird: $50) Aliens Junior High Mission Trip with Wayside Cross - $125 All-Campus Capture the Flag Outreach in Indian Creek | 2-4pm Senior High Detroit Mission Trip - $300 | Aliens and Refuge Wednesday Nights are Off-Site Sugar Grove Aliens and Refuge meet at various students’ homes No Refuge or Aliens for Aurora and Indian Creek during August Sugar Grove Campus Back 2 School Bash | Jr & Sr High at separate locations | $5 Aurora Campus Back 2 School Bash Indian Creek Campus Back 2 School Bash Fall Camp | Senior High and Junior High | $120 ($99 early bird) Kendall County Food Pantry Service Project | Pack Thanksgiving Meals Ad Vivum – Moody Bible Institute Drama team | Junior High & Senior High Senior High Turkey Hunt | 5:30 – 10:30 PM | $5 | Meets at SG Campus Pack Teen Christmas Bags | $10 per teen bag donation

May Parentlink 2011  

Enjoy the May 2011 edition of the Village Bible Church Parentlink.