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3 questions with a mom

July 31, 2016

Rhonda Johnstone has spoken at retreats, mentored women and has supported her husband Rich through decades of ministry. But I simply know her as Ethan, Eryn, and Tessa’s mom.

Our family has been blessed by Rich and Rhonda’s support of our ministry and I wanted to give them an opportunity to speak in the lives of campus ministers.

It’s not out of the ordinary for parents to be skeptical of campus ministry groups, so I asked Rhonda three questions about campus ministry.

What did we do well to help you feel comfortable with your children’s involvement in our ministry?

Knowing that my kids connected with a college ministry was actually a relief to me because my own experience in college with college ministry was such an encouragement to my spiritual growth.

However, since I was unfamiliar with this particular ministry (Christian Challenge), there were some things that made me feel more comfortable with my children’s involvement in the ministry.

The most obvious was the growth in their commitment to living for Christ.

Their intentional study and memorization of God’s word was evidence that the college ministry was helping them mature as young adults and as followers of Christ.

Also, the ministry was making it possible for them to build friendship that were a great balance of having lots of fun and seriously seeking after God.

Probably the greatest comfort came as I saw them develop a genuine commitment to sharing the faith and make disciples and then actually doing it!

You’ve had two kids raise support to do college ministry. What advice would you give people starting college ministry?

First, here is some of what we learned as the parents of kids raising support for college ministry:

  • We had to make a shift in our thinking. In our minds, our child finally had earned a degree and could get a good paying job. We thought the days of writing letters to our family friends to fund mission trips, etc. were over. Also, our denominational background hadn’t really prepared us for the idea of living on support. I have come to see the many advantages of support raising now, but that took a little time.
  • We needed to do a lot of listening and sincerely respect the call of God on our child’s life.
  • The act of raising support can be very stressful on your child. Our best role was to provide emotional support during that period…and food!
  • We have made a financial commitment to our children’s ministries, and it is important that we clearly see it as supporting the ministry and not as giving our child an allowance.
  • Most of the people who support you also feel a strong commitment to your ministry. Quick updates (even just a pic with a hashtag) really help keep them engaged and praying.

Knowing that my kids connected with a college ministry was actually a relief to me.

How has our college ministry been a blessing to your family?

It’s hard to explain how grateful I am that someone was there to continue the discipleship in my children’s lives when they left home.

As young adults, college students are at such a vulnerable place in life. So many life-changing decisions are made during the college years.

It gave me such peace of mind to know that my kids were hearing voices of truth and wisdom in their lives through the college ministry. (Some of that wisdom was very practical such as, “First wait five years and if you still really want the tattoo then go ahead and get it.” This mom says, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”)

Those influences are still being felt by my family as my kids are establishing their own homes and beginning to raise their own children.

Questions for Discussion:

How can you honor your parents through your ministry?

In what ways can you prepare future staff to have conversations with their families about support raising?

What are ways we can teach students to honor their parents?