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Ministering to parents

Karen and I have been in Chicago this week launching 240 racers. And while it's been an exciting week with the racers, for me one of the highlights was the time we got to spend with the many parents who showed up to send their kids off. In the past, we haven't done the best job of this…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Karen and I have been in Chicago this week launching 240 racers. And while it's been an exciting week with the racers, for me one of the highlights was the time we got to spend with the many parents who showed up to send their kids off.

In the past, we haven't done the best job of this. Wanting to help our racers learn self-governance, we've not invited parents to be a part of the process. I was never comfortable with this policy, but it's what we did.

This year, we decided to take a risk and involve parents more. For a while I've felt the Lord's call to reach out to them and help them to understand the process that their son or daughter was going through.

Parents want the best for their children. They want them to learn how to self-govern. They want them to walk in their destiny.

But releasing their kids is hard. They need encouragement in the process. So we've reached out. We connected the parents to one another. They encouraged one another. I spoke to them about my journey and about how our kids have gone on their own journey.

And in the midst of that, something magical happened. God showed up. They were already in a very tender place. Yesterday they hugged their kids goodbye. There were tears – it was heart-wrenching.

When I spoke to them, I said, "Yes, your kids are going on a journey. But so are you. This year can be transformative, not just for them, but for you as well. Your life is not over. There's more. God has so much more for each of you."

What does that look like? I think it starts with questions: "God, what is my purpose on this earth? How do you want to use my child's journey to change the way I view the world?"

And after 11 months have passed and their kids have changed and are returning, the possibilities for shifting parent-child relationships are great. There may be issues of forgiveness, or just a debrief of one's experience growing up in the family. That debrief can be huge. It can be wonderfully therapeutic and life-giving. It can liberate us to appreciate one another more.

All of us as we enter our 20's need a re-set with our parents. We're adults relating to adults, but it's hard to shake some of those broken patterns that we may have experienced growing up. As sons and daughters, we need our parents' blessing. As moms and dads, we need to give it. It almost doesn't matter who initiates it – it just needs to happen.

Comments (15)

  • Dear Seth, as one of the parents of a September racer, I can’t thank you enough for providing us with the opportunity of coming to launch and getting to know the leadership and hearing your stories and your commitment to this program and keeping our children as safe as possible, meeting the coaches and giving us the opportunity to ask them questions and get to know the Mom and Dad who will be watching over our precious children these next 11 months and having the chance to meet and get to know the other parents who will be walking this journey with us. I was especially moved by hearing from you as a parent and how you walk the talk.

    This special time that we had to spend with our children was priceless and having the opportunity of worshipping in this special way was so powerful.

    I have to say in the beginning I was saying who is this Seth Barnes and why are you sending my baby all over the world, but I am now saying God Bless you Seth Barnes for providing the opportunity for these young people to go out and help make this world a better place. I know these 11 months will not be easy for any of us but I know that God is all over this and will protect our loved ones and I look forward to my own journey.

    Thank you also for the Parent Facebook Group, they are going to be my lifeline.

    Bless you and your family.

  • I would also like to thank you for the opportunity given to us as parents to feel the heartbeat of AIM. Although we were already 100% behind Hannah’s choice it was encouraging to know the ins and outs of how the race works. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us. I cannot imagine how hard it is to put together this launch and I know including us made it even more difficult but from the bottom of our hearts — God bless you and all of the AIM staff for doing it.

  • As a WR coach, i personally enjoyed the chance to meet the parents, could so relate to their feelings & struggles with releasing their kids, have so been there. I thought it was the most thoughtful thing that could be done for these parents to include them & give them a taste of the excitement and the journey- good choice Seth

  • Great blog! I really appreciate this. I leave in January and though my biological parents have come to term with this decision, my “step mom” has not. Will they be doing this for January squads as well?

  • That is so great to hear! Next question…is it “unbeliever” friendly? When I said “unbeliever friendly” I mean, do you think it would be beneficial for those who aren’t believers to take part as well?

  • Blessings, Seth and AIM crew!

    I changed my email a while back, finally ditched AOL, and have been growing, stretching, and out of touch. I think about and pray for you often. Finally I matched my thoughts with getting back on the computer and resubscribing; I have missed your posts.
    We had our own reconnection with our two twenty something sons this past weekend, it was glorious.

    God bless you for all you do as a disciple of Christ.


  • As the parent of a 2010 World Racer, I can say that I think including the parents in the process will be a blessing to all and I know it will greatly reduce the stress that the parents experience.

    God bless,

  • Donna and other parents who have contacted me –

    Thanks for the encouragement. It is a thrill for me to have you parents engaging in this ministry with us. We are eager to find other ways to involve you even as your kiddos figure out how to navigate their faith out in the world and become more independent.

  • I was there for the July launch and loved every minute of it! It was a blessing to meet the staff and other World Racers and their parents. Thank you, Seth and AIM for this opportunity. I’m glad to hear you are continuing it for future launches. The FB page has also been a huge blessing! This is definitely a journey for parents, as well as the racers!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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