Lancaster Bible College students from the Youth Ministry program within the Church & Ministry Leadership Department collaborated this spring to host a parenting panel featuring two LBC | Capital professors—Dr. Esther Zimmerman, Interim Chair of the Church & Ministry Leadership Department, and Dr. Ron Belsterling, Youth & Young Adult Ministry Program Director—along with a guest panelist, Daniel Zimmerman. The ministry majors aimed to share with their fellow students and attendees about how to be a parent who is rooted in God’s Word by imparting the wisdom of these faculty members.
Dr. Zimmerman, who also serves as Children & Family Ministry Program Director, is passionate about informing students about the blessings of children and Christians are called to raise them according to the Bible. Read what Dr. Zimmerman had to say about the panel and the impact solid parenting skills have on younger generations.
Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School: Why is biblical parenting an important subject to discuss?
ESTHER ZIMMERMAN:(At the panel) we talked about the importance of meaningful conversations with our children in an increasingly disconnected world. In Deuteronomy 6, God is pretty explicit in his instructions to parents specifically and God’s people generally to have spiritual conversations with our children. The fact that our culture is fast-paced and tech-driven doesn’t give us an “out” on this command. It just means that we need to lean in more and figure out how to do parenting in our world today.
LBC: What are one or two piece of valuable information you hope the audience went away with after attending the panel?
EZ: (1) Start talking with your children early and don’t stop! Sometimes we aren’t interested in hearing what little children have to say. The problem is that by the time we start wanting to hear what they think (12+ years), they’ve stopped wanting to tell us. If we want our kids to talk to us, we need to prioritize listening all along the way. (2) Find the “sacred times” with your children when they are ready to talk—in our family, this was around the table at dinnertime and at bedtime.
LBC: Why is it encouraging that LBC talks about these topics or hosts panels on hard subjects?
EZ: Students are the next generation of parents and leaders. We want students to wrestle with the hard questions so that they are equipped to be intentional about the life they want to live and the family they want to have rather than just copying what they have seen—whether positive or negative.
Students in LBC’s ministry-related majors collaborated to lead the panel with the overall goal to invest in students’ lives. Youth Ministry major Tyler Lewis (’23) was one of the many students who made the event possible. Read what he had to say about why he and his classmates chose to highlight these speakers and why they felt parenting was an important topic to discuss.
LBC: Why did you decide to host the parenting panel and what was the goal?
TYLER LEWIS: Initially, the idea of a parenting panel was presented to our family ministry class as a possibility for our final. The goal of the panel (took) various forms, but we eventually landed on informing students—or future parents—how to be intentional with their kids in a world where families are becoming increasingly distant. Overall, the importance of a parenting panel, especially one filled with those in ministry positions, was that it provided students who plan on being parents with a reliable model of how to approach future situations.
LBC: What were some key takeaways from the panel?
TL: One takeaway I got from the panel came from Dr. Esther Zimmerman when she talked about how to balance your family responsibility and your ministerial responsibility. As someone who is planning on spending my life in ministry, it was important to understand that I cannot let my ministry take precedence over my family.
LBC: How did you go about choosing the professors to speak at the panel?
TL: On this campus, we were certainly spoiled for choices, so this was not an easy decision. Dr. Belsterling seemed like a logical choice because he was the person who put this idea in our heads. Dr. Zimmerman came to our minds because of her area of expertise in family ministry. Both are also parents, so this led us to Daniel Zimmerman (Esther’s son). We thought it would be interesting to see how her parenting helped lead Daniel into a life in ministry.
LBC: Why did you decide to major in Youth & Young Adult Ministry?
TL: I decided to major in Youth and Young Adult Ministry because youth ministry saved my life. I was on a path to destruction, and due to the efforts of a youth group and those who ran it, I was pulled of that road and put on one that led me to the feet of Jesus. It was there that I found my salvation. I want to help students find Jesus!