This is what it means to be a father in ministry for Brent Newman. He is the proud dad of 4 adult children, the youngest of them is his son David, who is 19 years old and attending college.
When his kids were growing up, they were raised with God in their home under the guidance of Brent’s marriage, but it wasn’t until his kids were entering their middle school and high school years that he started getting more heavily involved in his kid’s ministry life as well. “You can see how those high school years are years of great opportunity, but also years of potential for great peril,” he reasoned. He saw those moments as critical enough to step in and start volunteering where his children were.
What he sees is that parents genuinely want their kids to know God, but they don’t know how to be that example. “So parents outsource that job to Bayside.” But Brent relays the importance of having parents stay just as involved in their child’s ministry life as they are at home. “When parents aren’t as involved, kids are drawn to their leaders and other adults in their ministry instead because it’s easier for the kids to feel connected to a group of people who know exactly what’s going on in that part of their lives,” he says. Brent knew that the most important thing he could do for David during this time was to be present, not perfect because he wanted to set the example with his son that whatever was going on, he would be there in the background as a support system.
“Three years ago, when David was in a ‘high-speed wobble’ I like to call it—it was a point where he wanted to do life as a young man, on his own. We taught our kids at an early stage that the ‘Truth’—that is, the Truth of God’s word—had to be discovered for themselves. The events through the church, the Mexico mission trip, the right leaders, the Truth from the Lord… it all got a hold of my son. To be there while that happened, even though I wasn’t working directly with him, was one of the best moments of my life. He still follows the Lord and is on fire!”
Brent believes ministry thrives when you have two ingredients—great staff alongside great parents that support their kids. So, to all the fathers and father figures out there who value being present over perfect, we salute you and the way you love on your kids. Happy Father’s Day!
“My dad is someone that I respect so greatly. It’s because of him that I have the foundation with God that I have now. He always gave the example, but gave a lot of room for me to come to a conclusion by myself. He really respected our point of view with things, and I knew he wasn’t perfect, which I think was really important. I saw him humble himself a lot. When there is more love in the home, when he respected us kids and our thoughts, it made me really respect him back.
Having him around in high school ministry, it was HUGE. It’s difficult to connect, and I wasn’t super connected my freshman year. There was a point where I wanted to try different youth groups because it didn’t feel worth it to stay and try to get connected, but my dad encouraged me to stick with it, and he started showing up with me and for me.
A man named Korey was my small group leader, and I think it’s important to mention that he was an incredible influence in my life as well. He poured into me, but he is also close to my dad. I think that was super special–my dad and Korey go to coffee, and I knew that my dad wasn’t just showing up at my ministry, but he was actively involving himself in my life, including the people I found important. He’s involved enough to know who I’m talking about, and what I’m going through. My dad was super supportive of EVERYTHING in high school, in terms of serving.
My dad was able to contribute to the conversations we were having because he was there. It’s easy to get really intertwined in ministry when he’s involved because of the encouragement comes with it. Now I’m at college, at a different church, on my own, and it feels different. Bayside felt like my real family because my dad poured into every aspect of my relationship with these people.
The older I get, the more I’m beginning to see the sacrifice he made by being there for me as much as he was, and the more I appreciate the things he did for my sake that I might not have understood at the time. There’s no one in the world I’d rather look up to than him- as a leader and a father. It’s not just at bible studies and stuff like that, it’s all the time. I respect him so much.”– David, Brent’s son