Growing up, Natalie Frisk was always around kids and youth. Whether it was working as a camp counsellor, coaching Redeemer’s women’s basketball or just hanging around her mother who worked in early childhood education. But she never expected to work with kids full time.
Frisk has been the curriculum pastor at The Meeting House for six years, working with a team of people who write Sunday school curriculum for kids from zero to 18 that is used by more than 2,000 churches and groups in over 48 different countries. This role, as well as her previous role as a youth pastor, prepared her well to write her new book, Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter to Our Kids.
Throughout her time as a youth pastor, Frisk would get a lot of questions from parents about having their kids follow Jesus. “I started to keep track of that with no real plan for what to do with it at the time,” she says.
It wasn’t until later, when an editor from a publishing company asked to meet with her, that she realized she had some great material for her book.
“It is the shared wisdom of so many people who have been part of my spiritual community,” she said. “It’s kind of crowdsourced from people who are rockstar parents. There was a lot of community involvement. I just got to write it down.”
“When we are reminded of our identity, it helps shape who we really are. It goes before and beyond every other necessity of life.”
While writing has always been a part of Frisk’s life, writing a book was a whole new challenge. “I felt like I had so much content that I wanted to share, but weaving it together in a palatable way and maintaining that conversational tone was challenging.”
Frisk says her Redeemer education and the skills she learned made the writing process easier. Caring professors helped to shape her as a writer and gave her the tools she needed.
She also attributes the book’s successful completion to some of her biggest role models in parenting. Thinking back to her own childhood, her mother stands out as a significant influence.
“She did a phenomenal job of discipling me. The consistency of my mom’s faith was a solid example for me,” Frisk said, adding that there have been a number of other great models of parenting in her life. A good friend has modelled consistency in prayer for her kids and another mom has shared wisdom about being present.
Frisk says seeing her book in print is still very surreal. “I’m 35 and this is a parenting book. I’ve only raised my kid to eight years old!”
But even though her daughter is still young, some of the book’s wisdom comes from her own journey as a parent.
“It can be a temptation just to make sure our kids are happy. But for them to find their full identity in Christ, it gives them so much more than happiness. It changes everything. When we are reminded of our identity, it helps shape who we really are. It goes before and beyond every other necessity of life.”
Frisk says there are two parts to how parents can model faith to their kids: intentional practices and unintentional lived moments.
Intentional practices are things like praying with and in front of your kids and reading your Bible. “They see you doing it, so they know you value it,” she says.
Unintentional lived moments are things like modelling forgiveness to your kids. Frisk says parents should apologize to their kids when they do something wrong. “Get down to their level and ask for forgiveness. And forgive them when they apologize. That offers a glimpse of the heart of our Father God.”
Frisk admits that there is uncertainty about the best way to talk about Christianity in our homes. “We talk about the weather all the time because we’re always impacted by it. As Christians, we should be talking about Jesus all the time because he impacts our every moment. To be able to do that, I think, would be an incredible gift.”