Published: Summer 2005 in Parents

Family-Friendly Ministry

The Rehfelds Disciple Youth in Their Church As Well As Their Own Three Sons

Like many parents, Joe and Judy Rehfeld are involved in their sons’ lives. They drive the boys to sports practices and church events and show up for their games and concerts. Family activities take much of their time and rank high on their list of priorities.

The family also ministers together. The Rehfelds have traveled to the Philippines for short-term mission trips, and they all participate in the life of their congregation, Crossroads Bible Church.

Joe and Judy are dedicated to discipling young people in the church.“Our focus is training them to be lifelong followers of Jesus Christ,” Joe says. “We give them a perspective on what God is doing in the world and how they can be part of it. The goal is building a solid biblical foundation and helping them grow in their faith. The opportunity to influence their thinking is priceless.”

Taking college students on short-term missions allows them to see missionaries at work, the Rehfelds say. “It gives them a deeper experience of what it means to be a Christian.” Some of the youth have pursued ministry by becoming pastors or working with organizations like Youth with a Mission.

Although they are passionate about youth work, the Rehfelds have no illusions about it. “Discipling young people isn’t easy,” Judy says. “There are so many activities competing for their time and so many temptations in their lives. Making a commitment to Christ costs kids. We look for the ones willing to pay the price.”

“We help them navigate through the distractions,” Joe says. “They learn how to make time for God in their lives. Sometimes it surprises us to see which ones respond to the call.

“We don’t want to spoon-feed them,” Joe adds. “We’re not interested in telling them what to think. There’s too much of that in the church already. That’s one reason we appreciate Westmont. The faculty help students think through and discover the truth for themselves. Their faith becomes their own and not their parents’. When they appropriate truth individually, it transforms their lives.”

Joe retired five years ago after 20 years in the high tech industry. He has been involved in business development, marketing and finance for companies like Microsoft, where he held several different positions. His work now focuses on family and ministry.

The Rehfelds encouraged their sons to find a college where they could continue growing in their faith. When the family started looking into Westmont, they discovered graduates close to their home in Bellevue, Wash.: the high school tennis coach, a local attorney, people at church. They liked what they heard.

Jeff ’07 chose Westmont for its solid Christian foundation and caring community. “Westmont was the only school he visited where the faculty and students really engaged him,” Judy says. A religious studies major, he is interested in missions. Jason ’09 came for the community as well as for the strong academics. He loves to work with kids and has gone on mission trips to Mexico and British Columbia. At 16, Jimmy is the only son still at home.

Joe and Judy belong to the Westmont Parents Council. “It’s great to meet people who share your interests and your stage in life,” Judy says. “Being part of this group allows us to go deeper in our involvement at Westmont. We learn what to pray for and how to be a resource and encouragement to other parents.

“We hold our kids in an open palm,” she adds. “We have been happy to entrust them to Westmont where people care about them and where they have made truly wonderful friends.”

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