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Testimonial from Todd Roughton

Todd & his wife, Riety, and their 4 children - Emily, Anna, Amy & Thijs, live at Hikurangi, a rural area just north of Whangarei. They are home-schoolers. Todd worked in a variety of roles in Christian education for ten years, but he now runs an internet-based business called Eduserve. This business provides schools with NEWSprint, a weekly newspaper of articles, with Christian values, that encourage children to read. Todd also tutors young people who have left school without the literacy skills they need in order to enter the workplace.

Todd and Riety

After years of involvement in the field of education, which amongst other things has included state schooling, Christian schooling and home schooling, my wife and I came to the conclusion that the institution that God has ordained for the nurture/education of children is the family. (We see that He also ordained two other institutions, each with their own distinct, separate, functions; the church and the state.)

This is not to say that Christian schools are anti-Biblical; rather that they are extra-Biblical.

Once we arrived at that understanding, our God-given roles and responsibilities as husband and wife, father and mother became much clearer.

As the head of the home, I understood that it is me in the first place who is held responsible by God for the nurture/instruction of my children (Ephesians 6:4). I will need to give account to Him on that day for my stewardship of this responsibility. Even if I decide to sub-contract part of that responsibility out, I will still need to give account for that which I have permitted/forbidden.

Becoming the spiritual head of our home also meant accepting the responsibility for the discipleship of our children. While I found that reasonably easy in regard to teaching the truths (doctrines) of our faith, I was at a loss as to how to lead our children into that one-on-one personal relationship with the Lord. My wife and I had both "learned" this through our involvement with youth groups and para-church organisations, but these organisations were at that time acting in locus parentis (in the position or place of a parent) for us, as neither of us had parents-in-the-Lord to instruct us.

Then Colin invited us to an evening, with another family, to explain to us how the 'Walking With God' quiet times worked. We listened and watched, and then took some quiet time sheets home and as a family we did them for a week. It was made easier for us because (a) this was not just "Dad's" idea, and (b) we also felt somewhat accountable to Colin, seeing as how we were to report back a week later. It was also lovely for us that week as parents to hear our mostly-teenage family all openly share in front of each other for the first time what they felt God had spoken to them personally.

The first whole group sharing time a week later really confirmed the power and blessing of the family quiet times. The whole group, young and old, first shared one special blessing of the week, and then one particular quiet time as we went around the circle. From that point we have not looked back, and each working day now starts with a 20-25 minute time together before we get underway with our activities.

We also continue meeting weekly with the other families, even though we no longer "need" to. The quality and warmth of that extended family sharing time has laid the platform that has enabled our family as a whole unit to experience koinonia with other families. Our children (19, 16, 14, and 12) eagerly look forward to our weekly get-together, to the companionship, fun, shared meal, and sharing time. Riety and I also see how strengthening it is for them to see other children in other families doing the same thing -- it's not just "us". We greatly value the affirmation/reinforcement that our children receive through this in regard to their own walk with God.

Having experienced a wide breadth of Christian movements over their lives, it seems to me that what Colin and Kathy have done is examined all things carefully and held fast to that which is good. From their experience with the Navigators they have drawn upon the strengths of taking distinct portions of Scripture for both memorisation, and as the focus of meditation and reflection. They have also given extended emphasis on the understanding that we have a God who is indeed capable of, and open to, direct communication with his beloved.

But to my mind, the "x-factor" component they have hit upon is the one that has so often been overlooked in our modern church, para-church, and Christian school models is this: these things take place in the context of the family.

To my mind, it is the balanced mix of these three components (the Word of God, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and the context of the family) that makes the simple Walking With God format so powerful.

Footnote by Colin

The reason why I asked Todd to write a testimony concerning our strategy is because of the incredible encouragement he has been to me. When he and his family first began attending our Saturday group, he kept saying to me that it works. He said that getting his children having QTs has been such a blessing for his family.

He later encouraged me to get this ministry on the internet to help families everywhere. Todd helped me understand the amazing way we can spread the Gospel through the internet. He has greatly assisted us with advice and editing of our web site.

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