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Condensed and adapted with permission from A New Design for Family Ministry (David C. Cook Publishing Co., Elgin, IL 60120) (c) 1982, Dennis B. Guernsey

When I was in seminary, I worked as a probation officer for the juvenile court. My duties involved night intake. I often had to decide whether to return an erring juvenile to his or her parents or to detain the kid until the next day. Also, I often had to decide what to do with younger children who, through no fault of their own, had come into the custody of the police.

Many parents mournfully admitted their failures with their children. But I never once had a parent admit he or she had intended to do a lousy job. Their hearts were always in the right place.

It is possible for one's intent to be inconsistent with one's behavior. Nowhere in the world today would you find a pastor or a director of Christian education who would admit to making decisions that consciously hinder Christian family living. In the educational establishment of Christian ...

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