Church Life


Parenting Workshop

January 8 | 5:30 - 7:30 PM | Miller Hall

Event Details

5:15 PM Childcare Drop Off Begins
5:30 PM Catered Dinner and large-group session with Sandy Willson
6:30 PM Breakout Sessions

 Contact Jenny Sanders for more information.

Register online here.


Childcare is available by request at registration for children sixth grade and younger. In the ticket section of this registration form, choose the "Family Admission" option and be sure to list each child and age in the order form.

Main Session:  The Heart of Parenting

Sandy Willson (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; DD, Crichton College) is interim senior minister of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, pastor emeritus of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and a Council member emeritus of The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife, Allison, have five children.

Breakout Sessions

The Good, the Bad, and the Way Forward: An Interactive Workshop on Social Media

The question is, what are Christian parents to do? If your child has not yet encountered social media, how should you prepare them for it? If your child is fully enmeshed in it, then how do you recognize warning signs of trouble, and moreover, how do you regulate your child’s exposure to it? This seminar will talk about social media and all that it encompasses from the effects on documented levels of anxiety and depression to how it can be used for a tool for interaction and learning.

David Elkin received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and Masters in Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary and his PhD from the University of Memphis. He is a faculty member at University of Mississippi Medical Center and specializes in child and adolescent behavioral disorders. He is a ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, MS where he is a regular adult Sunday School teacher. He and his wife, Allie, have 4 daughters.

*Recommended audience: upper elementary through teenage parents 

Life on the Hamster Wheel

School to practice field to piano lesson to drive-thru to home. Repeat. Life for many of our parents is a continual journey that shows no end or hope of slowing down. With so many parts craving so many parts of our lives, many young families are saying, “Help.” Can you - in the midst of the busyness of life - take care of you and your family? This session will examine how we can attempt to build a healthy balance between home, work, school, family, and church.

Brian Smith is the FPDS Head of School. He received his undergraduate degree at King College and his Master’s degree from Milligan College. Brian served at Madison-Ridgeland Academy for 16 years in a variety of roles. He then served as the secondary principal at Presbyterian Christian School. Brian has been married to his bride Kim, and they have two children, Carter and Taylor.

*Recommended audience: elementary age parents

Making Family Memories: Our Quest for Nostalgia and Nurture

Memories are like videos that play in your head. These words from a seven-year old have the power to make us smile or wince, maybe even simultaneously. This workshop considers the gift of God-given memory, and the opportunity we have as Christian parents to influence and shape, to a degree, what our children remember. Hear how nostalgia and nurture, happiness and holiness, form a quartet of biblical memory-making.

Long-time members of FPCJ, Shirley Windham and her Ruling Elder husband, Mark, share a mutual love for mentoring and ministry to young families. Shirley has been one of our Bible teachers in the MOMs weekly bible study for twenty years, with a steady desire to see women come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to love His Word. She and Mark have three married daughters and 10 grandchildren.

*Recommended audience: new through lower elementary parents 

Parenting for the Long Haul

As many members of our congregation are learning, parenting does not stop once a child graduates college. Many young adults stay in school and graduate programs long after graduation, many others move home for a long or short stint, and even those who find work quickly require a lot of parental advice as they navigate their new stage of life. Beyond that, parenting takes on a whole new meaning as our adult children find spouses and have children of their own. This breakout session led by Sandy Willson will help guide our thoughts on the boundaries, expectations, and changing roles of parents as their children grow past being just children.

*Recommended audience: empty nester parents

Picking up the Pieces

Brokenness is a fact in a world of sin. Perhaps the scariest part of brokenness is that it is inevitable. Our parenting is full of brokenness, and everyone at the Parenting Workshop has brokenness in their families. There can be brokenness because of our fumbles and failures as parents; there can be brokenness because of our children’s fumbles and failures; or there can be brokenness because of living in a broken world where there is mental illness, cancer, anxiety, abuse, autism, depression, and even loss. We don’t always know what to do with our badly broken hearts, crushed expectations, and grief over the loss of the family that we had dreamed about. Join Barb Martin in this breakout session, as we consider: What do you do with your brokenness as a family? If you feel like you need a fresh start, what does that even look like? How do you pick up the pieces and start something new?

Barb Martin is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and a board qualified supervisor with the Mississippi Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and supervises RTS student counselors both in individual supervision and group supervision. Barb is also a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor for AAMFT. Barb and her husband, Hal, have three grown sons, three daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.

*Recommended audience: any age and stage parents

Daughter Drama?

What happened to my little girl? Instead of hair bows, it’s makeup. Instead of an invitation to a birthday party, it’s an invitation to the school dance. When children are young, the answers seem more obvious: don’t touch the socket; don’t run in the street; be nice to your sister. But as our daughters grow up, the conversations are harder to navigate. How do our expectations and fears impact how we parent our tween-to-teen age daughters? What does intentional parenting look like in the midst of chaotic schedules?

Susan Tyner is a Mississippi native but now hangs her hat in Fort Worth, Texas. She serves on staff at Trinity Presbyterian Church and is a regular contributor for EnCourage, the PCA’s blog. Susan and her husband, Lee, have five children, and an almost empty nest.

*Recommended audience: late elementary through teenage girl parents

Raising Boys

One Christian blogger jokingly said that if he ever writes a book on parenting he’s going to call it The Inmates Are Running the Asylum. Those of us with boys can sympathize. But how can we model and impart Biblical manhood to our sons in an age when there are pressures from all sides? How can we set them up to flourish spiritually once leaving the family unit? How can we raise our boys to care about Jesus and His grace in the midst of insecurity, busyness, isolation, ambition, and suffering? And how do we love them well through the times when they don’t?

With a young son of his own, Brian Sorgenfrei has spent the last 15+ years working with young men on the college campuses of Auburn, Millsaps, Mississippi State, and currently, Ole Miss. In his role as an RUF Campus Minister, he has seen guys that come from a variety of different settings, schools, and parenting styles and how those have impacted and shaped the young men with whom he ministers for better or for worse.

*Recommended audience: late elementary through teenage boy parents