Contact Info Subscribe Links

Cover 41


January 2012

Dare to Disciple


Online Edition

PDF Edition

iPad and eReader









Free Will Baptist

Going Deeper: 2011 D6 Conference


The annual D6 Conference, hosted by Randall House Publications, equips churches to partner with parents to create a home environment designed to pass faith to the next generation. Learn more about D6 at

Going Deeper: The 2011 D6 Conference

By Eric K. Thomsen


Not long ago, my friend Katie shared an incident that happened during her family’s recent Caribbean vacation. Despite a lifelong fear of the ocean, she scheduled a guided snorkeling excursion to a reef off the coast of Honduras. “It can’t be that bad,” she told herself, picturing the colorful and friendly backdrop of Disney’s Finding Nemo, complete with bright, playful fish and gently swaying coral fans.

To her surprise and dismay, after outfitting her family with snorkeling gear, the guide loaded them into a small fishing boat and sent it skimming over the waves, farther and farther from shore. When it finally came to a stop, she peered with dread into the murky depths, wondering what she had gotten herself into. The guide cheerfully announced that the water beneath them was 180 feet deep then instructed them to sit on the edge of the boat and roll off backwards into the rolling waves. Katie was terrified!

Her husband Matt slipped into the water without hesitation. Her young sons perched on the side of the boat to follow, then looked to Katie for approval. For a long moment, she fought down the urge to grab them both and hold them tightly within the safety of the boat. But taking a deep breath, she smiled shakily and nodded. They slipped into the water, leaving her alone with her fear.

Summoning all of her courage, Katie adjusted her mask and snorkel, leaned back, and dropped into the deep. As the waves closed over her head, she got her first glimpse of endless blue fading into inky darkness. She panicked. Hyperventilating, she clawed her way to the surface, desperate for sunlight and oxygen.

After regaining her composure, she turned to see her husband in the distance, waving impatiently. She swam quickly to catch up with her family, and joining hands, they swam together behind their guide through the deep water.

What happened next was magical. An enormous wall of coral rose up before them from the ocean depths. Her boys pointed excitedly with eyes huge behind their masks, as schools of bright tropical fish streamed around them. For the next two hours, the family followed their guide through an enchanted underwater world—one far more beautiful than any Disney animator could create.

“I am so glad I didn’t let fear keep me from sharing that experience with my children,” Katie told me quietly. “The guide told us later that the section of reef we visited is the most beautiful, but it can only be reached through deep water. It was a good reminder for me that sometimes, you have to be willing to go deep with your kids to get where you want to be.”


David Platt

Photo: David Platt, author of Radical, challengers listeners to embrace tasks larger than themselves.

As I listened, I couldn’t help but think that Katie’s story paints a vivid picture of the D6 Conference. For two incredible years D6 has challenged and changed the landscape of ministry in America by emphasizing the importance of family discipleship based on Deuteronomy 6:5-7, where God commands dads and moms to take every opportunity to impress God’s Word upon their children.

The response to the conference has been overwhelming. Attendance has grown by more than 40%, numerous ministry partnerships have been forged, and the D6 message has found its way into churches and homes across America and around the world.


Voddie Baucham

Photo: Texas pastor Voddie Baucham explores God's purpose for marriage.

Nearly 2,300 attendees from 500 churches in Canada, England, France, Norway, Puerto Rico, 42 states, and more than 30 denominations gathered in Dallas, Texas, September 21-23, for the third D6 conference while nearly 4,980 watched the conference from their homes via live streaming. But with its third conference, D6 left the familiar shoreline—the familiar message—for deep water, asking attendees, “What’s next?” for this growing movement.

Fifty-nine speakers addressed tough but vital topics ranging from parenting, marriage, sexuality, and divorce prevention to the importance of truth, and strategies for developing kids (and adults) with a Christian worldview. The messages were thought provoking, challenging, and sometimes painful:

  • David Platt, author of the bestselling book Radical, confessed to being “over his head” as a writer, pastor, and father but went on to remind listeners that in light of lost millions, Christians must embrace tasks larger than they can handle themselves.

  • Veteran Youth Pastor Doug Fields challenged church leaders to stop “making suggestions from the pulpit we aren’t living out at home.”

  • Author Dannah Gresh challenged parents to avoid traps set by an over-sexualized culture and “simply let kids be kids.”

  • Mark Holmen, pioneer of the Faith at Home movement, asked, “How do we keep the D6 movement going when our culture is always ready for the next big thing?”

  • Texas Pastor Voddie Baucham explored God’s purpose for marriage and emphasized the importance of male headship in the home.

  • Free Will Baptist Bible College Professor Garnett Reid encouraged his listeners that God is faithful (hesed in Hebrew) to us, and he reminded parents that their own day-in and day-out faithfulness to God is the best heritage they can leave to their children and grandchildren.


Steven Curtis Chapman

Photo: Steven Curtis Chapman shares his story in song.

When Randall House Director Ron Hunter stepped to the stage on Thursday evening, he challenged parents to leave the beach, to get beyond splashing in the shallows, and to dive into the deep and dangerous waters of discipleship where you ask kids tough questions that address their needs, desires, and beliefs. “It is when we are willing to risk conflict in communication with our children,” he said, “that the overlap between their questions and our response provides our most valuable opportunity for influence. Don’t miss that chance by playing it safe.”

Will conference attendees rise to these and other challenges presented to them at the 2011 D6 Conference? Will they take their families deeper into discipleship? Will they ask the tough questions? Will they guide their children through the murky waters of a culture seeking to destroy them? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain. After this conference, they know it’s time to get out of the boat!


About the writer: Eric K. Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine and Victoria’s dad. Pray that God will help him get out of the boat.



©2012 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists