The Most Critical 10 Years Of Your Life

| October 18, 2017

A very special day for father and son..  Pr. Josh Knorr baptizing his eldest child, Caleb.

“We Are All Disciple-Makers.  We Just Do Other Stuff To Pay The Bills.”

James Dobson once said the most critical 10 years of anyone’s life are between the ages of 16 and 26, for it’s then that we typically make life altering decisions on our future – spouse, college, work, hometown, etc.  That’s when we decide if we’ll heed God’s call on our hearts.  Dr. Dobson was right.

From TC Christian to Cedarville University (where I met and married my wife, Syndi) to serving as a Youth Pastor in Indiana, to pursing post-graduate work at Liberty Theological Seminary, to moving to Virginia to work with a church plant team – all of it was an incredible and exciting adventure.  And a huge chunk of it happended in that 10 year period Dr. Dobson described.

Little did we know, God was preparing to bring our family back to my hometown, Traverse City, and launch us into ministry that combined family, work, and my old high school in ways I’d never imagined.

Let’s go back to the beginning at Traverse City Christian School.

Traverse City Christian High School opened in 1995 as I entered 9th grade. At that time, the high school met in an old church at the intersection of Keystone and Hammond Roads.

An early photo of the TC Christian Jazz Ensemble.  Josh is on sax (back, right)

We soon moved to the new facility on Emerson Road, and in 1999 I had the privilege of graduating from Traverse City Christian School – just the third graduating class, and the very first from the new building.

TCCS had a huge impact on my life.  Even though I only attended the school four years, I look back and see how God used those years to shape my life.  TCCS prepared me with strong academics.  The school was small as it was just starting out, but teachers would challenge us to attain greater levels of learning.

The heart of the school was in the foundation we received in the Word.  Bible was not just a class that we had to take.  Instead, it became essential to every area of study.  I learned how God’s Word is vital to science, culture, history and so much more.  I studied worldviews, and saw how they shape the thinking of my generation and the world.

Towards graduation, my class was challenged with 1 Peter 3:15  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

(L- R, Back) Josh Southwell, Grace (Brauer) Blackmer, Shawna (Hyrman) DePeel, Isaiah Kline, Micah Wise, Jenny (Patrick) Weise, Josh Knorr.  (L – R, Front)Janelle (Shev) Wylie, Elysia Niblack, Trish (Pardini) Novak

During the summer leading up to my senior year, I went on a mission trip with my youth group to Mexico.  I experienced the joy of serving Christ during that time, and God spoke to me so clearly, He said, “Nothing else in life will bring you joy like serving me!”  He laid on my heart that I was to go into ministry.  It was for that reason I enrolled at Cedarville University to study Youth Ministry, Christian Education, and Church Music.

After serving as a Youth Pastor in Richmond, IN, my wife, Syndi (whom I met at Cedarville, and whom I married in 2003) and I went back to school at Liberty Theological Seminary in 2007.  There I pursued an MDiv, MRE, and MA in ministry.  Upon graduation, Syndi and I moved to Charlottesville, VA to work with a church plant team to begin a new church from the ground up.  It was an incredible and exciting time for us but little did we know, God was preparing to bring our family back to my hometown, Traverse City.

In 2010, I was asked to lead a church relaunch in the Forest Lakes area with my father, Doug Knorr.  My Dad and Mom (Sally) were part of the small group of parents who envisioned and started TC Christian all those years before. Now here we were in ministry together.  We launched out on Easter of 2011 as LifePoint Bible Church and have seen God work in some pretty incredible ways since that time.

TC Christian has been such a blessing, not only in my life, but now in my family’s as well.

When I moved back to T.C., I knew I would be bi-vocational, working at our family business, Knorr Marketing, managing the broadcast department, and pastoring alongside my father.  It’s been a neat journey for my family, along with some challenges.

We’ve seen co-workers baptized and growing in their walks with Christ.  My time during the week is shared with ministry at the church, leading our discipleship and worship ministry, as well as preaching on occasion.

Josh and Syndi with Caleb, Charis, and Christian

So what does a day in my life look like?  I get the privilege of beginning the day by taking my son, Caleb (3rd grade) and daughter, Charis (Kindergarten), to my old school, Traverse City Christian.  A lot’s changed since my time there. TC Christian now serves Pre-K through 12th grade.  The gym has multiple banners celebrating the various  championships the school has won.  There’s a hot lunch program and many more people are on the campus.  But TC Christian hasn’t forgotten its purpose.  Now, just as when I attended, Jesus is first.  The kids and the staff pray to Him daily.  Everyone meets twice a week for chapel where they praise and worship the Lord.  Once a week the middle and high schoolers meet in gender-specific small groups with a staff member and work through Bible studies.

I love dropping my kids off and seeing many familiar faces, and even having some of my old teachers now teaching my children.  TCCS has been such a blessing, not only in my life, but now in my family’s as well.

Knorr Marketing has opened up opportunities to share my faith in Christ and counsel with others.

Currently, I am working four days a week at Knorr Marketing, managing our broadcast department.  Knorr Marketing is a full-service marketing and advertising agency that works primarily with furniture retailers around the country and in Canada.  My department creates all the radio and TV spots for each client as well as videos for online and social media platforms.  It is certainly a fun and rapid-paced environment, and I enjoy telling my kids that “Daddy watches a lot of TV at work!”

Fridays, evenings and weekends are my time for ministry.  We begin Friday mornings with a small group leader training, as we are focusing on making disciples that make disciples.  I work with and help lead community groups that meet throughout the week, and organize and lead our worship ministry.  I also have the opportunity to preach multiple times throughout the year.

Josh in his business office at Knorr Marketing

Work and ministry are not compartmentalized though.  On many occasions, a coworker might need to talk, or ask for prayer.  Both my dad and I receive phone calls during the day that are ministry related.  We often have lunch meetings and short conversations throughout the day as ministry opportunity presents itself.

I am a disciple-maker/pastor who happens to also work at Knorr Marketing…not the other way around.  We are all called to the same Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.  We are called to be disciple-makers no matter where God has planted you and me.

I’m sure you can agree that, with the busyness of life, it is too easy to miss quality family time.  That has to be intentional for each family, and mine is no different.  We place a great value on our dinner time together, discussing the day, seeing what the kids learned at school, talking about dreams and aspirations, and just plain laughing and having fun together.  Each evening, we have a family altar time, where we learn from God’s Word and pray together – but more than just the evening, it’s with every situation that arises where we can teach our children about the majesty and glory of God (Deut. 6:4-7).

I am so grateful to God for life in Christ, for His plan that He would choose to involve us in reaching the world for Christ, and for my family and community. Syndi and I could not imagine having our children at any other school than TC Christian.  We are so thankful for the teachers and staff who not only love our children well, but also impress God’s Truths into them in an environment of academic excellence.

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