Krista Smith is a volunteer at River of Life Evangelical Church in Elk River Minnesota. She is the Care Group Ministry Director and along with her husband, Jon, they led a DivorceCare group for 8 years and more recently a Step Family group the last 4 years. They are also currently doing Premarital Coaching for couples who are remarrying and blending families. Jon & Krista reside in Big Lake Minnesota and Krista has been a busy mother of 4 teenagers, 2 biological and 2 step children, who are one by one leaving the nest. She is also employed in her family's manufacturing business for the last 26 years. “The Big D” is a stirring of my own personal journey with my own children and comes from a passion to give teens the tools to be able to break the cycle with their own choices.
“I will never forget when my mom came into my room and told me that dad was moving out. I knew they had not been getting along but I never thought he would actually leave. What do I say to my friends?”
“Every day I come home from school and get reminded that my parents are split up I become sick to my stomach. Sometimes I purposely plan things after school just so I don’t have to come home and be reminded of it.” Do you know teens with these questions? Are you left wondering how you can help them?
Divorce changes families but it does not have to destroy them. The Big D offers hope and help to teens and their families. Their parents divorce does not have to define their future. Teens can learn how to process their feelings and hurts and find themselves emotionally healthier.
The Big D is designed to lead teens through the journey of recovery and find hope in the midst of this tragedy. It is filled with many practical high energy activities and hands on tools to help teens process their feelings. The curriculum includes a Biblically based Leaders Guide and an interactive Student Workbook for each attendee. There is also an Activity Guide filled with additional topic related activities to keep your teens engaged. Whether they are currently in the chaos of their situation or it has been years and are living in a blended family, this program is guaranteed to change their lives. We need to reach teens now before they carry these hurts and confusion into their future relationships. It is time to STOP the cycle NOW. We pray you join us in this journey.
Questions About How the Big D Started
1. When did you develop The Big D?
The Big D was first developed out of my home and was printed and assembled by myself in 2007. In 2010 I did a revision and took it to Selah Publishing and they now print my material.
2. How was The Big D developed? Who was involved? What was the process of developing it? Who reviewed it?
The Big D was developed out of my own personal experiences with my own 4 teenagers. I was divorced and a single mom of 2, ages 4 and 6, in 1994. In 1999 I remarried and became a step mom to 2 other children, ages 4 and 7. As we began blending our family and as our children entered the preteen and teenage years I began to notice there was a lot of past hurts and pain that needed to be dealt with in order for them to have happy and successful relationships in their futures. So I began to run a weekend Big D program at our local church. I did this for 3 years when my husband, Jon, encouraged me to make it available to other churches. So I began the long and hard process.
3. Why did you develop The Big D? What were your goals in developing The Big D?
I developed it as a tool to help other teenagers who have experienced their parents divorce as mine had. I began to realize without them opening up the wounds of hurt and fear they would carry these same feelings into relationships of their own some day. It was the cry of my heart, as it is of many parents, not to have their children have to experience the same pain and disappointment in their lives.
4. What was your experience with Teens and Divorce before developing The Big D?
I am the mom of 4, 2 of my own and 2 step, children. All who have experienced the pain of divorce and the separation of their nuclear families. I also was the Care Ministries Director at our local church for 9 years and the DivorceCare leader for 7 years. This gave me a lot of experience working with other families and teenagers experiencing a variety of pain caused by divorce.
5. Who is The Big D intended for (circumstances, age group, experience, etc.)?
The Big D is specifically designed for preteen and teenaged kids. Their families do not need to be actually “divorced” to understand and go through the same struggles. They could be separated or just living in a single parent home. Or their nuclear family could have been divorced years previously and currently living in a blended family. The topics include single parent homes and blended family homes.
6. How does The Big D work? What does a typical session/week look like? What resources are provided?
The Big D curriculum kit included a detailed step by step Leaders Guide which outlines everything you would need to know to prepare and run each night. The curriculum is full of activities to keep the teens engaged and connected. The curriculum also included a DVD of video clips of other teenagers sharing their experiences to help your teens relate and connect with others going through the same situations. You will also get an Activity Guide jammed full with additional activities that have a twist to encourage your teens to open up and start to share their feelings and personal thoughts and fears. The kit comes in a blue tote bag with additional tools on how to run a successful group.
7. Why does The Big D work?
The Big D works primarily because it is not just a place where teens can come and learn but the curriculum causes them to engage in their healing journey and be able to personalize it for themselves and their individual circumstances.
8. Please explain the importance of God, the Cross and Scripture to The Big D? How are they incorporated into the program?
The Big D is all based on scripture and includes stories from the Bible. It is clearly communicated through the program that compete healing can only come through allowing Christ to take the pain as you discover forgiveness through your healing journey. Forgiveness does not mean that they do not continue to have to deal with things, but it frees them from the weight of bitterness. The entire curriculum is Biblically based, there are weekly scriptures and goals that include spiritual healing. There are three specific weeks that deal with their self identity being based on who they are in Christ, where is God when it hurts and how Christ is the only source who can provide real healing.
9. How many different churches/organizations use The Big D?
The Big D is worldwide with groups in S. Africa and Canada as well as over 300 throughout the United States. It is also being done through counseling centers and secular youth organizations and schools.
10. What does a church/organization need in terms of resources (including volunteers) in order to offer The Big D? What ongoing support is available to those who purchase the program?
I would suggest one lead facilitator for each week so the teens become comfortable with the leader and develops a trust and connection with them. Then I would suggest at least one other helper and more if you have 6 or more teens. The helpers need to keep the teens focus on the lesson and eliminate side conversations or distractions during the group.
11. What is the cost of The Big D?
In order to run a group the one time cost for the kit is 169.95. This includes all the material to successfully do the program. Each teen would need their own Student Workbook which is 14.95. Additional Leaders Guides are 24.95 a piece. The Big D also comes in a shortened format which would be designed for a Friday night through Saturday time frame. It is a separate curriculum that includes all different material but in a condensed version. This kit cost 119.95 with the student workbooks costing 9.95 each.
12. How can people purchase or find out more information about The Big D?
You can find out more information about The Big D on its website at www.sonsetpointministires.com or at www.thebiginfo.com . Or you are always free to give me a call and order it directly through me via phone or email. I will get your order out within one or two days and you can either pay via credit card or I can send an invoice with the shipment.
13. What training is available to leaders of The Big D?
At this time there is no official training available for The Big D. But the Leaders Guides are very thorough in guiding you through each weeks lesson. I can also send you contact information for others who have done the program so they can help answer specific questions that you may have.
14. In a few words, please explain how you would answer the question, “Why should we offer The Big D at my church?”
As divorce rates rise we have a crisis on our hands for our future generations. Unless we help these teens deal with the pain and loss of their families and give them hope for their futures the chances of them following the same paths is eminent. We need to step up and put a stop to these broken families before its too late.