In our Spring email, Tamra Barbieri reminds us to raise awareness of how ministry impacts our children and check in with them about how they feel and process the ministry life. So, I asked our adult kids, "As a pastor's kid, what are the pros and cons for you?"
- Great opportunities to develop spiritual gifts, EQ, and relate to many demographics and ages
- A strong sense of meaning, faith, spiritual life, and discipleship
- Clear understanding of community from the encouragement, respect, and supportiveness of the congregation.
- Expectations for perfection to be a role model who is applying all your father's preaching
- If you make a mistake, you can feel like you let people down and affect your parents' ministry
- A struggle to know what is 'your faith' versus the culture instilled in you
These pros and cons surface in my discussions with ministry wives. One of the greatest blessings of raising children in the pastorate is the congregation's support and encouragement of their family with meaningful relationships and opportunities. At the same time, one of the most significant challenges as parents is the congregation's expectation of their children and parenting.
As in every aspect of our lives, we need to listen to the Lord's expectations of us first. Easier said than done! I Timothy 3 provides the guidelines and expectations of the pastor toward his family. "He must manage his own family well and see his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of respect." We sought the Lord on what 'manage well' meant for our family in the various stages of their growth. Manage does not mean 'perfect kids.' It means hands-on attentiveness to the needs of each child while taking responsibility for the issues that develop. Paul provides the parallel in verse 5, "to manage and care for the church." Both are works in progress that call for attentiveness, developing effective strategies, and recognizing that our children and congregations will not always cooperate. Our call is to lead and apply Scriptural principles useful for "teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." (II Tim.3:16)
As we feel the heavy pressure of parental responsibility, Hebrews 12:2 AMP encourages us as we weather the challenging days. "Let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, (looking away from all that will distract us) focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith," our children, and congregation. He is the only one who brings our faith and children to maturity. Oh, Divine Author, we long to be part of a story that brings glory to You and Your kingdom. So we surrender all into Your Mighty Hands!
Our Ministry and Family prayer verses:
Psalms 102:28 NIV "The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you."
Hebrews 12:2 AMP "Let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, focusing your eyes on Jesus, the Author, and perfecter of faith."