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Showing posts with label pastors kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pastors kids. Show all posts

06 March

When the Calling and the Children Collide

We’re moving again. The kids will have new schools again. We’ll get to know new neighbors and new local shops again. How can this be good for my children? Kids need stability and routine, and we’re about to toss them in the air. Again.

My ministry responsibilities pull me away when they’re at home. What about my responsibilities as a parent, my calling to be a mom? What if they need me while I’m out counseling someone else?

They don’t know the Bible stories and the Sunday School songs other children know. They have no consistent Godly influences in their lives except my husband and me. I have to teach them everything they need to know about the Bible, God, faith, and Jesus! How can I possibly do that? (This was while we lived overseas.)

Does any of this sound familiar? I’ve thought…okay, said...all these things over the years.

The calling to be a minister isn’t an individual proposition. If your husband is called into church leadership or some other kind of ministry, his family is called as well. Chances are, you too are called, and no matter what, you want to stand alongside your husband in ministry. There’s seminary to consider for one or both of you, as well as possible cross-country moves and the inevitable odd demands of life in ministry: late-night visits, working while others relax, preparation for the next meeting. It takes a toll on your family life…on your children.

In fact, some of those ministry decisions appear detrimental to our children’s development. They go against conventional parenting wisdom. But here’s what I want you to know:

God loves your children more than you love them.

God not only wants the best for your children, but He is actively pursuing it. He knows their future occupations and experiences. He knows what they need right now to move toward their own callings. He smiles on children, loves them, protects them. Even on the days when you should have stayed home but you put the ministry ahead of your own family, He filled in your gaps.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:6-7

If He has called you far away from family and friends, He will take care of you. If the lean years of seminary mean you can’t afford a Christmas tree, He will sustain you. If your kids don’t get to go to Sunday School for all their elementary years, He will open their minds to His Word in other ways.

He did all that for us—and more. I’m counting on Him to continue, too, because we’re planning to move. Again.
Question for reflection: Do you feel the pull of differing responsibilities? Do you sometimes feel the clash between your calling to be a parent and to minister outside your home? How can you cast all that anxiety on Jesus because he cares for you…and your children?

Need more? Check out this post on my blog: When Guilt Grounds Me.

About the Author:

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her blog, http://notaboutme1151.wordpress.comor on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

13 September

FOMO for PKs in Small Churches

I want the best for my kids. We all do. It’s part of being a mother.

When God called us overseas, we had to forsake a loving nursery where every worker had a background check, followed by a well-structured, modern children’s program, and culminating in a large, energetic youth group. Without these, I was anxious about the spiritual education of my children.

·         Who would teach them the Bible stories?
·         Would they be “normal kids” without pizza parties and emphasis weekends?
·         How would they learn how to battle PEER PRESSURE?!?
·         What if they never learned “Jesus Loves Me”?!?!? (I was happy to avoid “Father Abraham,” because that song just drives me crazy.)

Maybe you’re in the same position. Maybe you live in a place with no churches or you serve in a small church with no “quality” programs for families. Maybe your FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has kicked in, too, and you think God might be short-changing your children for the sake of the unreached people around you.

I did.

One day, I was almost crying as I walked through the narrow streets of our city, torn by my conflicting responsibilities, when the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks. Literally; I stopped walking and may have stopped breathing for a second there. In prayer, I realized something I should have known all along: God loved my children just as much as He loved the lost person I was going to visit. He was equally interested in the spiritual development of my children and my lost friend. Sure, I knew it intellectually, but this fact hit me at a heart level. I knew His purposes in bringing us to this far-away place included my children. I knew their souls were not sacrificed on the altar of service.

Over the next few months, I began to notice the depth of their spiritual understanding. I taught them “Jesus Loves Me,” but they loved and trusted the Bible at a deeper level than that. They prayed incredible prayers, and they spoke of faith issues with confidence.

Another mom in church planting felt the same way. She watched her children learn how to pray for lost people. She saw their faith deepen from sitting in small groups with adults because there were no children’s programs. She, too, is glad for the lack.

There are many great things happening in larger churches with children’s programs and youth groups, but don’t bemoan your church’s lack of such things. Don’t think your children are missing out because your church plant, small church, or house church lacks programs for kids. God will place people and events in your children’s lives that strengthen and expand their faith in unique ways. He loves them just as much as He loves the people you’re trying to reach with the gospel.

And as far as I know, my kids still haven’t learned “Father Abraham.” Whew!

Question for Reflection: Are you anxious about some aspect of parenting because of ministry? Relax into God’s faithfulness and watch Him mold your children for good in that exact area.

About the Author:

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her blog, http://notaboutme1151.wordpress.comor on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

06 March

Raising Healthy PK's

"Some of the worst kids in the church are PKs".  I couldn't believe my ears as my girlfriend cavalierly vented those words.
I glanced down at my latte as she continued to drone on and on about her church's children church - and the PKs that were making her life miserable every single Sunday.   I was hoping the subject would change, but it didn't.
Looking me straight in my eye, she shook her head and said, "Teri, I just don't understand why pastor's kids are always so ...so...bad".
Waiting for her to read my facial expression and remember my kids are “pastors' children" too, I looked away. She never quite caught on to what I was feeling and I didn't say anything.  Do you want to know why? It was because I sort of agreed with her and nodded my head in agreement; a gesture that felt like betrayal to all the pastors' wives in the universe.
I, too, often wonder why so many pastors’ kids are so “bad”. When you think about it, it really doesn't make sense, does it? Those little buggers actually live with the pastor and his wife, right? They have access to the church's undershepherd 24 hours a day. How could so many of them be such hellions?  Seems some holiness would rub off just by association, right?
Wrong. Wouldn’t it be nice if life were that simple?

What’s with me?
This is oddly personal for me.  Aside from being a mom who happens to be married to a senior pastor, I'm not sure why I take this topic incredibly personal. It's bothered me for years that so many “PKs” struggle with their faith.  I just could never quite understand it. Growing up, I remember being almost jealous of my pastor's children.
"Man", I would think to myself: "I sure wish Elder Cofield was my dad".
My own father was a remarkable parent, but he couldn't preach, tell great jokes and wear a robe on Sundays the way Elder Cofield did. 
The mind of a child, huh?

My theory about PKs.
As you know, our children’s first “love” is us - their parents, right? Even before they can verbalize it, they yearn for us. They crave our attention, praise and time.
With that in mind, what if both parents are consistently consumed by ministry work? What do you think happens? Well, it’s only logical the children would resent the very thing that pulls their parents away.
That family structure (a child's primary nucleus) becomes unreliable and unstable when we don’t nurture personal connections and meaningful relationships with our children.

In my work for a national youth development organization, I’ve learned children tend to “act up” when their core developmental needs are not met. 

How does that relate to us as ministry parents and our children?
If love isn’t provided for kids at home, they seek it in other ways. They may elect to trust someone [completely opposite] of their parents to supply the love they don’t' perceive they are getting from home.
If a sense of belonging isn’t provided for them; they search for it outside the home. The crowd they create to satisfy this need may not be a safe or healthy one.
Finally, if they are not getting the attention they need, be sure of this: they will find outside ways to get it. Young people will ensure their needs are met - either by us, their peer group or from other adults. When we "drop the ball", they find ways to pick it up again. These are not always healthy or desirable ways.

In all fairness, I know each child must, at some point in his life, choose for himself whom he/she will serve - the God of their parents or the world. Please do not think I’m asserting kids choose wrong paths exclusively based on parents' performance. No way!
Still, allow me to be harsh and assert: emotional neglect is neglect -whether it's for the church or not.  Children need stability and attention- plain and simple.  It's our responsibility to supply it. They can never feel that the most important people in their lives don't love and esteem them above all else, right? That means we have to esteem them above the church body’s needs. That means, we must delegate and equip others in the church to meet the needs of the church. It can’t all fall on our shoulders all of the time. We cheat our children when we carry that burden.
Sure, we should serve in the church, but...
I'm not advocating for us to avoid serving in the church. However, "works" should never usurp family commitment to its detriment.
In the end, God will hold us accountable for how we handled these little human beings.  After all, they didn’t ask to be born and definitely didn’t ask to be ministry children. We have to give them the grace we give others and keep their needs paramount.
You know, I honestly believe I will stand before God and be judged - not so much for my work at the church, or for my efforts in the community but for my ministry to my family. Sure, I think He’ll judge me on those other things. However,  I believe how I cared for those closest to me will carry a much heavier weight.  What do you think?  May I never allow the care of others to take preeminence over them. That would make me nothing better than an infidel.
I always say my church will never get a “no” when I’m able to serve.  That means, if I’m needed, I will always do my level best to "show up" and serve the Body of Christ. It also means I'll need to creatively find ways to serve that don't require copious amounts of time away from my children.  It may mean I take a vacation day from work to serve.  It may mean I use my lunch hour for a hospital or nursing home visit.
In the end, I want my children to know they are our priority and that we will supply their needs for love, safety and affirmation. They needn’t look anywhere else.
The next time I hear anyone else slam PKs, I hope to introduce a different perspective and remind them how difficult it can be for children whose parents carry the burdens of souls.

But, you and I, let’s be intentional about keeping our children first, ok? It’s a tough balance for us all as ministry couples; nonetheless, with God’s grace and a little creativity, we’ll manage it. 
About the Author: 

Teri Brooks is a consummate lover of people.  She refers to herself as a “forced extrovert” who loves meeting new people and reflecting God’s love and acceptance.  
She came to know the Lord in 1987 after hearing a sermon preached by her uncle.  Since that day her life has been a journey in God’s faithfulness.  
An innovator at heart, Teri inspires hundreds of women a day on her blogs GodsyGirl.Com, MarriedtoaPastor.com and TeriCBrooks.Com.  She even blogs about getting older on My40somethinglife.com.
 She is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and enjoys working as a training manager for a national nonprofit organization.  Almost twelve years ago, she married a senior pastor of an urban ministry of about three thousand members. Her husband has pastored the church for nineteen years. They have two sons and reside in Missouri.

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