Church Leaders are passionate people.
It’s more than a job – It’s a lifestyle. I get it.
However, if we aren’t very intentional about how we live our lives as a minister, we’ll allow our calling to negatively impact our kids.
None of it is intentional, but it can still happen nonetheless.
Being transparent here…
I can remember times where I didn’t balance my time properly.
I can remember times when I had unrealistic expectations.
I can remember times when I held them to impossible standards.
Maybe you can too.
God called us to be great parents, no doubt about that. But in the ministry world, we can feel a man-made pressure to hold our kids to unrealistic expectations. We can even associate our value as a church leader with how perfect our kids are.
But God simply wants us to be great parents, and not put our kids under any undue pressure.
Simply being a great parent.
This article isn’t meant to beat us up. It’s meant to challenge us to serve and protect our families first, which is our highest calling.
Our good friend Ron Edmondson wrote an article with 7 great suggestions:
1. Level the Expectations
Hold your children to Biblical standards. Train them well. Discipline appropriately.
Hopefully you teach it – and you should parent what you teach.
But don’t be surprised when your children aren’t perfect. They aren’t anymore than you are – or anyone else’s children.
2. Let them be KIDS
Don’t expect them to care as much about ministry as you do when they are – SEVEN or even seventeen.
They might. Mine did to a certain extent – on certain days. And then other days they just wanted to shoot basketballs in the church gym while I went on church visitation.
3. Live what you Preach
If you want them to appreciate the ministry, let them see you, the pastor, as authentic.
Authenticity means you are in private who you claim to be in public. And chances are good they are observing both.
They’ll respect you when you are equally transparent and honest with how you live your life on Sundays and through the week. And the more they respect you – the more they can respect the ministry.
Remember, their primary concept of ministry is you.
4. Protect your time at Home
When you are home – be home. This is HUGE!
Let voicemail and email inbox do their thing. Put down the computer. Say no to outside interruptions. There will always be exceptions in the role of a pastor, but they should be rare, not common place.
The children need to know you value your time with your spouse and them even more than your time with others.
5. Be their Parent more than their Pastor
You may be their pastor, but first they need a parent.
I actually found others on staff, or even pastor friends in other churches, were sometimes better at being their pastor anyway.
No one could replace my role as parent.
6. Give them roles as they desire
My boys helped launch a youth group. They led at camps. They worked with children and preschoolers.
But I never forced it. I let them serve where they wanted to serve.
Interestingly, when the idea was theirs, they seemed more likely to want to be involved.
7. Let them do ministry with you
My boys went to committee meetings. Staff meetings. Visitations. I took my boys on mission trips.
Unless it was a highly confidential meeting for the parties involved, I gave them access to my calendar.
They got to appreciate what I do as a pastor – not resent it because I wasn’t home.
Again, this was voluntary not mandatory.
(You can check out more from Ron at ronedmondson.com)