Raising Kids Who Love Ministry
As a lifelong pastors daughter, I have experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of ministry. Sometimes, it led to strong feelings of resentment and I never wanted to touch ministry myself. Obviously, God has a sense of humor though, so my husband and I are pursuing a life of ministry. A topic that has been on my mind as our family grows, is raising my kids to love ministry.
I don’t want to grow old and be surrounded by children who wish we had chosen differently. Or have children who run far away from us and our ministry because we did not handle the responsibility well.
As a Mother who is still raising her little kids to love ministry. I can’t tell you what works. But as a pastors kid who has been there, I would love to share with you the decisions I am making to help my kids love ministry!
1. I will remember that my kids are my most important ministry.
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Most ministers bounce from one place to the next very quickly. A hospital, a funeral, an anniversary party, weddings, and outreach events. You also become good at wearing a ton of hats in ministry. You may find yourself plunging a toilet, changing a diaper, and preaching all in the same day!
The chaos of ministry makes it easy to forget to connect with your family. So my first goal, is to remember my kids are my most important ministry, and treat them that way. Sometimes that might mean saying no to others, so I can say yes to my kids more.
2. I will remember that I can’t do it all alone.
Another trait that I have found to be common in ministry leaders, is a tendency to buy into “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.” This mindset doesn’t just rob your family, it robs the people you are ministering to. So, I will commit to remembering that I can’t do it all alone.
Realistically, this looks like empowering, equipping, and getting out of the way of the people around me who are eager to help do ministry alongside us. Investing into other leaders, instead of just investing into tasks helps prevent family burnout.
3. I will remember my kids are called too.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The great commission is not exclusive to adults. It was left behind as an example for all of us to follow. This means our kids are called to ministry too, and like David in the bible – they are already set apart as children.
So I will commit to honoring the call of God on my children’s lives, and invite them to ministry with us. This may mean different things for each of them, our son loves evangelizing on his own at the park. Our daughter may find that her ministry is through art, or teaching. Whatever it is they are called to do, we are committed to helping them pursue and foster it.
4. I will not allow my kids to be victims of toxic people
If you have not lived your life in ministry, you may be surprised to learn that toxic people are drawn to ministers and their families. Psychologists acknowledge that narcissists are drawn to empathetic people. This holds true in ministry. People who are toxic, seek out easy targets and form relationships that make them feel good about themselves.
The gospel, builds people up and sets them free. The catch is, they have to desire to be set free and grow. Our desires for them, can’t replace their will to stay the same. Sometimes, ministers kids get caught in the crosshairs of toxic people who refuse to change. I don’t know why, maybe it is because they impede unlimited access and control of their parents. But I have seen and experienced firsthand, the abuse of toxic adults.
So I will commit to be as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. So I can create a healthy distance between the toxic people who need help, and my children who need protection!
As we live and learn, I am confident more opportunities will arise to find ways to protect our children and help them guard their hearts towards ministry. These four commitments are a great start for any family in ministry, raising children to love the work!
What lessons have you learned as a family in ministry? Share in the comments below!