Long to beat the odds and raise kids who harbor no resentment toward the church? Parents in ministry must instill the following principle in their homes: Family life will always revolve around God, but not always around the church. Below is a four-point plan to carry out this philosophy.
Leave work at the office.
Pastors' families need time off from church for normal family activities. This sends PKs the message that life is about God whether we're at church, at home or on vacation.
Not because of the job description.
Explain to your children why you emphasize biblical practices. For instance, on our way to church, I often say, "You know, even if your daddy wasn't the pastor, we'd be going to church because God wants us to." When we enforce boundaries, such as why we don't watch certain movies, we remind them their restrictions are based on our love for God, not on their father's job.
The pastor's wife's attitude is a powerful influence. Wives from all walks of life get disgusted with their husbands' jobs. Coaches spend evenings out recruiting new players. Pilots are gone for days at a time. Herein lies the kicker: It's OK if kids turn into adults who dislike basketball or resent flying. It's not OK if our kids turn into adults who resent God because the church took their fathers' first priority. Mom can ease the frustration at home through her choice of words. Mothers play an integral part in keeping resentment at bay by portraying the church as a friend, rather than a controlling foe.
They call him Dad.
If the pastor's focus is on himself or the church, rather than God, he will fail his kids. Efforts by the mother to portray a positive outlook may be in vain if Dad neglects the family. Dad can reveal mutual respect by stepping into his child's world not as Pastor, but simply as Dad, showing that his job is not the only important job in the family.
Of course the best means of ensuring that our kids will not resent being a PK is to go to the One who is more powerful than the best parenting strategies and covers a thousand pastoral, parental mistakes.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.