|Posted by empoweredtomentor on December 5, 2012 at 4:40 PM|
Most pastors who are also parents feel a constant tension between the relentless demands of ministry and the deep desire to spend more time with their children. All too often this tension is not well managed, and stories abound of pastors’ kids who end up estranged from their families, the church, and God.
An interview was conducted with Wendy,a pastor’s daughter, pastor’s mother-in-law and a licensed minister. Here is what she has to say.
My father always knew he was called to the ministry, but he fought that call for many years. He was more interested in making money and advancing his career. My mother also did not want to be a pastor’s wife, so I think in many ways, she held Dad back from doing what he knew he should be doing. We grew up in a strict denominational church that believed strongly in salvation, but not in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Dad always held a leadership position of one kind or another in the church (elder, deacon, etc.). That meant that my sisters and I had to be on our best behavior at all times because the congregation watched us. That wasn’t fun when I was a teenager! I admit that I was a bit rebellious!
My two sisters and I all went to our church’s denominational Bible school after we finished high school. That’s where I met my husband.
Early in our marriage, my husband and I heard about the filling of the Holy Spirit from some friends of my sister’s and this was totally new to us. We wanted it –and we got it! My parents didn’t agree with it at all, though, and they thoughtwe were involved in some kind of cult. But they watched us, read the Word forthemselves, and soon they too were filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s when my Dad finally obeyed God’s call to become a pastor. He was 48 years old. He was ordained and took over a small Spirit-filled church in Regina, Saskatchewan, but he continued to work at his career at the same time. He found much favor with the company he worked for and they encouraged him to pastor his church as well as to keep working for them.
PWN: What are the blessings of having been a pastor’s child?
WENDY: I had a very rich childhood. The Lord was always first in our home. Even when my father became a church leader when I was very young, he always included us in ministry work and we learned how to serve in our church community. That’s something that is so lacking in our churches today. I also had the blessing of watching my parents grow in the Lord – in their faith and in their prayer life. I come from a long line of Christians. We can trace our family lineage back to the early 1700’s and they were all believers, and many were pastors and evangelists. That is a great heritage.
PWN: What are the challenges you faces as a pastor’s child?
WENDY: Becoming a pastor’s child as an adult wasquite an adjustment for me. Although we had always been deeply involved in church work, this was a little different. I think one of the biggest challenges was having to share my parents with the rest of the church. There were many times that family had to be put aside because someone in the church needed to be prayed for or assisted in some other way. Sometimes I admit that I resented the people who were always making demands on my parents. Another thing that was difficult was that some of the church people would try to get favors from my parents by going through me. I felt used sometimes.
I was the worship leader in my Dad’s churches (he pioneered 4 churches) and did that for 25 years. That also created some challenges because Dad and I didn’t always see things the same way. For the most part, we worked very well together but we were both very stubborn and very much alike! In Dad’s later years,I was his ministry assistant and became a licensed minister myself. I treasure the memories of working closely with him during that time.
PWN: Do you have any regrets for being a pastor’s child?
WENDY: No. Not at all.
PWN: Is there anything you think your parents should have done better to make it more enjoyable for you?
WENDY: For me personally, no. But I know that my daughter and son-in-law have made it a priority to see to their family’s needs before the church’s. I am glad for that. We have seen too many pastors lose their children to the world because they always put the church first over their family life. My sister and brother-in-law, who are the senior pastors are great examples. They have four children who are now grown up, and all four of them are serving in the church with their spouses. They always purposed to set aside regular family time and they stuck to it, even when as the church grew and placed more demands on them. A child should never feel as though their parents’church is more important than their family. And the children need to be included in the ministry.
PWN: Can you share what your parents did to make the process an enjoyable one?
WENDY: They included us. They shared the ministry with us. They asked us our opinions, even when we were young. We always felt like it was “our” ministry, and not just Dad’s.
PWN: What advice do you have for pastors with respect to their children?
WENDY: Make your children a part of the ministry. Teach them how to serve God’s people. Make family times special –something to look forward to – and have those times be just your family and noone else. Kids need to know that there are times when they have mommy and daddy all to themselves. Make sure they know that you are doing what God has called you to do and that He also has something for them to do with their lives. And don’t pressure kids into feeling like they have to be pastors when they growup. God may have something else for them. Make sure they don’t grow up feeling like the church is more important to you than they are. Your kids’ needs come before the church’s. And when you have to leave the kids in someone else’s care, be sure that it is someone godly and trustworthy – even if it is someone from your church. I’m sure you know that there are a lot of questionable people in churches these days. Above all, make sure those kids know you and your husband love each other, that you love them and are praying for them.
My Father went home to Heaven in 2007,only four months after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 72, and still actively pastoring our church. The last sermon he preached was just a few weeks before he passed away and he talked about faith, about God’s healing power, and having a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ – despite the circumstances around you. His faith never wavered, even when he knew he’d be going Home soon!
Written by Wendy in conjunction with Blessing Ude.
Categories: Wisdom from other pastors wives