When my wife and I married over 15 years ago we had no idea what parenting entailed. We said we wanted as many kids as the Lord would give us, then we had our first child. Everything changed! We were barely sure we wanted two children at that point. Fifteen years later, we ended up with four kids and together moved across the country to start a church. There are a lot of lessons we’ve learned over the years about church planting but just as many lessons are being learned about parenting in ministry. Here are a few of them.
You can’t be a perfect parent but you can be a praying parent.
We’ve made our share of mistakes in parenting our kids through the years. I would say there is one thing we’ve gotten right—praying for our kids. Our kids see it as such a big part of our family that most days they refuse to go to bed until we pray together. You will never be perfect, but you can pray. Pray for them. Pray with them. Do it everyday. This alone can change so much in your family.
Celebrate what God is doing with your children.
Don’t miss the opportunities to celebrate with your children what God is doing through your church or ministry. You are around it all the time so it can be easy to get lost in it. Don’t forget to share the wins and the great things God is doing with your children.
God hasn’t just called you. He called your kids, too.
God has called your family not just you to make a difference in ministry. God doesn’t give your kids a junior Holy Spirit. Teach them what it looks like to hear His voice and calling. Don’t get so busy equipping people to serve in your ministry that you forget to equip your kids to make a difference. Talk with them about their passions and gifting. Share with them how they can make a difference from a young age. Speak it over them like a prophet who happens to be a parent too.
Create the right culture and attitude your children have toward ministry.
They don’t “have to” but they “get to” serve Jesus through His church, go on mission trips, and build God’s church together as a family. Church and family don’t have to be a competition. It is a privilege as a family to build God’s church together. We have good intentions to protect our kids. Don’t let those same good intentions keep your kids from the very thing God wants to use to build His work through them.
You will always be a parent but you won’t always be a pastor.
It’s a healthy reality check and a great reminder. The greatest thing you do may not be what you do, but who you raise. Never forget your greatest calling isn’t reaching the world but reaching your kids. Do life with them. Serve Jesus together. Coach their ball teams. Be a mom or dad. Be present and give them your undivided attention when they ask you a question. Pastor your church. Parent your children. They are both an incredible privilege!