When You Call the Pastor, Dad (Part 3)

Since a young age, I have been playing various sports. It was something I enjoyed doing and over time developed into a descent athlete. As a PK, my parents (and especially my father) were very busy with ‘church stuff’. If you’re a PK, you’ll understand this: meetings, services, weddings, funerals. It really is a busy schedule, which can create conflicts for a busy sports schedule.

Maybe you’ve been there:
It’s gameday and you’re so excited for your dad to come and watch you play. You almost can’t contain the anticipation of seeing your father in the stands cheering you on. As the game begins you sneak a glance to the bleachers…as you look back and forth quickly you don’t see him. You think, “Oh well, I’m sure he’ll show up soon.” By the end of the game, you’re exhausted and pretty disappointed. It was a good game, but no dad. As you walk to the parking lot, you see a church board member pulling in and motioning for you to get into their car. You find out your dad had a meeting that he had forgotten about. Although you nod your head in understanding, deep inside you feel ignored and neglected.

As sad as that story might be, it is true for many PK’s. The ministry becomes the priority over a pastor’s family. I am very fortunate that this story is not my story. Throughout the numerous sports seasons, one constant I had (besides my good looks and sweet skills) was at least one of my parents being in the stands cheering me on. And not just cheering, but they were always there after the game to encourage me when I was down and celebrate with me when I did well.

I can’t tell you the impact this one, little thing has had on my life. The fact that I knew I could look up in the middle of a game, even away games, and know one of my parents would be there beaming with pride for their son meant so much. It gave me confidence but also affirmed the hard work I had put in to be good at that particular sport. Although my father was very busy, there was never a question whether my father’s ministry took a priority over myself, my sister, or my mother. Ministry was, and is, very important to our family…it’s our passion, but it was not our highest priority.

The Lesson I’ve Learned: Although we are called by God into ministry, we are first placed by God into a family…to be true to your call, you must put a priority on your family.

[By the way, my favorite sports moment growing up was winning a bet with my dad in a Rec. Soccer Game by scoring 3 goals in one game…he paid up and bought me my favorite meal, 3 tacos from Taco Bell!]

When You Call the Pastor, Dad (Part 2)

Ministry is often viewed through different lenses. Some view it as a burden, others as a calling, and still others as a frustration. My parents, and especially my mother, helped my sister and I view ministry as a joy. Although there were difficult moments, they really helped us both view the positive in every situation.

One example is when we had to move. There were a few occasions where our family transitioned from one church to another, and as a child (and especially a child that loves routine), it was incredibly difficult to leave my friends and what was familiar. I remember my mom on a couple of occasions reminding me that it would be an opportunity to make new friends and see new places. Rather then being a downer or pessimist, this helped me focus my attention on the positive.

My parents would always be trying to keep the joy of ministry forefront. Sure there were difficult moments, but there is something about choosing to focus on the positive of life and not dwell on the negative. Whether it was around the dinner table or on the way home from church, my parents strived to keep joy as the priority. Because of this joy, our family was happier and I saw my dad push through some difficult situations in our church without becoming overcome with bitterness or regret. This increased my father’s longevity at the church I grew up in, which also improved his effectiveness as a minister.

The lesson I’ve learned: My ability to find joy in ministry will determine the length and depth of my impact.

If you’re a PK, what lessons have you learned from your parents?

When You Call the Pastor, Dad (Part 1)

If you would have attended Calvary Temple Assembly of God 20 years ago you would have experienced a number of things:  You would have encountered loving people worshiping God;  a strong, biblical message; and as you left the service you would have met a loving pastor that genuinely cared for those that attended his church.  As you were conversing with this pastor, you probably would have noticed something else…his son mistaking the sanctuary for a greyhound sprint track, chasing his sister who was the mistaken “stuffed rabbit”. If that were you, you would have then heard a respectful, yet firm female voice yelling something to the effect of, “Nicholas, you get back here right now!  Quit chasing your sister!!”

Yes, I was that boy. I know it may be hard to believe, but I was a bit mischievous as a child.  I’ve grown out of that now : ) so you don’t need to worry.  Growing up as a pastor’s kid (PK), was a joy, struggle and incredible classroom of ministry all at once.  Over the next few days, I’d like to share some of the things I learned as a PK and am now striving to include in my own ministry.

For my first lesson learned, I’ll be brief.  I learned that ministry is not just a mask or front you put on for Sunday services, it should flow out of a passion for God.  I remember seeing my parents frustrated and overjoyed at church and at home.  They weren’t fake.  They didn’t wear their emotions on their sleeve, but there was always a healthy level of reality to their emotions.  Lesson Learned:  Ministry isn’t something you do, it’s who you are.

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