A few weeks ago I was invited to preach to a church near Talladega, AL.  Our six year old, Kiley, is a vocal child.  The pastor and music minister led worship.  Kiley provided the commentary.  Most people are built with the ability to change volumes.  Most mommas call this, “Using your inside voice.”  Kiley was not born with this ability.  She has no inside voice. 

Kiley is very comical.  She is inquisitive and honest.  A child with no vocal, intellectual, or social filters in a small church can be very exciting.  As my wife sang Kiley freely commented on how beautiful her momma is and how great she sings.  Kiley wanted to know why the pastor has so much to say.  She wanted to know why certain people pray so long.  She wanted a theological explanation for hymnals.  She wanted me to read her the entire Book of Isaiah.  Yet nothing she vocalized previously compared with the confession she would later make during a testimony.  A wonderful lady in our church, Tresa, was there to share her testimony.  In telling the story of her conversion, Tresa recounted how she had always attended church but had never been truly saved.  When Teresa said, with microphone in hand, “I realized I was not saved”, Kiley confessed, with no microphone needed, “Well, I’m not either.” 

While Kiley’s soteriology is another story, rest assured, salvation is a constant teaching in our home.  She does believe Jesus is her savior, but at this point she equates the language of “being saved” with fulfilling some formal process of the church.  Unfortunately, so do many adults.  I’m not sure Kiley believes she has ever sinned.  At the very least I would observe that to her sin is no big deal.  Unfortunately many adults also share this view. 

I pastor our church.  I am also just a dad.  Within our church, my daughters have many teachers who influence their lives.  A critical concern for pastor/dads is whether others will help lead our children to Christ?  I have baptized a few hundred people in 14 years of ministry.  In 2006 I baptized my eldest daughter.  It was a wonderful moment for a pastor/dad.  It was also a grand testimony of our church and its devotion to the gospel.

I taught her in our home, but God used the people of our church to also lead her to Christ.  Like every other parent we have carried diaper bags and handed off our babies to the loving arms of the nursery.  Like every other parent on Sunday afternoons, the backseat of our car is a treasure trove of glued and glittered crafts.  I am a part of the meetings in which we hammer out the final ministry budgets for the year, but my daughters experience VBS just like any other kid.  The pastorate is a leadership ministry of shepherding, but it is also a relationship of trust.  I may preach on Sundays, but who will teach my babies?  Will the church I pastor minister to my own family?  Will my sheep help lead my children to Jesus?

Many pastor’s children unfortunately witness their fathers being devoured by wolves.  This crisis of the church is all too common and the result is many pastor’s kids turn away from the church.  In this respect I greatly appreciate my church.  You are a caring and nurturing family of souls that genuinely care about my children and help me lead them to Jesus.  I appreciate every teacher along the way, the nursery care they once received, every deacon who has prayed for them, and every person of the congregation who has helped create such a positive environment for family growth.  As a pastor/dad I am greatly indebted to all of you.    


Anonymous said…
As a parent, I was so grateful for the nursery, preschool, youth workers who were so faithful to teach my daughter as she moved through each age category. As a grandmother in a world that seems more evil than ever, I am even more aware of how important our workers in church are as they have the children in their care. How grateful I am that they take time to teach our grandchildren about the Lord and lead them toward receiving Christ as their Saviour. I can hardly wait for the day when each grandchild gives his/her life to the Lord and pray that I am here to see them baptized and actively serving Christ. In the meantime, I am praying for more folks to see the need to become a part of this harvest.

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