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.