Family Supporting Family
Growing up in the household of a small town pastor has its benefits. It also has its difficulties. When I think back, the amount of time I spent at church could have been a full time job in itself. I knew every nook, cranny, and corner of those buildings, and I probably knew the contents of the storage closets better than the maintenance guy(s). I was there for nearly every function whether or not it included me, and was involved in every function that could possibly include me.
However, while there are far worse places that I could have been than at church, in many ways I struggled with feeling as if I was just along for the ride. Like any boy seeking to understand who he is and what God has for him, there were a lot of questions that I wanted to ask my dad. I soon realized that most of them had to be strategically timed.
Like any job there can be a tendency to lean heavily on the work side of the home/work balance, but unlike “any job,” for a pastor there is a compassion and a connection for the work, as well as an unmatched heaviness when something is seemingly wrong with the work. This is often the dilemma in the household of a pastor, when the children understand the gravity of dad’s work, they can put their personal needs in the back seat. This reality, however, does not change the needs or God’s intention for the family.
A pastor’s family can be his greatest support system. That family includes you! This is why I thought it would be good for us to focus our attention and our prayers on our pastors’ families, and in particular their children, during this final week of Pastor Appreciation Month. In fact, Daniel Henderson thought it was such a good idea, he asked me to write it!
A pastor’s family can be his greatest support system. That family includes you!
The Bible has much to say about God’s priorities in family relationships. These are the priorities for your pastor’s family, as much as they are for yours:
- “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” Ephesians 5:25
- “Wives submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22
- “You shall teach [His commands] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:7
- “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
- “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:11 (this one’s written in stone!)
- “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20
While many pastors would tell you that the order of their priorities should be God, wife, children, then ministry… this priority list is often a target that the enemy strategically attacks. Of course when we know the enemy’s strategy we can call in reinforcements.
While many pastors would tell you that the order of their priorities should be God, wife, children, then ministry… this priority list is often a target that the enemy strategically attacks.
FAMILY SUPPORTING FAMILY
This week, let’s be our pastor’s church family, supporting his immediate family: his wife, his children, and, if relevant, his grandchildren. All of these people benefit from a healthy pastor, and he benefits from a healthy family. Here are some support suggestions:
Pray – Let the above Scriptures be fuel for your prayers. Lift each individual up, by name, and pray the will of God as revealed in these verses. At the same time, while you are praying for his family, let these same Scriptures remind you that this is God’s intention for all families. Healthy families are the building blocks of a healthy church. This is what God wants, and praying what God wants is the prayer that God loves to answer!
Healthy families are the building blocks of a healthy church. This is what God wants, and praying what God wants is the prayer that God loves to answer!
Communicate – Commend and encourage your pastor’s children in their obedience and their example to others. Imagine the pride that his children will feel when you tell them how much respect you have for their father, and that you’ve been praying for their relationship with him.
Give – How can you help provide family time for your pastor? A few tickets to the symphony, a local sporting event, or a monster truck rally (how well do you know them)? If you have the resources, could you offer your cabin, your boat, your frequent flyer miles, simply to show the whole family that you love them?
Protect – Pastor’s kids often come under unneeded scrutiny simply because of their name. You have the ability to protect your pastor and their family by letting “no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear,” Ephesians 4:29.
Serve – Where do you serve in your church? Does your service lighten the load and bless the heart of your pastor? His wife? His kids? Is there more you could do? Taking on a time-consuming task for him can free him up to be with his kids.
Discern – Just because they are “the pastor’s kids” doesn’t mean that they will always appear perfectly functional; sometimes it may even seem that they are dysfunctional. Manage your expectations of what a pastor’s kids should look like, and let any concerns be dealt with in prayer to the One who knows every detail.
AS FOR ME
The best part of growing up in a pastor’s household was that I grew to love the Church and those who serve the body of Christ! It was indeed these people that gave me some of the greatest encouragement I received as a kid. And as far as my youthful questions were concerned, well, the beauty of my dad being a pastor was that his answers to my large life questions were saturated in truth and truly satisfying. It was like a good math teacher when a child actually asks for help.
Grace and encouragement are beautiful words to all of us. Use them in word and in thought and in action with your pastor’s family this week!
Grace and encouragement are beautiful words to all of us. Use them in word and in thought and in action with your pastor’s family!
Copyright © 2021 Ricky Cassford. All rights reserved.