WHY IS IT SO COMPLICATED?
It’s no accident that God gave you your specific kids. And it’s not an accident that they are in a ministry family. He was intentional about calling you, your marriage, and your family. And because of that, He’s equipped each of you to fill a space in your family and in the ministry He’s called you to that only you can fill.
This all might be hard to swallow. Probably because raising a family in ministry is so stinking complicated. There are so many questions:
- How do I help my kids see the church as something good, not just something that takes Dad (and Mom) away all the time?
- How do I help my kids find their own space in the church, where they can discover their own gifting and not just be “the Pastors’ Kids”?
- When they are Littles, when do they need to learn to serve even when they are tired and when do I just take them home and put them to bed?
- If they go through a stage of disliking church, should we make them go?
- Is it OK for people in the congregation to have higher expectations of our kids?
- How about if our kids rebel and decide they don’t want to follow Jesus? Or don’t want to be a part of His Church?
- Are there ways we can create space for us to have healthy conversations about being in ministry when the waters are calm? So that we can have good language and space for when they get hard?
- How do we navigate our own feelings when someone at church hurts us? Do we shield our kids?
- When someone hurts one of us, how do I help my family not generalize it to “the church”.
- How do I help our kids see the good that comes with having a front row seat to what Jesus is doing?
SOME IDEAS TO HELP
We’ve created two resources that will help with a lot of these questions.
The first is a printable that contains 30+ questions designed to help your family talk about the joys and challenges of being in ministry as a family. There are questions designed specifically for Kids (ages 5-12) and Teens/Young Adults. We’ve also leveled them according to vulnerability so that your kids can choose how deep they are comfortable going. We’ve discovered that having these conversations and creating safe space to talk about these issues makes us able to navigate the hard when it comes. (It is also great training for us to listen to our kids’ feelings and help them work through them, without becoming defensive).
The second is EPISODE 2 of the Alongside Podcast “Raising Kids in a Ministry Family”. Heidi and Coletta dig into most of these questions and will give you some new ways of thinking about them. They don’t have all of the answers, but entering into the discussion with those that are “in the thick of it” is sometimes just what we need to sense the leading of the Spirit in how we need to move forward.