The life I enjoy today started when I was young. I was reared in a Christian home and chose to marry a preacher when I was seventeen years of age. On many occasions I have had the privilege to teach teen girls. I always tell them, “You make the biggest decisions of your life when you are too young to make them.” The decision for me to marry a preacher and live for Christ, though I was young, has been a blessing now for thirty-eight years of marriage. The decision I made to marry a preacher has led me to be the wife of a godly man, a mother of three married children, and seven cute grandchildren. I am thankful for the decision that I made to follow the Lord’s will many years ago.
In the beginning years of ministry, my husband and I chose to make ministry a family affair. It was our desire to teach and train our children to love the ministry so that they would be prepared to serve wherever the Lord may call them. Our children began to understand the ministry because they were actively involved, not sideline observers. All three of our children were bus captains through their teen years. I vividly remember conversations around Sunday lunch being about the kids on the bus.
While going through the building program of our auditorium complex, the kids were with us as we walked through the building, making plans and overseeing the progress. From checking the auditorium on Saturday night to greeting guests on Sunday morning, each aspect of the ministry is of utmost importance when it comes to making ministry a family affair. Yes, it would have been easier many times to leave the kids at home, not including them in the details, but they wouldn’t have seen the inside of the ministry, and developed a love for it from the beginning.
Today our children are married and all serve in fulltime ministry. This is not a bragging statement; but instead a statement made from a grateful and thankful heart. God does not call every child into fulltime ministry, but I’m blessed and thankful that He called our three children to serve Him in this way. Third John four is close to my heart: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
I have included a few ideas that could help you begin to involve your children in the ministry so that they will love serving the Lord alongside you.
1. Entertain a Sunday school class in your home once a month. Include your whole family in cooking and cleaning responsibilities. Assign your children duties such as lighting the candles, entertaining the guests that are their ages, and overseeing small children. Remember to make it fun, not just a task and a check list of duties.
2. Include your children when entertaining evangelists and missionaries. Allow them to feel a part of the conversation around the meal table. The impact that God’s servants have on your children can be life changing. Don’t allow your children to be the center of the conversation. Allow them to be included in the conversation, mostly listening and learning.
3. Listen to suggestions that your children may offer concerning an event at the church. Their insight comes from a different angle and can be quite valuable. On numerous occasions I’ve gleaned good information from our children who are involved at a different age level and understand what is needed.
4. Allow your children to be as normal as possible. Never tell your child that they cannot do something because of who their daddy is. There must be a principle in place. Never make a spectacle out of them. They want and need friends. The glass bowl life is tough so don’t add to the stress of it.
5. Have a close relationship with your spouse as well as your children. The order must be right if the relationship is going to grow. My husband lives by these five priorities, “First I’m a Person, next a Partner, then a Parent, fourthly a Papa, and last I’m a Pastor.” Children don’t want to be involved in a ministry that they know is more important to their dad or mom than their family is.
6. Take your whole family on teen or church-wide activities when it is appropriate. Our children learned to snow ski at a young age because of teen ski trips. There must be a balance with this area. Such things are a benefit but must not interrupt your focus on what the activity is truly about.
7. Pray for your children to do God’s perfect will for their lives. Pray this in private as well as when your children hear you pray. Let them know that nothing would please you more than for them to serve the Lord in whatever field He may call.
8. Teach your children to hear the still small voice of God. They cannot hear God’s voice if they are never still and never quiet. It is one thing to assume you will just do God’s will. It’s another to boldly answer the call and go forward with what God’s plans are for your life.
9. Have family devotions on a daily basis. Remember that you are training even when you do not feel like it or plan to train. Be the same at home as you are at church. This time helps children/teens to be open and honest with their parents. Be in private what you exemplify in public.
10. Serve the Lord happily and with no restraints. The Bible says, in Psalm 100, “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” There is no need to share all of the negatives of the ministry. The positives are too good for the negatives to overtake them.
I am thankful that my children were saved at a young age and have been active in the ministry throughout their lives. I love the ministry, and I have great peace and joy in knowing that our children serve the Lord. I challenge you to make ministry a family affair. You’ll be glad you did!