I grew up with parents who were evangelists. What that meant, in the 1960s and ’70s, is that my dad, along with three brothers, traveled as a quartet and held revivals all over the country.
Here’s a clip of them appearing on the old TV show “I’ve Got a Secret”:
My mom and aunts often went with their husbands and sang with them.
My parents are the second couple from the right in this photo:
My husband, Tim, grew up with a father who was a preacher, and both of his parents were singers as well. Our kids were blessed to have so many potential musical genes! Tim’s sweet father was quite a hard worker in ministry, to the point of being a workaholic (as my dad and other men of that generation were, too). Pressure was put on ministers in those days to work all the time and be on call around the clock.
Sadly, some ministry kids grow up resenting the church, and I’d love to help you avoid that situation. I’ve heard my parents say many times how awful it’d be if they won to Christ thousands of people but not their own children, so they were very intentional in their parenting. Tim and I have tried to do the same, so I want to share some “hows and whys” for the way we raised our children.
As you live, keep these following foundational principles in mind:
- Kids often equate church with God. And if they grow up resenting the church, they often transfer those feelings to God. Practice your faith the same at home and at church. I pray this comes naturally to you. Children spot hypocrites from miles away (and inches away, too)!
- Kids see things as more black-and-white than adults do, so be very wise in how you live. Here are some things to keep in mind: language that slips, movies you watch, how you talk about others, excessive alcohol, lack of spiritual discipline, etc. Children can’t quite grasp the concept of legalism yet. As they get older, you can explain those things better.
Here are some ideas that might spur some thoughts about your own family:
- Block off important days on your calendars for important events of your children.
- Pick up your kids and be there when they return from camp, a conference, or a mission trip.
- If it is a heavy season of ministry, make sure they have some extra fun things to do with a great friend or caregiver.
- If you have little ones and both parents have to be at church early, hire a teen to “nanny” the children at church while you both are busy.
- If you have multiple services, don’t make your kids go to all of them.
- Practice evangelistic hospitality as a family.
- Limit night meetings.
- Have family dinners every night, or a majority of nights.
- Have family fun nights once a week, or at least every other week, depending on your children’s ages.
- When schedules collide, get creative, especially with school events and holidays.
- Take advantage of and celebrate perks associated with ministry life.
- If a special trip can be shared with a child, take them.