Pastoring Our Own Children – Part Two

by Lee Buford on September 22, 2010

The following guest post was written by Jeremy Johns.
Jeremy serves as Children’s Pastor at Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC.
He and his wife, Keri, are the parents of five children. His experience as both a pastor and “parent-pastor” provide a unique perspective on our roles in the discipleship process of our children.

Parents usually wear a variety of “hats”, and they usually fulfill many job descriptions.  Sometimes parents are taxi drivers, cooks/chefs, bank tellers, referees, teachers, doctors, or custodians.  However, the greatest “hat” you can wear for your child is that of a loving pastor. 

Unfortunately, I sometimes think parents believe that their child already has a “children’s pastor” at the church they attend.  Your child may have a “children’s pastor”, and I am thankful for the people God calls to serve in this capacity, especially since I am one.  But the reality is that God has given parents the role, right, and responsibility to lead and shepherd their child.

 Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Parents are to impress God’s commands upon their children.  Parents are to instruct their children each day throughout the day. 

At best your child may see a “professional children’s pastor” for 3-4 hours during the week, if he/she attends services on Sundays and Wednesdays

Now, other children’s pastors may be different, but I am not there for the children in Springing Up Ministries when they sit at home, walk along the road, or when they lie down or get up.  Parents are to be there for that!  God has given you a son or daughter so you can “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done…[so he/she] would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” (Psalm 78:4, 7).

Pastor for Parenting and Family Discipleship, David Michael says (and I agree), “The church should responsibly oversee the ordinance of baptism without usurping the privilege and blessing that belongs to parents.”  What he means is that parents should be the ones interacting with their child in order to ground them and grow them in God’s Word.  Parents should be practicing the Scriptures mentioned above and not giving this privilege and blessing to someone else

Being a children’s pastor, I love to teach children the Bible.  I am thrilled to “tell of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”  However, I want to be a reinforcement of what children have already learned at home.  This means that instruction, teaching, and training must be taking place in the home.  Even for me, I have to make sure that I am not relying on “church” to teach my children who God is.  I have to take off the “professional children’s pastor hat” and put on the “daddy pastor hat.” 

I need to be doing the following things with my own five children throughout each day:

  • Praying with and for them
  • Reading the Bible and Memorizing Scripture – creating a hunger for God’s Word
  • Making sure they know God and understand the Gospel
  • Equipping them to share the Gospel with others

By no means do Keri and I do a perfect job at being “parent pastors”, and too often we rely on the “children’s pastor” at church to teach our children.  For example, one month we did a terrible job of reviewing the memory verse of the month at home.  We just relied on learning it at church.  Needless to say, not too many of the children learned the verse.  However, when we have practiced the verses at home even our 5-year old can quote a passage like 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 or Psalm 28:6-7.  (Just as a side note – you become the “parent pastor” when the child is born.  Start praying, reading, memorizing, equipping from day 1.)

Despite our shortcomings at times, I believe we are seeing our children, especially the older ones, develop into followers of Christ.  This has occurred, not primarily because we have taken our children to church, but because we’ve practiced Deuteronomy 6 and not given our role, right, and responsibility as parents to another

Wearing the “pastor parent hat” is not easy at times, but it’s well worth it. 

So as a children’s pastor and a fellow “parent pastor” make sure your “parent pastor hat” fits tight and wear it well.

 

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