As the off-spring of a Preacher’s Kid (PK) I have that inside view of the family of religious upbringing. My mom was one of seven girls and two boys. One of the boys was killed in an accident before ten years old when he fell from a horse while riding. All of those children are now gone except for one. My remaining aunt will be 93 this year. Hopefully so, I might add.
What this post is for is to say something about the importance of priorities in the callings of ministry to preachers or ministers in any level of function within the church structure.
One of the qualifications of a man who aspires to ministry should take note of the following scripture.
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) – I Tim 3:4-5
I’ve seen the results of the family structure that failed to a small degree to even larger degrees.
I’ve seen my granddad in the pulpit. He was truly a man of God, called according to His purpose. I will not besmirch his name nor speak evil of his family. What I state is fact as a warning to young men who are entering the ministry or have started pursuing the ministry and starting a family.
One of the biggest mistakes I have seen made is probably not intentional at all and it lies in the idea that men, even myself, can get tied up in what they are doing and forgetting to prioritize their lives to the will of God.
First, I give myself as an example. In over thirty years in ministry there came a point when I found myself “doing” and not “being”. I sat in the sound booth one Wednesday evening wondering to myself why was I even there. God was a distant second or even third in my priorities by that time. I lost not only my way, but my then wife, and any and all contact with my two sons. Even after ten years one son still does not talk to me. One talks to me, but keeps his distance.
I have since remarried and have a very sound life now, of which I consider the most sane years of my life. I had to come to a place where I lost most everything I had. God was faithful to restore me. For that I’m grateful and I am now an ordained minister of the Gospel. I do believe what I went through is here to help someone.
What I observed of my mom’s family was not of a similar circumstance particularly, but my granddad did put a good bit more emphasis into his ministry than his family. Most all the girls were okay as best I could remember except for one that ran away from her family leaving her kids and husband to hide in another city. The son did the same thing. Both returned home after a lengthy time, but this aunt committed suicide and the son drank a good bit as I remember. All families have issues of this nature somewhere. My own mom ran away from home when I was a teen for fear of my dad being mad at her for using money we didn’t have to spend on what she used it for. It took a couple of days, but we found her and brought her back home and we mended that fence. All I’ll say is that my mom spent the money on her dad and it could have been avoided. I know that’s cryptic, but let’s leave it at that.
The pastor of the church I grew up in had issues that I cannot be sure of other than it finally came to a head and he had to relieve himself of the ministry and he went into seclusion for some time over, what I would only say came from misplaced priorities. He did at some point return to the ministry, but was never quite the same.
The pastor who took over after that one had two daughters and a son. The girls were teens and the son was a little younger. Being the type of person I was, I thought no bad thoughts about anyone. I found the truth to be different. After I graduated from high school I worked in heavy construction building production plants. One such place was a chromium plant in Castle Hayne, NC. There I met two guys in my craft who happened to have known this particular pastor’s daughters. I was shocked by the reality of what the two girls were like. They were very promiscuous. I’m not at liberty to say what was told to me, but to know they were PK’s doing such things left me speechless. Why were they like this? I can only assume that the pastor had set his priorities in the wrong place and the girls took to a wild streak in rebellion to him and God.
In the years since, I’ve seen pastors fall from all kinds of things and it can only be because of wrong priorities. Certainly, we need to keep our eyes on God and function to the fullest in our calling, but I revert back to the verse above in I Timothy.
But we must prioritize our lives. In ruling our own house, we must not only discipline our children and love our wife, but we must also show by example what a good man is towards the family structure. He must be able to view his family as a creation of God to surround him as he fulfills God’s purpose. He must nourish that family with grace, mercy and love by teaching them how to be effective, giving members of the Christian community and on out into the world we live. He must give himself to them as much and more as he would give to a congregation.
My wife and I are presently under a young man and his bride of one year this coming month and they are now with child in the womb. The ministry God has called him to is developing into what I predict will be a powerhouse of the Holy Ghost. My mind had been contemplating his need to prioritize in the face of change within his new wife and child’s forthcoming. My prayer has been answered and I will continue to pray for him and his new family. He’s only twenty-five years old.
What made me feel joy was when the congregation received a letter to everyone that he has prioritized that certain times of the week from here on are for just him, his wife and preparation for their child to come. He’s a wise man to do so.
If you have questions as to why you feel like your priorities are out of order I consider it a sign that you should indeed take time to examine where you are with God and those around you.