My wife, Jeana, grew up in the home of a pastor, and we have always worked hard together to ensure our family is our No. 1 priority following our personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
To God's glory, my wife did not ever resent the church as the wife of a pastor, and as our children grew, they did not ever resent the church. In fact, our church was our life!
The four of us loved the church and we still love the church! Our boys' spouses love the church, and they are now raising children who love the church!
How did we escape the testimony I often hear of pastor's families resenting the church? By God's grace and prayer. I also believe we made several decisions that moved us along toward a positive experience. I will note three of these decisions:
1. We were always positive about the church. On multiple occasions, we shared with our children how blessed we were to be able to know some of the greatest people in the world, which were people connected to the church. While we did not ignore the challenges along the way, we did not ever resort to negativity in front of our children. Nor did we permit it to come out of their mouths.
Pastors, never speak negatively about the church in front of your children. In fact, rarely even speak negatively in front of your wife. It never proves to be beneficial to anyone.
An additional thought: Remind your wife and children of the benefits you receive because of serving as a pastor. There are many. You get to know leaders of the community. You get to be a part of significant events and experiences. You also may be afforded some rare blessings and invitations that would never come to anyone other than a pastor. This is a blessing, and we need not ever forget it.
2. We spent time together as a family. There was a moment when I decided I would never sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry success. This pivotal decision led to a commitment to take each Friday off to be with my wife and children. All of these years, I have been faithful to this, rarely violating it. What began in 1985 is still practiced today.
Focused time with Jeana and the children while they were growing up in our home resulted in accelerating our family life greatly. Therefore, for 30 years, Jeana and I have spent Fridays together.
Yes, life sometimes gets in the way. And I have to admit this is being challenged now more than ever before. Two of the last three Fridays, Jeana and I were not able to spend together due to various responsibilities. But because it is a commitment we have made, this is rarely violated. At times, I have turned down significant opportunities that would take me away on Fridays, and have been glad to do so for our family.
You see pastor, you must realize now: Marriage and parenting have no dress rehearsals! You get one shot; therefore, make it count!
Additionally, we vacationed together as a family when our boys were young, and still do today. We allocate at least one week each summer to this experience none of us would ever consider missing. I was with the boys at the events they valued in life. By the way, nothing was ever sacrificed at the church to make sure this happened.
3. We prayed together as a family. Our boys never left for school without us praying over them. Yes, all those years. When challenges occurred in life, we would also hit our knees as a family and give our burdens to the Lord in prayer.
For years, I would pray and fast one day a week for my children, their future and their success. When I still enter a day or a season of fasting, my children and wife always make my list of concerns along with my daughters-in-law and our six grandchildren.
I also pray daily for my wife, children, their spouses and my grandchildren. For example, I pray the following daily for my grandchildren, Peyton, Parker, Jack, Reese, Beckham and Nora:
"Provide them godly Christian friends and help them achieve in school successfully. May they love Jesus and His church. Grow them in their faith in years to come. May they be used to change the world for Jesus Christ. May they know we love them and we are there for them in every way. May the boys date and marry only godly girls who love Jesus and His Church. May the girls date and marry only boys who love Jesus and His Church, and will be men who are spiritual leaders."
I take my role seriously as an intercessor for my family. This is why for decades I have prayed for Jeana, my boys, their spouses and our grandchildren, placing the armor of God upon them spiritually as recorded in Ephesians 6:10-20.
Therefore, my pastor friend ... lead your family spiritually. You can do it. It is done one decision at a time. Lead on!
Dr. Ronnie Floyd has been a pastor for over 37 years. Since 1986, Pastor Floyd has served as the senior pastor of Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas, which has baptized over 17,000 people during his tenure. In June 2014, he was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has authored over 20 books including FORWARD: 7 Distinguishing Marks For Future Leaders, releasing in 2015.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
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