God willing, tonight you will be able to find me listening to 1st and 2nd graders quoting Scriptures somewhere on the campus of FBC El Dorado.
I am helping on Wednesday night with, um, er, uh . . . children’s ministry.
I am going on 14 years of being a pastor and have cleverly been able to (if I do say so myself) avoid it.
I have had the same children’s pastor for 8 years now and have weaseled my way around it with him, coming up with excuse after excuse.
But not anymore.
Oh, you might think it is because I am a pastor. “You’re the pastor, you HAVE to do this!” Nope. That’s not why. I have maneuvered my way around for 14 years – I could figure out some more moves if I had to (that’s how I roll).
Is it because Mark Sandy needs help on Wednesday nights? He most certainly does – but that’s not it either. Anyone who hangs out with Mark in July, August, or September hears the same thing during every prayer request session: “we need more children’s workers.” I’ve heard it so many times I expect it and . . . yawn. That’s why, by the way, hardly anyone talks to him during these months! 🙂
“Oh, I get it,” you think to yourself, “you don’t want to go to choir or prayer meeting.” Nope. That’s not it either. One, the choir won’t have me; and two, prayer meeting has been moved to a different time.
It’s not because I am a pastor or hear Mark’s desperate plea for workers or want to avoid going to something else.
What caused me to cave – at this point in my life – is the fact that (wait for it) . . . I’m a dad.
Let me explain.
Every week – throughout the year – I take my kids to practices, games, and recitals. When and if possible, I stay for everything – including practices. Beforehand, I talk about it. Afterward, I talk about it. During free time at home, we practice. . . for practice. I’m usually not the coach. I’m not the one in charge. I am only there to help and support.
In other words – when it comes to sports, art, or gymnastics – I am involved. As well as any parent (in my opinion) should be.
But what does it communicate to my children when their dad is involved in all of these other areas – but “passes the buck” on involvement when it comes to spiritual development at church?
What am I saying to them when I am eager to help and enhance their athletic ability in other weeknight activities, but “float around” or “drop off” or “walk by” during the “church weeknight” activity?
I’ll tell you what it says: It says – loud and clear – “I want to be involved in these areas – but when it comes to your spiritual growth, I will let someone else handle it while I ‘catch my breath.'”
Why in the world would I dare want to “take the night off” from parenting during what is perhaps the most important night of the week for the very thing that will last forever – their soul?
I guess you could say that it just “hit me” recently that if I am going to take any night off to “drop off” my kid or to “catch my breath” it should be the one that clearly communicates what I believe to be the lesser of importance. I want to be involved in every area of my children’s lives. But I want it to be crystal clear of what I believe is of utmost importance.
Oh yeah – by the way – last night at the supper table (after soccer practice, mind you) – I told my kids what I would be doing on Wednesday nights at church. Their response? “Yay!!!! I hope I get dad to be one of my listeners.”
Music to my ears.