“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon
There seems to be a stereotype out there about Pastor’s kids. I’m not denying that there isn’t some truth to it, but is it really as bad as people make it out to be? This article on Katy Perry is a good example of what happens to a majority of pastor’s kids. But let’s look at some of the things that cause this initial reaction from PKs.
We’ve all been here… But it’s difficult to live up to multiple expectations at once. Family, friends, church members, classmates… the list goes on. From the church-goers perspective, these expectations have to be met in order for the church to not be full of hypocrites. But isn’t the original expectation the root of hypocrisy, holding someone to a standard when you yourself may not meet the standard?
This can range from a rub with one of the deacons/elders to physically threatening your dad to a fist fight in the church parking lot (which has happened, sadly). Negative experiences can also be emotional. When your family goes through traumatic events like losing jobs, moving, finding a new community, and not being certain of the future, who do you turn to? That’s when negative events become your living nightmare.
(Whether it’s in the church or at home)
This is a big one because we are always so quick to say “the H word” in the Church subculture. Hypocrisy originally means ‘to play a part’ and ‘pretend’. So in a sense, there is a lot of hypocrisy going on; can we control if we’re being hypocrites? Absolutely. Can we be honest about our hypocrisy, repent, and pursue holiness? Absolutely!
Living in a Glass House
Everyone sees everything that you do. That’s true for a lot of people, but especially for pastor’s kids. I know for a fact that there are some people who are more concerned with juicy gossip in the Pauley than my family’s progress in our spiritual walk.
The life of a PK is anything but stable. Speaking from personal experience, I have lived in 6 cities 3 different states over 16 years. Oh, I forgot to mention… I’ve lived in at least 10 houses in those 6 cities. Talk about unstable. To some degree, it feels like a military family.
This type of heart break could be with friends from the unstable lifestyle, family going through any number of these issues, or your own see-through love life. Since you’re in the spotlight, heart break is the gossip of the church… So either way, you’re done for.
I do have one disclaimer: These reasons alone are not excuses to walk out of the Church. Not by a long shot. I don’t believe any pastor’s kid should make the conscious decision to walk out. Learn. Study. Be Seriously Discipled. Grow. And Make your Faith Your Own! God’s plan and purpose for anyone in ministry WILL include difficulty. That’s part of life.
Where the Rubber meets the Road
1 Timothy 3 has a lot to say about the relationship between pastors and their children. In its context, the passage is talking about the qualifications and expectations for pastors active in vocational ministry. Most of these are on the individual man in the role; some of them are inadvertently placed on the shoulders of the man’s family.
“[A qualified pastor] must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4, 5
As I said, this command is two fold. But the point I want to make is that it’s the PK’s job to obey habitually. Isn’t that what all children should do anyway? Obey their parents? If you look at the entire chapter of 1 Timothy 3, you may notice that this command is given to overseers, deacons, and others. It’s a repeated command (which means it’s important). God highly values the family. So that leads me to ask: Do you value your own family no matter how messed up they are? Do you want to love and respect them even when you’re wrong about something?
Have you ever known that you screwed up? Had that gut feeling that you were wrong about something? We’ve all been there. If you haven’t, don’t worry because you will.
I’m not talking about the petty opposition from acquaintances or people for whom you have a mutual disliking. I’m talking about the hardest kind of opposition… Opposition from someone that you highly respect and look up to. This is known as rebuking.
Recently, God has given me some epic opportunities to grow as well as majorly screw up. My screw-ups have been in areas such as pride, communication, and lack of respect...
- Pride — “Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Time and time again, I recognize a wicked and prideful spirit in my heart. I put what I want above another person… and it always seems to come up to the surface one way or another.
I recently received advice about pride: “Confidence can be easily mistaken for pride. Whenever you see pride in your life, Stop. Pray. And Seek Humility.“I want a daily reminder to die to myself; a tattoo of Galatians 2:20 in the original Greek.
“συσταυρόω Χριστός” (systauroō Christos) which means “I have been crucified with Christ.”
While there is significance in every tattoo, I prefer that these be words that I live by and live by with reckless abandon (more on that later).
- Communication — or lack thereof.
This is a tough one to explain. It boils down to honestly and carefully sharing what I mean in a loving and compassionate way. This includes my tongue. It also includes unintentional and nonverbal methods (subconscious; body language). But that’s why God gave us the ability to control our own bodies. (See James and Psalm 32)
- Lack of Respect — An unhealthy combination of both characteristics.
If you think about it, disrespecting someone really comes back to pride and miscommunication. If you’re prideful in the face of authority, that’s disrespectful. If you do not know how to properly communicate with people around you, you are not showing initiative to contribute to that relationship. Ergo, you are being disrespectful.
Let’s be honest… this stuff sucks. Bad. These lessons are terrible to go through when you feel like you’re constantly beaten up.
You would not believe some of the difficult conversations I’ve had over the past month. Even with all the lessons I’ve learned and the growth that I’ve seen, there are still times I am confronted with the fact that I need to just grow up. It’s the never-ending road of sanctification.
The Beauty in it all
Hopefully, if you see these things in yourself, someone else brought them to your attention. This is beautiful because that’s how God designed for the Church to work. God’s people are commanded to love and correct one another. Without correction, there is no love. With passages like John 15 in mind, we are told to abide with Christ and love one another. Because we, the Bride of Christ, abide in him, we are physically responsible to love.
On the topic of opposition; just look at the book of James (especially sections like 1:12). “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life” Steadfast means “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.” I guess that brings me to ask a few questions:
Are you unwavering when tested with trials? Are you numb to the fact that God wants us to endure until the end? What are some areas you can see that need growth? And who can you go to for an honest opinion about your character/maturity?
Originally posted on 5 Pt. Salt:
I hang on thee, I see, believe, live,
When thy will, not mine, is done;
I can plead of nothing in myself
in regard of any worthiness and grace,
in regard of thy providence and promises,
but only thy good pleasure.
If thy mercy makes me poor and vile, blessed be thou!
Prayers arising from my needs are preparations for future mercies;
Help me to honour thee by believing before I feel,
for great is the sin if I make feeling a
cause of faith.
Show me what sins hide thee from me
and eclipse thy love;
Help me to humble myself for past evils,
to be resolved to walk with more care,
For if I do not walk holily before thee,
how can I be assured of my salvation?
It is the meek and humble who are shown thy…
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What is an initiative? What is it exactly that I’m called to do? What is this thing called the “City Project”? And how does it relate to me where I am in life?
Initiative is “the ability to assess and initiate things independently.” Initiative with the Gospel does NOT mean us sharing the Gospel ‘independently’. It means that our dependence on Christ is evident in the manner and tenacity with which we share. Our call as Christians is to go. Don’t believe me? Read The Great Commission and hear a poem about our duty to go.
Before I begin, I want to encourage you to read one of my previous blog post about City Project just to get your feet wet in what I am talking about. To understand the weight and value of this Summer, please watch this video about City Project 2013 as well. To see how God will change my life through this Summer, follow/subscribe to this blog and continue reading.
Now that you’re past all of that juicy content I put above, time to get into it.
When I first considered applying for City Project, some questions came up.
What am I doing? As I said in the post above, this eight-week program includes evangelizing in New York City for one week to engage Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists with the gospel. The middle of the summer includes several weeks in Durham receiving practical theological and ministry training by pastors at The Summit Church. After this ministry training will come up to two weeks internationally working with Church plants and missionaries sent from the Summit.
Is this Gospel Evangelism or “Community Service”? To which I say a firm “Yes!” Both should be present in the church. But for a majority of this trip, it is hard-core, one-on-one evangelism and discipleship.
How many people are going? There are only 60 spots for students to join in this awesome Summer opportunity. (Side-note: Applications for the Summer 2014 term are DUE TODAY, 2/1)
Just a Summit Church thing, or can anyone join City Project? Until I hear differently from the SummitCollege staff, I will say that this is open for any college student called to go. Does that mean everyone will get in? Not at all. There is a very thorough process including applications, references, a face-to-face interview, and more.
Opportunity to “Go Now”
When: May 27–July 24
This is HUGE! What other opportunity do you have available to grow, learn, and share for almost 2 whole months?!
Perspective. When I first saw this number, I was discouraged. I almost didn’t apply because my flesh kicked in and said it’s money that I don’t have. But as I said in a previous post, I was able to let go of the weight Satan had on me and just do it… Apply and see where God takes it.
To get some perspective, think of it as $83/day. To live, eat, sleep, and create disciples somewhere other than your own city is not possible for that price. Period.
Where: During City Project, students will spend one week serving in New York City, several weeks training, learning, and serving in Durham, and two weeks in an international context in Serbia, India, Montreal, London, South Africa, or Taiwan.
These areas are in desperate need of the gospel. I do not have the capacity to share how dark and dead these areas are. Just know that our labors in these areas will not be in vein.
If you’re like me, you may be asking yourself “Why should I take a Summer and do something like City Project?” I think that J.D. Greear can sum up the answer and so much more in his Go Now Message to college students.
If for some reason I have not answered all of your questions, read this FAQs page about City Project. To show your support of my Summer, I ask that you fill out the form below. If you choose to support me financially, you can visit my Fundraising page or request an address to mail cash or checks.
Thank you so much for reading, and God bless!
Originally posted on Counted the Cost:
It’s not easy. Granted, no one ever said it would be. Yep. I’m talking about life, decisions, choices…and consequences. (That one was for you, Ms. Donna.)
If there’s one thing I’ve dealt with a ton within the past year and am currently facing now, it’s decisions. Where do I go in my life? Where is the Lord calling me to serve? What college do I transfer to? What am I even majoring in? When am I going to meet the man I’m going to marry? How do I know what God is calling me to do? To be honest, it gets a bit overwhelming.
Recently, I’ve really been in prayer about what God’s plan for my life is. As I’ve said before, I know I’m called to the mission field. Somehow, some way, someday, I know God’s called me to serve unreached people. I just don’t know how that call on my life looks…
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What an amazing testimony from a fellow college student and believer in Christ. From Scripture reading to journal writing, God reveals himself in numerous ways.
One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was to express my ideas and share from my heart what it means to be a servant.
Another reason would be to document my experiences over this Summer and the years to come. This Summer, I plan on partnering with my church through The City Project to evangelize, train, and travel to glorify the Lord and prepare for vocational ministry. This is an intense Summer in store for me, but I am preparing my heart and growing now so that I will be passionate then!
If you’ve ever stepped into the doors of a church student/youth/college ministry, you’ve probably heard about some form of Summer camp. This is no Summer camp. This eight-week program includes evangelizing in New York City for one week to engage Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists with the gospel. The middle of the summer includes several weeks in Durham receiving practical theological and ministry training by pastors at The Summit Church. After this ministry training will come up to two weeks internationally working with Church plants and missionaries sent from the Summit. In case you are unfamiliar with Summit’s Leadership and our mission:
The Summit Church seeks to further the kingdom of God not only by growing its own congregation, but by planting other ones as well. Our goal is to plant 1,000 new churches by the year 2050. In the last ten years, the Summit Church has sent out more than 300 people to serve on church planting teams both domestically and internationally.
This is my heart’s cry and part of the DNA of the Summit Church. If you would like support me through prayer and financial support, you can visit the site below (or get in touch with me through text, Facebook, Twitter, etc). Thank you and God bless!
Cliche. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear that phrase. Why? Because it’s thrown around, posted on T-shirts, and accepted as our default ‘Christianese’ when life gets bumpy.
But is there some truth in the phrase?
Letting Go. What does it mean to let go? What does letting go look like? If we let go, doesn’t our world just fall to pieces?
No, our life is not over. Letting go means different things in different places. A general definition of “going” means to move or proceed to/away from something. Is there anything worth holding onto in this life? Doesn’t it all just go away in the end?
Here’s the beautiful part. Letting Go is a natural part of life. Friends, family members, careers, churches, schools, you name it! Life changes. There’s a never-ending cycle of change. But the beauty is what happens when we let go of our desires, our needs, our future and security. That’s when God steps in and says “I’m here for you. Rest in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. I’ve found that in my own life, as a Christian man, when I surrender financial security or my future, I’ve seen some of the greatest seasons of fruit.
Think about it for a minute.
God wants to make a beautiful exchange with us.
God wants our messed up-ness for his holiness. How crazy is that?
1 My son, if you receive my wordsand treasure up my commandments with you,2 making your ear attentive to wisdomand inclining your heart to understanding;3 yes, if you call out for insightand raise your voice for understanding,4 if you seek it like silverand search for it as for hidden treasures,5 then you will understand the fear of the Lordand find the knowledge of God.
I will be going into what it means to Die to yourself in other posts, but what does it mean right now? It means taking that abiding and just doing it.
1 John 2:5, 6 says “but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked.”
You know what Jesus did? He humbled himself. That’s how we’re supposed to abide. That is the change that can happen right now.
Recently, I’ve encountered a fork in the road. The turn of the new year brought about plans for the Spring and Summer seasons. That means I need to plan. I’ve been given a few options, listed by my order of preference.
(a.) Go home/live on my own and work, work, WORK.
(b.) Apply for a paid position at a local Summer camp as a counselor for Middle and High School students… OR
(c.) Apply for “The City Project” to work with my church (the Summit Church in Raleigh/Durham, NC) and be immersed in mission work and intense ministerial training.
I thought I knew what I was going to do until God had people speak into my life. One good friend challenged me to take a step of faith, to search for God like the Proverbs 2 passage says. I was hesitant at first and told him “I’ll pray about it” and consider my options, but that really meant no. I didn’t get it until he approached me again and said “Is the Gospel worth giving up your plans for one Summer?”
Hit me right between the eyes. My pride and concern for security had left me negligent of the Gospel, the very core of my life.
So far, I have applied for The City Project and my application is being reviewed. I have an interview arranged for this week. But what does that mean?
It means risk. It means insecurity. It means being obedient. Ultimately, it means abiding in Christ and taking it one day at a time.
Thoughts? Similar experiences? Share in the comments below.