In case you missed it, here is my guest blog over at The Middle Years Ministry. Check it out!
It Takes Two. Probably my favorite aspect of the book is each chapter provides two perspectives: the pastor and the pastor’s wife. This did two things. First, as a pastor it provided encouragement, challenge, and practical training for the years ahead. Second, it provided a whole new perspective of what the wife feels, deals with, and the challenges they face. It allows the reader to come away more sensitive to the other spouse and a willingness to see the other side of situations.
Big Eye Emoji. I was shocked. Maybe I need to be a better student of church history, but I had no idea of the struggles some of the greatest preachers in history had in their family life. Marital struggles, parenting regrets, and family difficulty…how was I so naive. If these fellas struggled, I need to be even more on guard and fight for my marriage, my family, my children.
Heart to Heart. At the end of each chapter, it allows the husband and wife to ask questions. Each of these questions were well thought out and are valuable to a ministry marriage. Put these into practice and allow it to be life-changing material rather than just head knowledge.
For Real. This is stretching it, but for someone early in ministry there needs to be a warning here. This book is real and honest. It speaks of difficulties, depression, struggles…just make sure you are ready to read this. It acts as a warning, and an important one, but prepare yourself if you are just entering ministry or have a young marriage/family.
The Grade: A. Those in ministry need to read this book. It won’t take you long, but it will have great impact. It’s highly practical, challenging, and encouraging along the way. It’s like a pastoral mentor and his wife taking you by the hand and leading you through the next years of your marriage and parenting. The value goes beyond the price of the book. Without a godly family, how will you have a godly ministry. Sometimes we get things backwards…this book will help put you back on track.
Extra Credit: Read the reflection article on pages 107-109. It is dynamite.
This past Sunday, I had the privilege of baptizing my baby girl. Well, she is seven (and a half, as she would say), so not so much a baby anymore. But being my first daughter, I often call her my baby girl. Baptizing my sweet little girl is an incredible perk of being a youth pastor, along with leftover pizza from youth nights. But just how special was this event in my daughter’s life?
Could I dare say that this day was even more special than my daughter’s wedding day? I believe so. And here’s why. When my daughter was baptized, she was telling everyone she wanted to follow Jesus, and be identified as a follower of Christ. If/When she gets married, while it will be a tremendously joyous occasion, she is telling everyone in that room she will be following her husband in her marriage. See the difference?
Let me break it down a little further here. My ultimate goal as a parent is not to prepare my daughter to marry a nice, godly man. Sure, I pray for that regularly, but my ultimate goal is to prepare my daughter for a life lived for her Savior, Jesus Christ. And seeing my daughter in that white robe committing herself to Jesus overshadows seeing my daughter in a white dress committing herself to a man.
And maybe I should say it like this. I want my kids to be more excited about Jesus than they are about anything. And I should reflect that to my children. So accepting Jesus Christ should be celebrated more than high school graduation. Being baptized and committing to follow Christ should be more precious than winning the high school championship in __________, you will in the blank. You get what I am saying here?
Maybe it is time we take our kids out to dinner to celebrate their spiritual birthdays. Or make sure to invite as many family members as you can to come to their baptism. Mission trips, Christian camps, and enriching conferences should have a place in our budget over cell phones, new shoes for school, and violin lessons. Our desire to get our kids ready to go to church, should resemble the fervor with which we scramble and drive like crazy people to get to work on time.
Sure, the title of this blog was a little bit of shock value. But maybe we need a little shock to the heart to bring our priorities back in order. After all, it was Jesus that said in Luke 9:23-25:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”