Being a youth worker is a calling and so is being a parent. Does one calling trump the other? Do you quit your job as a youth worker? You obviously can’t quit your family, so do you isolate your kids? Parenting your own pastor’s kids and being in student ministry can be very difficult, but they do not have to be in opposition. I try to mix the two as often as I can.
Now, there are definitely times when your kids can’t come to certain events or may cause a distraction. But I do bring my kids to events and camps as often as I can and you should too.
It is objectively more work to bring them along and would not be possible without my wife. She is amazing at caring for my four young kids at youth events, allowing me to do my job, and knowing the balance of family and ministry.
Here are some of the benefits to both your own kids and the ministry:
Bringing your kids to student ministry events is important for the students
1. They need to see you as a parent
Many students (even church kids) do not have an example of loving, caring, involved parents. Students can learn so much from us that we never actually teach from up front, and you better believe they are watching. It can be so important for students to see you interact with your kids and be an example of the type of parent they should be in the future.
2. They need to see the real you
When you allow students to see you with your family, interacting with your spouse and kids, you become a real person, not just a pastor. It is natural for people to put those in leadership on a pedestal, and often a very far-removed pedestal. They can almost view you as half human, half super hero which is why it is extremely important for students to see the real you.
Bringing your kids to student ministry events is important for your kids
1. They need to know church can be fun, not just something that steals their parent
Let your kids have fun! Just this last weekend we had our student ministry community groups launch party and my kids spent hours going down the giant slide we had in the parking lot, playing on the rock climbing wall, and eating ice cream. They had a blast and were able to see student ministry as something fun for them instead of something that just ends up taking me away from them.
2. They need to have you be their parent, not just be the youth pastor
Like we said, there is definitely a balance here, but it is so important for your kids to see you love, care and pour time into them even in the middle of an event or group meeting. They need to know they are more important to you than the ministry. (Again, I am not saying to neglect the ministry—do both!)
3. They need to see why you do what you do
One of the best lessons you can teach your kids is allowing them to see the reason you do ministry. Hopefully the reason you are in ministry is out of a heart for people and a heart for the Lord. My prayer for my kids is that they will learn to love God with all their hearts, and love the people around them. Both of which they can do by serving in ministry. When our kids see our hearts for ministry, the hard work ministry takes, the fun that can be had, the relationships that can be built, and the fruit that results, it makes a lasting impact!
This article originally appeared here.