|Me taking a picture of Lisa taking a picture|
I am so very proud of the church I have had the joy of pastoring for the last 13 years. I have watched these people love and support our family in some amazing ways. This blog is intended to be read by lay leaders and parishioners who have an interest in creating a healthy environment for pastors and their families. A faith community can be a wonderful place to gain support and encouragement in raising your children.
I have identified four ways that our church has really come through for our kids.
1. Love them like your own kids or grand kids. This requires the same kind of time and attention that it does in your own family. The people of Columbus Road adopted my children as grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins. My children address Glenn and Joyce Koch as Grandpa Glenn and Grandma Joyce. They are not our my children's natural grandparents but they sure have been treated as such. The point is this... when you treat pastors kids as family, they will be shown a lot of love and grace. When my son comes back to visit, he always includes a trip over to Bob and Jeanette Speckhart's house for a game of Scrabble. They are family.
2. Have the same expectations that you have for yourself and your children. This is a biggy. I have never heard expectations given to my children that were not a standard for all to follow. My children have been to church more than any other person or family over the last thirteen years. Most people would do themselves a great service by holding themselves to the standard that they hold everyone else to.
3. Give them room to be regular kids. Our church family has not added pressure by adding expectations. The exact opposite has been true. They have allowed our kids to be kids. My children have participated in travel sports. This has meant time away on weekends over the years. It has also provided opportunity for my children through collegiate athletics. The folks have graciously embraced my kids interruptions in meetings, falling asleep during a prayer meeting, balls and bikes in the backyard, animals, loud music,and crazy hair styles just to name a few things.
4. Support their gifts and abilities. It has been a common occurrence to have people support our children's athletic, academic, ministry and career paths. Regularly, our church family has supported our kids interests and activities. They have supported by attending events, financial support, complements, and conversations. All of their efforts toward our children showed that they cared. Recently, Liz Yochum ( she is 82) asked me all about Madison's travels. She wanted to support her in an upcoming mission trip and wanted to know the details. This is one example of hundreds, where our children felt the love from our church family.
Columbus Road will always be home to our children. I love the relationships that have been developed over the years. My children will always foster those friendship because you fostered them first! God is going to use these children to reach their world for Him. Columbus Road, You played a big part in that!