7 Ways For Good Pastors To Be Great Dads
God intends for good pastors to be great dads. Sadly, some churches don’t care if their pastors and church staff are faithful in their homes as long as they perform well in the church. This is unacceptable.
Speaking of pastor/elders in 1 Timothy 3:4-5 Paul wrote, “He 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?”
God’s primary proving ground for a pastor is not his work in the pulpit, but his home. This means that a man qualifies and disqualifies himself in the home before he ever does in the church. No amount of ministry fruitfulness will justify our failure to love and lead the families God has given us.
Yes, pastoral ministry comes with a unique brand of difficulty. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the results are often unseen. But, we cannot let this serve as an excuse for being lousy dads. We can do better. We have a heavenly Father who willingly sacrificed His own Son, so that through faith, we could be saved and faithfully father our own sons and daughters. By God’s grace and through the Spirit’s strength, here are seven ways for good pastors to be great dads…
1. Model humble repentance.
Sin is going to be commonplace in our parenting - the question is, will repentance be? Apologizing to my kids has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Our kids should learn how to repent and when to repent, not only from our instruction, but also from our example.
2. Practice what you preach.
Nothing will be more damaging to our kids than seeing a disconnect between our public and private personas. The same man that occupies the pulpit must occupy the home. Our ministry in the church should be the overflow of our ministry in our families. Strive for transparency, humility, and authenticity.
3. Be present in the moment.
Let me lead by confessing my own deficiencies in this. I know what it is to be more tied to my iPhone than to what’s happening in my home. Our presence isn’t enough, our kids also need our attention. We need time when we’re not on Twitter, checking email, or floating around mentally in sermon prep La La Land. We need time to be fully engaged in what’s happening at home.
4. Pastor your home.
How sad that we would labor to nurture the hearts in our church, while neglecting the hearts of our kids. We need a strategy for how to make disciples in our homes as well as our churches. Our methods may vary, but our mission may not. We pastor our homes, then our churches.
5. Make “fun” a priority.
Life is hard and ministry makes it harder. It’s not just hard on the pastor, it’s also hard on the pastor’s family. Fun as a family is one of the best ways to steward the fatigue of ministry. Be silly. Tell stories. Laugh a lot. Wrestle. Take them on dates. Go for walks. Play games. Get away. Wake up every day asking, “How could we have some fun as a family today?”
6. Communicate your affection.
Every kid needs to know they’re loved. This means we have to tell them and show them that we love them - our communication must be verbal and physical. Kiss. Hug. Cuddle. Open your mouth and TELL THEM. If this is difficult because your dad didn’t do that, then get some help. Talk it out with some men you trust, or have the courage and humility to get some counseling. Our kids need this from us more than anything else.
7. Involve them in ministry.
My kids don’t need to “be at everything,” but I also don’t want them to feel disconnected from my “job.” Look for the right opportunities to draw your kids into your ministry. Currently my kids are young, but they love staying after church on Sunday to help us tear down. They roll gear out, ride on the travel cases, and have fun running around on stage. We want our kids to experience the joy of serving Jesus from the youngest age possible.
I want to be a good pastor, a faithful preacher, and caring shepherd of the church Jesus has entrusted to me. But more than that, I want to be a good, faithful, and caring father to my kids. By God’s grace and the Spirit’s power, we can strive to be great dads together.