June 12, 2012

Church Planting With Kids

Yesterday I mentioned to the boys that someone was coming for dinner. As a church planting wife (and now more of a pastor's wife), we have people in our home quite often for dinners, community group, leadership gatherings, or celebrations, so my kids didn't think this announcement was anything unusual. In fact, my oldest, after a moment of silence, said, "Mom, our house is special." Something like joy stirred in me, knowing exactly what he meant, but I asked anyway. "Why is it special, Will?"
"Because so many people come into it."

He didn't mean that we are something special or that our house is the popular place to be. He expressed, I believe, his understanding of why we invite people into our home and into our lives. In his way, he affirmed that God is at work here in this home, and He is at work through this home. His little boy words could not have meant more, and I realized the sudden joyful urge to invite every last person I know to join us at the dinner table.

His words rang in my heart: "Mom, our house is special because so many people come into it."

This from the child who, in pre-church planting days, used to scream and throw fits when a visitor rang the doorbell. 

This for a mama who has (regrettably) fretted over how church planting might affect her children, who has felt pulled in approximately 76 directions in helping build this church, and who has never quite felt she was getting it right. After all, when we planted this church, my boys were just 5, 2, and 6 months. I couldn't afford to get it wrong (and still can't).

God used those little boy words to affirm this mama, to remind me that He's got my kids and that this faith-filled adventure is for their good, too. For my children to know and love God is what I want way more than our church's success. Perhaps they're getting that. Perhaps we've done a few things in regards to our children that have helped them understand the heart behind what we do and how we live: attempting to live privately what we teach publicly, limiting what we do that requires them to be tag-alongs, having people come to our home, explaining the whys of what we do, creating sacred family time, and involving them in the ministry in age-appropriate ways.

It doesn't always go well. And I don't always get it right. Sunday mornings, for instance, are difficult for me to know how to divide my attention and how to know when to prioritize ministering to my children and when to prioritize ministering to others.

But I am starting to see fruit, small buds of understanding, in my children because of the work we're doing in our church and our community. God is doing that. And this mama is grateful.