I’ve heard Doug speak a number of times, and read several of his books both in preparation for, and in the midst of ministry. You probably have too. What I haven’t heard him speak on much until this, was the aspect of parenting…other than talking about “boundaries” he has to protect his wife and family, and other random stories from his podcasts.
That seemed to be a large part of his focus here as well. When we think of the question “Okay, so now that we’re all on board as pastors, desiring for more to be happening in the homes of our church members in the way of making disciples and living out faith throughout the week…..what do we do next?”, Doug brings the not-so-obvious answer – “Start in our own homes.”
I’d confess that prior to this conference, praying with my spouse had not been something we thought about fitting in somewhere. Sure, we’d pray together at meals. We’d pray as a family during the girls’ bedtime ritual often. But to actually pray together, apart from our kids/meals….and not just because there’s an emergency?
It’s already been a nice change…and reminds us, sometimes through desire, and sometimes through ritual…that our marriage is a priority. Both for us…and for the God who made two become one…and continues to hold us.
The fact that our families as Christians can be examples for those who are seeking a “New” way of being a family. A path apart from the destruction and self-motivated maneuvering found in the world. That a family can also exhibit how the church body can exist…freed from self and positioning, practicing self-less Love, Hoping together toward what comes next, and sharing common Faith in the God who is making all things New.
Although I’d have to say I was a little disappointed in one of his main points (“Focus on Your Own D$&* Family”), that seemed to be popular with much of the crowd…simply for it’s crudeness. Nevertheless, the point was…before we begin trying to “fix” other homes in our church, we need to be aware of how much priority our own family has. As pastors, we need to change the expectations that we’re overworked and present at every single event our church has. When “off” or “on vacation”, or even home after work…to “unplug”, and disconnect from communication avenues to focus on family.
He called us to “serve ice cream” at home, putting as much energy into making your home attractive as you do your church/ministry. Which, as someone not too particularly motivated to make our youth ministry “attractive”…I still get what he’s saying. And finally, he asked the question of us as pastors, “What are you doing to make sure it’s a privilege that mom/dad is a pastor?” Offering stories of things he’s done…kinda “all-access” type, movie night, friends lock-in, swim in baptistery, etc. 🙂