Wuxiaworld > CHALLENGES OF PASTOR’S KID > 19 Chapter Eighteen: WHEN PREACHER“S KIDS BECOME WAYWARD

19 Chapter Eighteen: WHEN PREACHER“S KIDS BECOME WAYWARD



It is possible for the offspring of a godly man to become a sinful man. Testimonies, though not too encouraging, abound of adults who were once brought up in God-fearing families and who, today, are no longer comfortable being around the same church environment where they cut their teeth as children.

The Bible describes children as arrows in the hand of a mighty man. In the physical, the distance an arrow covers when it is thrown, the direction it travels when thrown, and the impact it has on what it is thrown at, all depend on the force and energy with which it is thrown, by the mighty. This implies that, the seriousness with which a Preacher's Kid will take the issues of Christianity, how well-grounded he will be in the faith, and how long he will stick to the same, all depend on whoever has brought him up in the same, be it the pastor and his spouse themselves, or whoever he has consciously or unconsciously delegated the responsibility to.

The Pastors' family is God's major tool for shaping Pastor's Kids and for passing the faith on to them. No other organization or institution can do it better. Whatever effort they add, it can only complement the initial major contributions from the Preacher's Kid's nuclear family, and not substitute it. External influence, positive or negative, only becomes their major casting mold when the necessary foundational trainings are lacking at the home front.

The quality of godly parenting which a Preacher's Kid receives at home, especially at the initial stage of his life, influences every other thing later on in his life. It serves as a springboard that launches him into the future which God has designed for him.

No degree of sound academic education can easily erase the impact of poor parenting on a Preacher's Kid. The pastor who delegates the impartation of primary fundamental principles of his children solely to his church council, members or relatives, without major inputs from himself, is doing himself and the child great disfavor, one which both of them may live to regret in the future if care is not taken.

Sincerely, every pastor wants to be a good father, but the truth is, sometimes most of them really do not know that they haven't been a good one, they feel they have been at their best so far, but their best does not measure up.

There are challenges that are common to all parents, preacher or not. In addition to these, there are some other unique challenges that are peculiar to parents who have a special calling into particular aspects of the ministry. Some preacher-parents do well in one, meeting up with the challenge but fail in the other. They find it difficult to combine parenting with ministry. Worse still, some other pastors fail in both, and their excuse for this failure is still the ministry.

Raising godly children is an increasingly uphill task for any parent in this generation. It takes time, energy, money and prayers. So many Christian Kids have gone into drugs, addictions, early pregnancies, crimes, and the like. This is really sad and heartbreaking. Any Christian parent will be devastated if one of his children turns away from the family faith, talk less of a preacher-parent. This situation is not limited to Preacher's Kids alone, but also children of most church professionals and church leaders. The experience becomes worse for the pastor because he is a popular figure and he is expected to train his kids in the way of the Lord so as to prove to other parents in the church that he can train theirs too in the same way.


BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF WAYWARD PREACHERS' KIDS

Although it is not always a sweet pill to swallow for any parent, the issue of children who are brought up in families that fear the Lord but decide on their own to stay in clear contrast to everything they have been taught while growing up, is not strange to the church. It started right from the first parents in the world, according to the Bible, and the first set of children that walked the surface of the earth.

Adam and Eve can be said to be God-fearing to an extent, save the singular mistake they made by disobeying God. Who among us today can claim to be better than them when it comes to obeying

God's instructions to the letter on a daily basis. Despite their desire to live godly lives, one of their children, Cain, decided to choose a rebellious path which brought grief and anguish to his parents and untimely death to his brother.

This happened in an age when there was no social media, audiovisuals or peer pressure to influence his waywardness or encourage his rebellion, proving that a child's rebellion, to some extent, is always in the nature, and not always about the parents, although the parent's lifestyle can, to a large extent, either fertilize it or dampen it. This singular action enthrones Cain as the first grandfather of all Christian kids who rebel. Besides Cain, there are numerous other Preachers' Kids in the Bible who chose to live in ungodliness and iniquity.

Eli was the high priest over the house of Israel, an office similar to the position of the General Overseer of the largest church in a great country today. As close to God as he was, the Bible had practically nothing good to write about any of his two sons. His life ended on a bad note due to his children's lifestyle. (1 Sam 2:12, 17)

Prophet Samuel whom God found as a worthy replacement to the lineage of Eli after his demise and his two sons, also grew to be very great in the land. In fact, of him it was written that none of his words ever fell to the ground. One would have thought he would be able to guard his home properly and train his children in the way of the Lord, knowing the circumstance that brought him into the office he occupied at that time. Alas, his children also did not fare better than the sons of his predecessor. They did so badly that the people did not wait for God to take their lives like He did Eli's sons; they practically protested and revolted against their leadership, insisting that their aged father find them a replacement before his demise. (1 Sam 8:1-6)

King David was addressed as a man after God's heart, but he seemed to have more rebellious children than any other person in the whole of the Bible. Besides the story of Lot and his two daughters, of David's lineage came the record-breaking story of the first incest in the Bible; Amnon who cunningly deceived and slept with Tamar, his blood sister. He also happened to be the only king that was upturned by his son. Absalom attempted a coup de tat against his father before nemesis caught up with him and King David reclaimed his throne. The young man even had the audacity to sleep with his father's concubines on the rooftop, defiling his father's sacred bed publicly. Towards the end of his life, his oldest surviving son, Adonijah, also declared himself king over the house of Israel without his father's consent. If not for the timely intervention of Nathan the prophet, the plan of God for Solomon would have been thwarted. King David seemed to have so many of them.

Of note in the New Testament is the story of the prodigal son who had every good thing that life could bestow on a growing teenager, yet he decided that he was not comfortable with how fair life had been to him. He plundered his father and went in search of greener pastures, exploring the vain pleasures the surrounding cities presented to him. He came back humbly and regretfully, drained of every good thing he left with.

From the foregoing, since most of the active rebels are males, one may be tempted to think that male children are likely to revolt much more than the females. Pastor's Kids rebellion has nothing to do with the gender of the child in question. Before now, one could safely conclude that Pastor's male Kids more easily rebel than the females, but in this new age and amidst this tumultuous generation when male or female Pastors' Kids rebellion has taken a huge turn, each gender tries effortlessly to

outdo the other in rebelling against the Church of their father.

One major female who, in a sense, could be said to have a wayward life in the Bible was Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob. She was not just the daughter of Leah and Jacob, but she also was the granddaughter of Isaac and great-granddaughter of Abraham, the father of faith. She came from such a long list of god-fearing patriarchs. In addition to this, she was overly protected by eleven blood brothers. At her age, although she was physically mature enough to draw the attention of men, and in this case, a prince of the land, but she was silly enough, for curiosity sake, to leave the comfort of her father's camp and her brothers' protective eyes to go visit the girls of the land unaccompanied. She ended up being raped by a total stranger. She was the first of the children of Jacob to be given major narrative attention in the Bible; a whole chapter is devoted to this incident, but it is not a very palatable one. Not much is heard of her after this. What a wasted life! Her major fault was that she was at the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong association! She ended up being treated the wrong way.

MINISTERING TO YOUR CHILDREN
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It is a great mistake to assume that being parented by a person who makes his living by spreading the gospel message should guarantee the followership of the message by the Preacher's Kid. Having a minister of the gospel as a father does not automatically transfer upon a Preacher's Kid the right to naturally become a child of God when they come of age. Enough experiences abound to support this. Someone needs to take every Pastor's Kid through the journey that leads to the foot of the cross where everyone must have a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus and the saving grace in His name.

Unfortunately, everyone is always quick to assume that every Preacher's Kid is a strong believer from his mother's womb. This negates the confession of the Psalmist, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me". Psalm 51:5 Even some Pastor's Kids too, who have not yet at any time in their lives consciously given their lives to Jesus, are deceived into believing they are one.

This is why most Pastors' Kids hate being asked how long they have been saved. They have always been! They have always been in church and so have always been saved. They do not know the difference. They were brought up in church all of their lives, and have heard all of the sermons anyone could preach, and to them, that should be equal to being saved. The truth is, until they consciously confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, inviting Him to take control of their hearts, they are not yet saved, irrespective of how many years they have been in the church. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom 10:9-10

Someone has to lead them to make this decision for Christ, and it will be very good if God finds their preacher-father or his spouse a worthy instrument to perform this task. Although it makes no difference if someone else outside the pastor's family is used for the glorious assignment. It will in no way reduce the joy in heaven over this sinner that repents.

As important as this decision is, it is neither done at the pastor's own time or by force. It is only done when the Holy Spirit, the only One who convicts men of sin, has perfected the work of their salvation, and not before then, no matter how early their preacher-parents really desire that this is done.

When it comes to a Preacher's Kid's salvation experience, besides the place of the Holy Spirit in getting him converted, there is so much the pastor can do. Before the task of salvation is ultimately accomplished by God and the son's heart is made ready to cooperate with His spirit to do His will, the pastor's major task as a father is to keep being not just a pastor to them, but a father, teaching them the word of the Lord, raising them in the way of the Lord, and praying regularly for them. Most pastors always neglect what men can do, and clamor to do what men cannot do which is specially reserved for the Holy Spirit to accomplish, and that is the reason for all the frustration most pastors go through in trying to raise a spirit-led, born-again Preacher's Kids.

If things are not done the way they should be done, men of God will discover, almost too late, that it is possible to raise a very good Preacher's Kid who is not a Christian at all. All it takes to be a good Preacher's Kid is to meet people's expectations about you. And all it takes to be a Christian is to give your life to Jesus and live to please Him.

Since most Pastors' Kids are born into great Christian families and have always heard the altar call from their childhood, Christianity, purely as a religion, has already become a part of them, but the truth is that some of them have not intentionally accepted Christ into their lives at any point. When questioned about why they do what they do, most Pastors' Kids have no thoughtful response to give, if they have any at all.

Christianity, as a religion, only indoctrinates one, brainwashing through a set of do's and don'ts. It is always very easy to indoctrinate a Preacher's Kid before the age of reasoning. Once they come of age, indoctrination no longer works. You need to make them see reason with you before they can dance to your tunes.

Once they come of age, they start to reconsider those claims you have them believe in, in their early days, demanding concrete evidence to support those assertions. These questioning are not an attack on your faith. They really are to help them make a final decision on what you have made them believe. This is the time to sit them down and explain to them the rudiments of salvation, letting them know why you believe what you believe, and why you do what you do. However, at such times, most preacher-parents see it more as a direct assault on their beliefs and so react in a way that will make such kids withdraw further away from the faith.

Every preacher-parent needs to know that questioning the things they believe in is an integral part of spiritual maturation for any teen or youths, especially a Pastor's Kid and will help him become a better and stronger believer who can defend the cause and the faith of his parents.

A WORD OF ADVICE TO THE PREACHER PARENT

As much as you are bothered about the spiritual health of your members, you should be more bothered about the spiritual health of your children. You may not be able to save your children, but you can nurture them and safeguard them from outside influences that can make them revolt against the church in the future.

Your desire should not just be to raise kids who will not discredit your ministry or disgrace you among your members but to raise kids that will know, love and honor the Lord. It is not enough that they can quote scriptures off-hand, lead prayers in church, assist in the choir department, or just sit down as a saint when service is going on. You must do all possible to ensure that they have a relationship with the God of their father.

The eyes of men may be watching, but the eyes of the Lord are more important. Let them know that it is better to be a good follower of Christ than to be a good Preacher's Kid. They do not have to be taught to act in a particular way because their parents are preachers. Teach them to behave well in church and everywhere they find themselves, not just because of who their parents are (pastors), but because of who they are (Christians). Let them love the things of God, not because they are related to a pastor but because they have a connection with the risen Lord.

Beyond whatever experience and expertise a pastor may claim to have, every time a Preacher's Kid needs help, the pastor needs grace to minister to him. Most ministers take this for granted. They seem to only approach the issues depending on what they know, or on how they have dealt with similar issues in the lives of the sons and daughters of other members. They forget that in this particular case, they are not just the consultants invited to verbally proffer solutions, but that they are the main client, who needs to carry out the suggested solutions themselves in order to see the desired results.

Do not forget, it is naturally difficult for the unregenerated mind to always do what is pleasing to the Lord, even if he is an adult in the church. It is, therefore, not too reasonable to expect the Preacher's Kid who is not yet regenerated to always live a life that is pleasing unto the Lord. If we force them to, we will teach them to live hypocritical and pretentious lives.

Face the fact: although your children may differ in so many ways to a non-preacher's kid, especially in the moral training and the spiritual upbringings they get both at home and in the church, but when it comes to the tendency to want to sin and affinity to the world, they are as normal as every other kid. This is a disturbing truth which many preacher-parents do not want to admit!

Understand that being a Preacher's Kid does not make them different from any other kids in your church or community. They have the same bodily composition like others which has the propensity to want to respond or yield to sin when tempted. What makes the difference is the grace of God that helps one to stand in the midst of these challenges of life. This grace is obtainable by constant nurturing in the word and offering relentless prayers for them, and not through yelling and shouting.

No amount of Bible study, family worship, or child psychology will shelter them from Satan's attacks if they personally choose to be trapped in the snare of the devil. It can be very heartbreaking to the parent if they choose to thread this part; but when they do, love them more than ever before and pray harder for them.

Do not allow your wayward child to become a distraction to you in ministry. If care is not taken, because of this new challenge created by your child who does not want to follow in the path of righteousness, you may be distracted from your core area of ministry, being burdened by the thought of him. This may become a double loss for you. Paul may plant truly, and Apollos water, but only God can bring the increase. Face your ministry, while not neglecting your child in prayers and supplications. Do not let him become the reason why your ministry will experience a setback, especially if you are sure you have done your own part.

Remember, each person will stand before God to give an account of his activities on earth on the last day. You will not be responsible for the consequences of his choice if you are sure you have satisfied your conscience in training him up in the way of the Lord.

FREEWILL

God has given everyone a level of free will to make choices that he thinks are best for him in life. Even in heaven, one of the sons of God rebelled against God's ways and influenced a third of the angels in heaven to do the same.

Whichever way you see it, and whether you believe it or not, every individual has his personal responsibility to God and must make his personal choice to either follow Christ or not, be it a Preacher's Kid or someone else. However, one may have the free will to make a choice between Christ and evil, but one will not have the freewill to pick the consequences of his choice. His choice naturally attracts its own consequences.

Parents generally, preachers or not, are only supposed to help and guide their wards to make it easy for them to make the decision for Christ when the time is ripe and not to force it on them (the decision cannot be forced on anyone anyway). Once we can get this right as preacher-parents, it becomes easy for us to relate with the Preacher's Kids and help them convincingly.

If we hope to force this decision on them, then we no longer see them as humans that have self-will; we only see them as robots that can be turned on and off whenever we desire. So, your responsibility is to make it easy for them to make such decision at the appropriate time in their life, and that appropriate time may be influenced by you, but it is solely determined by the Holy Spirit.

No matter how easy you make the decision look to them, it still may not be done until the right time when they are really ready for it. That 'right time' may come earlier than you will appreciate it, or later than you will envisage it. It poses no problem if it comes earlier in their life. However, it becomes a great issue to the pastor if it begins to take longer than he expected to get them to decide for Christ and follow the faith of their father.

Every pastor knows this of a certainty, that no one has any powers to make anyone a Christian, other than interceding for them. Yet, when it comes to dealing with their own children, they want to exercise these powers they are not given. No singular person has been bestowed this divine privilege; it is God's sole responsibility.

Let their decision to become a Christian come out of their need to receive Christ into their lives as their savior and do not just pressure them unnecessarily to do so simply because they are Preacher's Kid. If you force them to take the decision in your presence simply because they are Preacher's Kids they will willingly reverse the decisions when they are no longer under your roof.

If you make them see reason and they willingly receive the God of the calling of their father into their lives, it will be practically difficult for anything on earth to force them to reverse the decision.