The Pastor’s Home As Paradigm For The Church’s Family Ministry -- By: David E. Prince
JDFM 4:1 (Fall 2013) p. 26
The Pastor’s Home As Paradigm For The Church’s Family Ministry
Dr. Prince brings to Southern Seminary many years of teaching, writing, and pastoral experience, having previously served Southern Seminary adjunctively since 2006, teaching courses on preaching and pastoral ministry. In addition to his role on the faculty, he is also the pastor of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. He is married to Judi and they have eight children.
As a young, newly-married man with no children yet, I listened intently to what sounded like a helpful idea for the small congregation where I served at the time.
“I really want to see our church minister to families,” my pastor declared, “and I want my family to connect with families as well!”
To meet this goal of leading the church toward more family-oriented ministry, the pastor presented this plan: He put out a jar with small slips of blank paper beside it; families in the church could write their names and telephone numbers on a slip of paper if they were willing for the pastor’s family to come over for a visit and then place that piece of paper in the jar.
Each week the pastor reached into the jar, pulled out a slip of paper, called the number listed on it, and took his entire family over for a visit on Sunday afternoon. The idea was well-received, and the jar filled up quickly. It had been a long time since this church had been pastored by a man who so sincerely desired such a personal connection with families in the congregation.
Within a few weeks, something began to happen that was a bit awkward for the entire congregation—something that worked against the pastor’s intention of leading the church toward family-oriented ministry. The little slips of paper began to disappear from the large jar, but not because the pastor was working overtime at making those visits. After four or five weeks, the jar that was so full at the beginning only included a few lonely papers—and even those slips, rumor had it, weren’t deposited by the families whose names were written on them but by others in the church.
Why was this happening?
The pastor and his family were well-liked; the problem was that his family was not well-ordered. It hadn’t taken long for news to spread that if the pastor’s family came to visit, your valuables might not be safe—and your children might not be safe either. The pastor was a kind, warm-hearted servant—and his popularity never waned during the course of the ordeal—but he lost his credibility in attempting to lead the church toward family-oriented ministry.
People were looking for someone who could practice in his o...
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