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Barnabas Piper’s 7 Exhortations to Pastors about Their Kids

Smoking DoctorIn passing, Jesus quotes an ancient proverb that observes a common human experience. “Physician, heal thyself.”  The point of the proverb?

What we do for work will often not be applied to ourselves or our family.

In the U.S. we have another proverb that states this same principle, “The cobbler’s kids have no shoes.” In other words, after making shoes for everyone else, the cobbler is too tired to make them for his own children.

That is why being a pastor is a scary position for a father. If your spiritual energy is focused on others, you can lose your own kids.

Barnabas Piper, John Piper’s son, write a excellent post, in which he gives advice to fathers based on his own experience.

I’ve listed them below with my summary of his material. My personal comments to myself are in parentheses.

Pastor, you child needs:

1. A dad, not a pastor.
Have fun. Be warm. Teach about life. (Don’t carry the weight of the church on your shoulders. Enjoy life with them.)

2. Conversations, not sermons.
Preaching at home stunts growth. Stir their interest. ( Ouch. Let them know what I am learning and how much I love studying the word of God.)

3. Your interest in their hobbies.
Related to #1. Do you love what they love? Do you know what they love?

4. To be studied.
Your children are individuals. What do they like doing?

5. Consistency from you.
Your kids see who you really are. Be consistent. (And I would add, ask forgiveness profusely when we don’t meet the standard. I hope they know I need the gospel just like them.)

6. Grace from you.
Pastors kids need the same grace to fail as others.

7. A single moral standard. Don’t threaten them with having to resign if they mess up. (Thanks to my church this was never an issue. This whole topic deserves another post.)

Good insight from Barnabas for anyone in ministry. Read the whole thing.

Fathers, do as I did,  ask your children for their feedback on these seven.

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