PK Life

Church Members: Which One Are You?

In March of 2007, I came home to Knoxville from a week in Oklahoma City, where I had been visiting my aunt and uncle. My parents picked me up from the airport and I had an hour to repack my bag before we headed to Morristown, TN for the night as my dad would be preaching at a church there in revival Sunday – Wednesday of that week. My mom, sister and I were going up for the night to be with him for the Sunday morning service. My sister and I sang for the service. Afterward, we had a wonderful lunch with the young pastor, wife and his then 4 (soon to be 5, but now 6) children!

Anyway, that Saturday night at the hotel I shared with my parents’ something that I had written while out of town. The Lord had started laying on my heart a ministry for pastor’s families, more specifically their children. Growing up in the ministry, I had always heard of retreats for a pastor and his wife to attend in order to be refreshed in their work for the Lord but it always seemed to me the children were forgotten. While I am no longer serving in the same church that my father pastors, I have come to realize that you never cease to be the “pastor’s kid” and you are always tied to the ministry. I am thankful for the ministry and for the call the Lord has placed on my father’s life. I honestly could not have imagined growing up in any other way. I am thankful for the call the Lord has placed on my life and whether my desire to minister to pastors’ families will ever come to fruition there is one thing I can do now as a church member to minister to their families … support them.

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Last Sunday night, my church had an ordination service for two of our ministers. It was a truly precious time in the Lord. The Pastor Emeritus gave the charge to the church and he did not hold back. He said things that I know most pastors wish they could say but can’t for fear of being fired. He told us that it is not our job to correct our ministers … that is the job of the Holy Spirit … but it is our job to support, encourage and pray for our ministers. I probably looked like a bobble head the whole time he was speaking. I had flashbacks of years past to those “well meaning” people who came under the impression that the Holy Spirit needed their help in pointing out a flaw or general disagreement they had with my dad or another staff member. Thanks to them I learned to practice verses like “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22. While these folks may not have sinned against me personally, attacking my daddy is about as personal as it gets and I have had to learn to extend grace upon grace.

So flashback to ten years ago and that hotel room … what did I share with my parents? Well, I had come to the conclusion that there are 3 basic categories church members fall into and the percentages will vary on the size of the church but the idea is there. And the question you have to ask yourself is where to do you fall?

The Initiator …

The Initiator is not an honorable title but like it sounds they typically are “self-starters” … in life and in the church. They are folks who do a lot for the church but are the first to pick it apart. They are the ones who go around planting seeds of doubts into other church members and questioning the leadership of the church over petty issues. Now, please know I am all for checks and balances in the church and you should hold your leadership accountable, however, when it is always just a few voices raising the questions then that should raise a red flag to the other members. Sometimes, the initiators are quiet and let the others do the talking after they have spread the poison. They make phone calls, visits, write letters to anyone who will give them an ear. They seek the vulnerable in the church for their following. They know how to play on people’s emotions.

They are small group … typically about 10% of the church is made up of them but they are deadly to the work of Christ because their focus is on typically on their needs and desires not the Church as a whole.

The Enabler …

This is where the bulk of the membership falls for several reasons …

  1. They aren’t involved in the church so they don’t know what’s going on.
  2. They hear the scuttlebutt but don’t do anything about it.
  3. They hear the scuttlebutt and spread it.

Those who fall under the third reason are easily whipped into a frenzy by the initiators and their feelings are typically the first thing that has been neglected by the staff – they weren’t visited enough, called enough, validated enough or the wrong staff member came to visit when so-and-so had a visit from the senior pastor before their surgery, etc …  However, when they have any opportunity to have a heart to heart with the pastor most of these non-issues are easily resolved, forgiveness is received on both sides and life goes on. But those who fall under reason one and two are the most dangerous to the church because they could be doing something to help stop the issues but instead stay quiet because they do not want to get involved in “church politics” as if forgetting that the church is full of imperfect people and there will always be issues to work through. Some may say something to the staff but they will not reveal the source and their favorite line is, “now don’t get mad but I thought you should know …”

Because of this, the Enablers average about 80% of the church.

The Extinguisher …

This is a rare group … a group of committed  Christ-followers focused on Kingdom work and are willing to charge Hell with a water pistol … even if that means crossing the aisle on a Sunday morning and lovingly confronting “the initiator”. These aren’t people set out to make scenes but understand the wisdom of the Matthew 18 principle and seek to practice it. So, when they hear the scuttlebutt they go to the source and say something like this, “I know you aren’t looking to talking bad about Bro. Doe, so about we go together and address this concern with him?”  I may be naïve but I truly believe that if more church members sought to be an extinguisher and lovingly told “initiators” and “enablers” that they are not going to listen to their gossip or complaints it would cut out the majority of the junky stuff our church staff has to deal with on a weekly basis. Then church staff could focus on what they are called to do … proclaiming the Gospel and ministering to those in their congregation.

Extinguishers make up the final 10% of the congregation. You may recognize some of them whereas others are quiet and do their work behind the scenes not seeking the glory for themselves because of their focus on the Lord.

I have been a member of four churches in the last ten years (PK side effect … JK) since I wrote that and even though, I have only been a member of my current church for 6 days, I have found these categories to still apply. I have sought to be an extinguisher at the churches I have been a member at but I’ll be honest, I am guilty of being an enabler and I have probably been an initiator at least once or twice in my adult life. However, I have repented and covenant to be an extinguisher at whatever church I am serving in as well as not speak ill of any other man of God at any other church. There’s too much work to be done for the cause of Christ without me running my mouth with my opinions about other pastors. Besides, as I was reminded this past Sunday night, it’s not my job to correct but to support, encourage and pray for these men of God.

So which one are you? Are you willing to change the percentages and become an extinguisher?

I love you all.

 

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Baptism, one week after salvation, August 1993

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy,

 

Thank you for being the man who not only taught me about the Lord but also led me to Lord and continued to lead me to the Lord for many years to come. Thank you for showing me that integrity isn’t just a word but it is an action to be lived out … every single day especially when no one is watching. Thank you for the setting the bar high but for being human enough that it’s not unattainable should the Lord have a man waiting in the wings. And thank you for teaching me to work on being the “right one” rather than finding “the one”. I love you!

 

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PK Life

Instant Replay

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I have written anything. There has been so much going on that it’s hard to know where to start or what to share. I haven’t been released by the Lord to share what all has been going on with me but when the time is right to share it with you then I will as I don’t believe He intends for me to keep this part of my journey to myself. It’s just that I am still in the process of fleshing it out and learning to press further into Him. Plus, I have to be sure that when I do share it with you this doesn’t become a “poor Melody” moment but rather a “to God be the glory, look what He has done” moment.

Super ChristianAnyway, until then just know that I am in this place where the Lord is completely emptying me of myself so that I have no other choice but to fill myself up with Him. Because when given a choice, I will fill myself up with other things … well meaning things but stuff that simply cannot satisfy like Jesus can. I am in a place of ministry that I never desired to be in and have had to draw much deeper from the well than before because I wasn’t prepared for what was placed before me. I wasn’t ready for what would be asked of me. So I have had to dig deeper and study more. Boy, am I thankful!

This past Sunday night, I attended a local church’s Easter program entitled “The Living Cross” where they shared the life of Christ as told in the Bible. It was beautifully portrayed. The song they chose to sing during the “miracles scene” was Take Me to the King. This song has been on instant replay in my heart and mind all week. No song better describes where I am at in my life right now and where I desire to stay in my life.

Truth is I’m tired
Options are few
I’m trying to pray
But where are you?
I’m all churched out
Hurt and abused
I can’t fake
What’s left to do?

Truth is I’m weak
No strength to fight
No tears to cry
Even if I tried
But still my soul
Refuses to die
One touch will change my life

[Chorus:]
Take me to the King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn in pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory
And sing to You this song
Please take me to the King

Truth is its time
To stop playing these games
We need a word
For the people’s pain

So Lord speak right now
Let it pour like rain
Oh, yeah, we’re desperate
We’re chasing after you

[Bridge:]
No rules, no religion
I’ve made my decision
To run to You,
The healer that I need

[Chorus:]

Lord, we’re in the way
We keep making mistakes
The glory’s not for us
It’s all for You

[Chorus:]

The truth is I am tired. I am churched out – I know all the churchy answers to tell myself. I’m tired of the games we play. I’m tired of being in the way. I’m tired of trying to steal His glory. It’s not for me. It’s not for you. It’s all for Him because of Him.

So, please, take me to the King. Lay me the throne. Leave me there alone. My heart is torn in pieces over my sin and in awe of His goodness. I just want to gaze upon His glory and sing to Him. The audience of One. Take me to the King.

I love you all.

PK Life

Simply Not True

Hi Friends –

FalseCan we just talk about how wrong this statement is for a minute? First, it’s not biblical … I mean Google will try to direct you to 1 Corinthians 10:13 to try at justify that erroneous statement. Well, let’s just look at that verse. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  We don’t know what we are capable of bearing but what we do know is that we will be tempted but it will not overtake us. We will be provided a way of escape so that we may bear that which we are to go through.

Look at 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 … Paul, a faithful minister of the Gospel, endured great suffering, “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” If they hadn’t experienced such great suffering would they have learned to rely only on God? Would they know that He is the God who can literally break prison chains and set His people free for His glory? Would they know that the very Gospel that they were risking their lives for was worth it because it was real in the way the Lord had manifested Himself in their lives through their suffering?

Secondly, it just sounds wrong. It’s horrible advice to give to someone. So don’t. Instead share a comforting Bible verse or just share a hug and move on. But by all means bite your tongue if you are tempted to say the other. 🙂

Is suffering fun? No. Is it enjoyable? No. But can we be thankful for it? Yes. At the very least, we can be thankful in it as we see how the Lord is at work around us. It is in our weakness that He is made strong. Paul said this about the thorn in his side … “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

So if you are going through a time of suffering hang in there, my friend. Hold tightly to the Lord. Press into Him when the weight of your trial presses onto you. Know that ultimately God can and will use this for His glory and for your good (Romans 8:28). Trust in the fact that is a refuge for you (Ps. 46:1) and rejoices over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17) And join with Paul proclaiming, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

I love you all!!

 

PK Life

Transitions

Life is one big transition.” Willie Stargell

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2016 Verse

The last few weeks the idea of transition has been heavy of my heart. I have thought about friends and loved ones transitioning from this earthly life to their eternal life as well as those who are left to find their new norm without this precious loved one present. I have thought about the upcoming election and the transition that will occur no matter who is in leadership. I have thought about transitions that are imposed upon us when we do not want them whether that is due to a health crisis, a job loss or the end of a relationship. And then there are transitions that come about for great reasons,  for example: a new baby is born into the family, a new campus for your church or a new job. For me, it is all three except the new baby isn’t due until November! (My sister and brother in law … not me. LOL) This Summer, I have started to see several transitions in my life come full circle and it is something that can only be of God! 

8 years ago this month, all hell started breaking loose at the church my dad was pastoring. Dad and IOur family had been there for 6 years and seen some wonderful years there. But selfishness overruled integrity and our family left as my father was not going to be a part of some ugly church split. We had seen firsthand what that does to a church and never desired to be a part of something like that no matter how “right” it seemed. Our family has been blessed to enjoy many wonderful friendships with so many from that precious church and I am truly thankful for those years that we were there.

The transition from being the “pastor’s daughter” to “just Melody” was hard at 25 years of age. I was hurt over the things that had happened and spent many a Sunday hiding out in the balcony of a local church weeping. I was finished with ministry. If this was how the church treated their leaders then I wanted nothing to do with it, however, it was in that balcony that the Lord began to work on my heart. He restored what I thought had been stolen and gave me a renewed passion for serving Him.

LCTI was led to another church to begin my time of serving Him as “just Melody” and joyfully served Him for 5 years in that church. I forged some lifelong friendships there and was content to stay put for the rest of my life. However, the Lord started working on my heart in March of 2014 that He was calling me away from my ministry. I had gone from being “just Melody” to “Melody, the soloist, the praise team member, the choir member” and I found such peace in that identity but the LordLCT 2 wanted me to find my identity in Him alone. So I took some time off and stepped back from all my singing responsibilities at that church. I thought that was it but the Lord wasn’t finished. He started leading me away from that church all together and broke my heart. Being a PK (pastor’s kid), it is not in my nature to church hop. You find a church, you join, you serve and you die there, unless God calls your father to pastor elsewhere. 🙂 I fought Him on this one but I finally relented and then made my own plans for what my next church would look like. I know He laughed at that.

The next church was to be medium to small in size. No more large to “mega” size churches for me. At the persistence of some very good friends I visited a very large local church on my first Sunday to visit other churches. This was the same church that I had healed in 5 and half years before but I had no intention of liking this church. I didn’t want to be in a big church. But God had a different plan for me that day. It was the only church I ever visited and I joined a month later.

I love this church. I love my pastor. I love the people here. But it’s been weird because it’s my home yet not. At my apartment complex, I have started to get to know quite a few people who live near me. It’s funny how daily walks with an adorable puppy and seeing the same people at the pool every few days can really tear down social walls. Their stories have shocked and saddened me while spurring me on to pray even more for those around me. At times, I have questioned why I even live in this complex as I do not fit in with anyone here yet at the same time I fully recognize that this is a mission field for me. But it can be so hard being the only one here or feeling like you are the only here … and then I found out my church is starting a second campus 2.9 miles from my home! Help is coming. I don’t have to do this on my own anymore. Our new campus starts in 3 weeks and I can’t wait! I fully recognize that the Lord has placed me here to serve within my own community and I am in awe of this fact.

4th grade
4th Grade 

But the Lord didn’t stop there, I now have a new position within my current place of employment. I am now working 9 minutes from home vs. 19.8 miles from home! The Lord has opened up a door for me to live, work, serve and worship within my own community. Something I haven’t done since my family lived next door to the church my dad pastored 14 years ago! Not only that but my new “boss” was my 4th grade teacher in Lenoir City, TN. My family lived there from 1991-1994 because that’s God called my dad for his first pastorate. This dear woman left an indelible mark on my life. The Fall that I had started her class I had just asked Christ into my heart a few weeks before. I knew she was a Christian by her words and her actions. To have come full circle 23 years later can only be of God. I am so thankful to be under her leadership once again.

I am in awe to see where this new transition will lead me but I know one thing whether it comes about within in 3 weeks or 23 years, the Lord’s timing is always perfect. While I am excited about these transitions and typically take changes well for some reason my heart has been heavy this time. Maybe it’s age (I’m tired) … ha … maybe it’s the fact that I have had to celebrate my new job on my own or the fact that it’s been a bit rushed but whatever it is, I am not pushing the feelings aside but letting everything just wash over me as the Lord has continued to put Romans 8:28 before me, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Oh and in case you were wondering … I gave my life to Christ on either August 2 or 3 of 1993. The best decision I have ever made and a lifelong transition of surrender.

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Gave my life to Christ in the bedroom of the top left window. 8/1993

I love you all!

PK Life

Not the Norm

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“Your dad is rare.”

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MDiv Graduation 1990

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a counseling friend from my church who’s husband is on staff. As a mom of two little ones, she was asking me about my experience growing up in the ministry and how I handled knowing that church often took precedence in my dad’s life over my family. I looked at her and told her sincerely that had never been the case with my family. My dad was present for everything. Even when he was in the process of studying for his MDiv and DMin. In fact, I can remember the one football game that he wasn’t able to make due to revival during my

DMIN
DMin Graduation 1999

brother’s High School career and it was when my brother was a freshman or a sophomore. Our family sat down for dinner together every single night of the week except for Wednesday night. Even as we started eating out with the youth group after church, on Sunday nights, our parents were often at the same restaurant with us. For a while there, our youth group and parents, with younger siblings in tow, took over a whole section at Jason’s Deli on Ridgeway Road in Memphis almost every single Sunday night. Most Saturday mornings we had breakfast together. When my brother married my sister-in-law, they came over almost every week for at least one meal and we almost always ate out together for Sunday lunch.

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Wedding 2005

As I shared this with my friend, her eyes became big and she told me “your family is the exception. Out of all the pastor’s kids I have talked to I hardly ever hear that. Your dad is rare.” I smiled and said, “I know. We were/are blessed. He had seen the opposite modeled before him early in his ministry and determined to never be like that. And at every church we went to he made it clear that we were his priority. Thankfully, that was accepted and respected.” I didn’t miss the look of awe on her face.

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My baptism – August 1993

I am fairly certain that I have shared it on here before but my dad has said for years “if I fail as a father then I have failed as a pastor.” Yes, he was/is called to the ministry but his God-given priority as a man is to first to his wife, secondly to his children then to his calling. There were times he made decisions that we did not understand at all. We wanted him to fight. We wanted him to react in a fleshly way, like us, but looking back I can see how he was having to look years ahead at the greater outcome for our family than the momentary satisfaction of being labeled right publicly.

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My sister and I imitating his favorite preaching poses – July 2008

He has always been healthy thanks to his love of jogging but he is not a tall man, like my brother, nor is he someone who has ever been interested in lifting weights, even so, he’s always been the first line of defense for our family. There have been several times when my brother, sister, mom and I were attacked within our churches over silly things. Often times it was an attempt to point the finger or to make my dad look bad. My father never backed down and made it quite clear we were off limits. However, if we were in the wrong then you had better believe we were going to have to make it right. But my dad met it all head on … so if someone brought something up about us in front of a group of people then my dad dealt with it right there and shut it down. Once people tried to use me as  the source for a sensitive secret becoming exposed in our youth group, however, my dad tracked it down to the real source and the accusers had to back off his 7th grade daughter. It’s not that he thought we were angels … he was the first to admit our faults to people … from the pulpit (!) … it’s just that he knew the unrealistic expectations people had for us. He and our mom did all that they could to let us know that as long as we sought to do the Godly thing then the rest didn’t matter and that they would always fight for us.

EVERYONE
November 2015

As this Father’s Day approaches, I am thankful to have a father who is the exception to the rule when it comes to ministry. I am heartbroken for those pastor’s kids who did not grow up in a home like mine but I am thankful that we have a Father who can mend and restore what’s been broken.

Dad and I
July 2007

Daddy, 

Thank you for loving our family well, for putting our needs above your own, for showing us what a man after God’s own heart looks and lives like and for the always doing the hard and holy things of God. 

I love you. Happy Father’s Day.     –  Melody

PK Life

Have Mercy, Please

Dad and I
July 2007 – We both had less gray hair then!

This man here, this is my daddy. Yes, I am 32 years old and I still call him daddy. I always will. He’s the reason I grew up in the ministry. It’s all his fault! I am pretty sure that my mother would have never chosen that route for our family if it had been left to her but it was the calling on my dad’s life. My mother was gifted by the Lord to fill in the gaps of my dad’s life and vice versa so that together they make a great ministry team. For example, he sings and she plays the piano … that’s how they met. But the greatest way you will see this demonstrated is that my mother has the spiritual gift of mercy and my dad has the spiritual gift of prophecy. And both of them I think score 100% in that area. 🙂

Over the years, a funny sort of balance occurred between them and their gifts. My mother has a bleeding heart for everyone but her children when it comes to discipline. Ha. And oddly enough my dad was the more merciful one in that area. However, when it comes to the emotional stuff and you need a sweet word stir clear of my daddy … he’s just not equipped there and he knows it. He has had me share these examples before at a deacons retreat so I’m not saying anything he hasn’t heard before. So here’s a glimpse of growing up with a prophet pastor dad …

Advice on Dating and Marriage: “Melody, you should really consider going to seminary. Most girls end up married before they graduate unless they are just downright ugly.” Thanks, Daddy. By the way, I have yet to go to seminary … I haven’t wanted to test his theory.

After crying to him about a guy that didn’t like me: “Really? You liked him? He’s never seem interested in you.” Thanks for confirming it … wahhhhhh!

My Senior year in HS I told my Daddy I was nominated for Basketball Homecoming Court and would need him to escort me: *laughter first* “Um, sure.” In my dad’s defense this was so far fetched that I was nominated that I get the laughter because I laughed in horror too. 🙂

Anytime I had a complaint over something not being fair: “Who said life would be fair?” Face palm. At least he listened to my complaint first. Ha!

Asking him, after asking my mom, if I could get my ears pierced again at 18 (second holes): “If you want to look like a freak go right ahead, you’re 18.” I was quite pleased with that answer, however, my mom was sticking her head out of the kitchen looking at him annoyed … when she said “ask your father” she expected a no! In his defense, he didn’t know what I meant and after I had them done he looked for some weird spot on my ear for the piercings instead of directly next to my original piercings. He was quite pleased with the results. 🙂 

Finally, my sister and I shared a room for 8 years. She is 6 years younger than me. This started to become an issue after I hit 16. Her tastes in sports and my taste for more feminine things left us butting heads a great deal. One night I was sitting on my parents’ bed lamenting to my dad over it and here’s how that conversation went …

Me: “You don’t get it. It’s so hard sharing a room with someone who is 6 years younger than me!”

Daddy: “I totally get it. I share a room with someone who is 6 years younger than me too … your mom!” *proudly laughing to himself*

Me: *rolling my eyes in frustration and humor* “But you chose to marry mom! That’s not the same.”

Dad: … still laughing at himself …

Me: “UGH!”

He still thinks he was so clever for that come back! He may not be the overly sensitive type but like I said he and my mom balance each other out well. If you are in a crisis and need a calm head then he’s the one you call on. He has a great sense of humor that can occasionally come out as dry. He has a lot of stories from goofy things he did with his brother, cousins and friends growing up that I never get tired of hearing. He’s the one that my brother, sister and I get the trait of “being so tickled over a story we are trying to tell we can’t get it out” from.

He is who is he is and he doesn’t apologize for that … and he’s not going to change because people want him to. See, he’s read through the Bible every year since he was 26 years old as a part of his daily quiet time. After 38 years, he knows to Whom he belongs to and does not waiver from that. He will call a spade a spade but he has gentled in his approach even though some may not think so.

I have seen him go through some fierce fires in the church and come forth as gold. He has allowed us to walk beside him and bear the burdens, when appropriate, with him. I know of several times that he has gone to battle for our family due to various attacks and I am sure there are more that I don’t know of. He knew his kids weren’t and aren’t perfect but that didn’t mean we could be targets for others. He lives with integrity. He is the one that taught me that word long before I knew the definition because he lived it out before me. So while I may have wanted to beg him to have mercy, please a time or two when it came his prophet based responses with me, he is “perfect” just the way he is.

Yep, it’s all his fault that I am PK but I wouldn’t want to be any other pastor’s kid.

 

PK Life

We See You

We see you …

Yes, you.

The two, three, ten, fifteen or more huddled after the service discussing your frustrations about or over our dad.

We hear you …

Pick apart his sermon like he needs your critique after spending hours upon hours in the Word of God and on his face seeking the Lord for today’s message.

We see you …

When you leave every Sunday after Sunday School, Bible Fellowship or Life Group so you don’t have to hear the message the Lord has given him.

We hear you …

Complain about our mom missing one women’s ministry meeting, out of the 3 years we’ve been here, because she came to our ballgame … yet you haven’t been to a Wednesday night prayer meeting in months.

We see you …

Roll your eyes, vigorously shake your head, or turn blood red in the Business meeting when the church votes on a different (and better) roofing company’s bid than the company your child owns.

We hear you …

Criticize us for being late to Sunday School or Youth Group yet your kids never come themselves.

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We get that there are expectations, realistic and unrealistic, placed on our dad and our family because we are in the ministry. We are just asking for grace – the same you would want extended to you and your children should your every move be watched.

We also want you to know that thanks to you we are having honest conversations with our parents about what it means to be like Christ vs. walking in the flesh, how to recognize those exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit and praying for God to bless those who hurt us (even when we really don’t want to).

We see you and we hear you … and may I humbly remind you, so does our Heavenly Father.

May we all commit James 1:19-20 to memory and action for the sake of the Kingdom of God …

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20

**Some of these moments are from my life and others are things I have heard about. However, each example could easily apply to any church of any size at any time.**

PK Life

I Surrender But Not to This

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Sixteen years ago today I was at my state’s Youth Evangelism Conference in Nashville, TN. I was sitting in the basketball arena of Vanderbilt University when I wrote in the margin my blue leather NIV tabbed Bible next to Proverbs 3, a prayer surrendering my dating life to the Lord. However, it is what’s not written that means more to me about that day than those few sentences of surrender alone. I remember looking over to my mom who was one of our chaperones for that trip and telling her “I think the Lord is calling me to ministry.” She smiled that all-knowing mom smile … you know the one that says “I already knew this.” … and asked if I wanted to go forward as she would go with me. I shook my head no.

I wasn’t ready then. I was so scared that He was going to call me to missions that I didn’t want to surrender at that point, plus I didn’t know what I was truly surrendering too. I mean I knew ministry … it was my whole life. I am a pastor’s kid but what would ministry for me look like? I don’t believe in women being called as pastors of churches so I knew that wasn’t it. (On a side note, if you are woman pastor … your calling is between you and the Lord. I am not going to tell you that you haven’t been called. I just know that I have not because my understanding of scripture is that a man is to be the head of the church like he is to be the head of the home. I truly believe this but I respect you for doing something I believe is incredibly hard.) I knew I could be on staff at a church as a women’s director or a children’s director. I knew I could serve Him by ministering through music on a full-time basis but that would take a mighty move of the Lord for that to happen. I’ll be honest, I figured He was calling me to something far worse than missions. I figured he would just have me marry a pastor and I would serve as a pastor’s wife. Oh the horror!

It was after I had seen a husband preach and his wife sing before his message that I surrendered to the call on my life. I surrendered in June of 2000 at the age of 16. In my mind, the Lord had laid out His plan for my life through the ministry of my friends Rob and Jill Callistro. I wanted to do what they were doing. Each using their gifts and talents to minister and share the Gospel. Their ministry was so different from your typical pastor’s family because at that point Rob was a traveling evangelist and Jill went with him. I was good with that. I would totally sign up for that call. Yep, let’s hit the road, Baby. I’ll sing and you’ll preach. We’ll lead people to Christ, encourage the local pastor’s family and then move on to the next church.  It was and still is a beautiful aspiration but the problem is … there’s no guy! Besides who in their right mind would actually want to be a pastor’s wife or an evangelist’s wife?

Ministry is hard. Being in the family of someone in the ministry can be straight up awful. My mother is the most amazing woman I know. Her spiritual gift of mercy balances my dad’s gift of prophecy in a way that only God could have designed. I wonder even now if my mom has teeth marks from biting her tongue over the years but I am pretty sure she doesn’t as it is not in her nature to lash out anyway. But I will give you a head’s up if you start to hear her say “Jehovah God” it’s best to just get out of the way because that means someone has finally broken through her almost impenetrable wall and she is praying for the Spirit to take over her flesh. And when that has happened chances are you have said something really ugly about my dad or you have unjustly criticized her children. Oh, and don’t even think about EVER saying anything negative about my nephew or any future nieces or nephews. You won’t have to worry about hearing my mom say “Jehovah God” because I will be coming at you full swing. 🙂 Anyway, I digress … my family is not violent by nature but ministry can call to violent side in you. Seriously. It can.

Ministry is lonely. You never know who you can trust, especially if you are working in a church. I have had people, that I thought I could trust, take a conversation we had and throw it back in my dad’s face at a committee meeting. But since I have always been honest with my parents, my dad already knew of the conversation and knew that they were twisting the meaning of my words to try to hurt him. That lie was quickly stopped. Sometimes the PKs are popular in the church youth group and sometimes they are not. And heaven forbid, you be an introvert as well!  Which is something I have only discovered in the last 6 years about myself … this would have saved me a ton of grief during my teen years when it came to certain events that I just didn’t want to participate in. But to this day, I still struggle with trust … I have set up some walls where, yes, I will tell you my life story but you won’t know my true feelings on any given situation. I have been told that my face reveals everything I am feeling but I think most would be surprised to know that they have only been given a glimpse at what I am processing. I have 6 precious girlfriends all from my different churches and various life stages that I truly trust. 3 are 10 years older than me. 3 are my age or slightly younger. All of these friendships except 1 came about in my 20s and all of these friendships have seen me through so hard ministry stuff. Only two of these friendships started while my dad was their pastor too. It’s just too hard.

So why would I want to surrender to that?

Because ministry is also one of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of it. I have 6 amazing friendships with some wonderful women that I wouldn’t have were it not for my dad’s ministry. Ministry calls to me like nothing else can. It’s in my soul. Ministry causes you to step out of your comfort zone, acknowledge your weakness and fully rely on His strengths to get you through a situation. It wipes you out and He fills you up. And just when you have nothing left to give He breathes a fresh word or gives you a new perspective that spurs you on for His glory.

Ministry isn’t about you. It’s about Him. At least it is when it’s done the right way.

I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me but I feel like this year is marking a turning point in my life and I am pretty sure it is not to be a pastor’s wife. Praise you, Jesus!! However, after finally accepting, at 19, that I needing to surrender to whatever He may call me to … even foreign missions I will bear whatever cross He gives me. (Feel free to applaud now. Just kidding.) In all seriousness, though, I believe I am being called to the hard but I know it will also be beautiful. In the meantime, I am seeking His direction and trusting His hand.

It feels weird to be able to say that 16 years ago I was 16 but it’s true.  There is something about this year … I can feel it with every fiber of my being … it going to be hard and beautiful … for now, it’s going to be lonely … and I can’t wait but I am until He says go.

I love you all!

Blessings …

– Melody Faith