By Paul Ilo [The Pastor's Son (3rd Edition) -- Real life stories for everyone especially parents and minister's children]
He was a father of five, one a prodigal, most of them raised during his service in three Pastoral roles. He had been an adjunct Professor at a major Bible college. He lost his wife when he was fifty years old after a protracted disease. He was called the great Pastor Jack Sharp. He couldn’t predict how the same love and training he gave to his children would produce fantastic results in one case and a heartbreak (even if temporary) in another.
Everything had been fine five years before now. Many people thought that he had a scar less and perfect family.
He had two daughters and three sons, with one of them “in the oven”. His firstborn, a male was a Pastor already married. His second born finished first in his class during his MBA and magna cum laude (with honours) in Law school. He and his wife were active in their church and expecting their second child later in the year. His fourth born finished college and seminary (summa cum laude) in four and a half years, served on the mission field and worked in Germany with the daughters of missionaries. She was a teacher in a Christian school, and was thirty eight weeks pregnant with Pastor Jack Sharp’s third grandchild. His fifth child, also a female was rounding off her first year in a Christian college and was very involved in Church work.
His "prodigal" child, the third born, was a rambunctious, but faithful church member and evidently Christian kid, until he went off to college to become a Pastor, dropped out in the spring of his sophomore year, got into all kinds of unhelpful, unhealthy and unchristian stuff. He broke his parents’ hearts and finally married his girlfriend (eloping). Few weeks after the marriage, his wife took off her ring, left the house, and said that she was "open to other relationships." He was bewildered and devastated.
He became addicted to two illegal substances, and ended up nearly dying last fall when a case of pneumonia (aggravated by heavy smoking and hanging out in smoke filled bars) turned septic and the doctors removed half of his right lung.
As part of Pastor Jack Sharp’s daily bible reading and devotional time, he often prayed for every one of his children and families. Understanding how four could go so far in one direction and just one so far in another was a mystery.
How do you expect Pastor Jack to feel after serving God for the most part of his life? Sad, I presume. Yes, it left a pain that never went away entirely in his heart. He was perpetually sad and blue for the remaining part of His life. Disillusionment, disenchantment and a feeling of gloom became the orders of the day in his life. Pastor Jack Sharp was crushed. He died few years later due to a malignant neoplastic disease. No doubt, that man died as an unhappy and unfulfilled man.
The prodigal son is now twenty five years old and I pray that God will change his heart and incline it toward Himself.
Several cases like this abound in the world today about Pastors’ children. Everywhere you turn and whatever you turn on, you see many Pastors’ children doing wrong things. Though several Pastors’ children are doing well, the de facto shows that there are many who are not doing well.
Individual difference is as true of humanity as it is of nature. I have asked myself several times why the trend is like this almost everywhere. It is the order of the day in first world nations, second world nations and third world nations. Why are Pastors’ Children misbehaving? Why do we see many of them on the wrong side?
The answer is simply because Pastors’ Children are a set of privileged and blessed children. God ordained and set us apart for His use. We are unique and apostolically blessed for great assignments. This special nature is open to several challenges. This is because the devil naturally attacks any good thing.
I believe that several Pastors’ children fail and misbehave because they do not understand the purpose behind their presence in a priestly home. They therefore aid the enemy’s effort to maraud their parents’ visions with their actions. There is an essence behind your existence in your family. You landed there for a purpose. You found yourself there because purpose took you there. This purpose must be fulfilled. Remember, your purpose has an enemy but the good news is that you were wired for victory. With this understanding and drive, you are on the right track.
“And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel,that they may minister unto me in the Priest’s office, even Aaron,Nadab and Abihu, Eleazer and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”
In the excerpt above, Pastor Aaron was commissioned for a specific task. He received an assignment from God but God knew he would not be able to do it alone so he mandated that “his sons” be involved in the process.
When God gives a priest an assignment, it automatically becomes the vision of his family. God always wants every member of the family to care, share and nurture the vision to fruition. God’s call to pastors is a call to lead, save souls and destinies, support many, rescue the perishing, care for the dying, love and help. The elements in this triad cannot be done by the priest alone. It’s not meant to be the Pastor alone. He cannot fulfil the vision alone. Every Pastor needs his family, several vision bearers and interpreters to operate maximally and fulfill his ministerial mandate. Little wonder Pastor Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Emphasis mine)
He knew he was not meant to do it alone. He knew that alone, he would struggle and fumble. He said “me and my house” and not “me alone”. Alone, the minister may go far but with the right support, he will go further. He needs “his house” to survive and thrive in the assignment.
At a point in his life, a man known as Pastor Moses 3 as great as he was, needed the help of Pastor Aaron and Mr. Hur to keep a particular staff held up high in order to lead his people to victory in a brawl against another nation. Pastor Aaron and Mr. Hur were available to help and victory was sealed. In another related incident, Pastor Joshua needed Pastor Moses to help him in a project. Pastor Moses was available and the project was tremendously successful. Pastor Moses was also helped by some elders at another point. 4
Pastors and indeed everyone need people to fulfill their destiny. They cannot do it alone. You are one of the men required to get the job done. How come many of us are not available? Things seem to be falling apart. We are busy running up and down. Nobody seems to be interested in changing the statusquo.
Will it continue like this? My answer is no! Never! We will re-write the trend with positive actions. Yes, we will! We occupy strategic positions in the church. We have specific roles to play for God and we won’t fail Him.
One of my folks around here is a daughter of a priest in the United States. The only thing she is proud of about her father is the prestige associated with her father’s priestly position. What she knows about ministry and church are fun, enjoyment and prestige. She lacks an understanding of her place in her father’s ministry. There are many people like this out there. God is not happy with this situation because he didn’t intend it to be so.
I have wondered and ruminated several times about the essence of my presence in my parents’ family. At a point when things were not rosy, when “suffering” was the order of the day in our house, as a young chap, I blamed God for sending me into a “priestly home”. I would look at rich men and their children and ask God questions like “why didn’t you allow me to be born into that family?” and “how come I found myself here?” But when I discovered God’s purpose in my life (I discovered this very early in life), I made a firm decision to lead and live a life of purpose, leadership and service. I consciously decided that I will always stand for the truth and support the expansion of the kingdom with everything I have.
Dear Pastors’ children, God decided to send you to that priestly home as a veritable tool for kingdom expansion. You are not there by accident. How come you found yourself there and not in your neighbour’s family? Purpose is the intent behind everything God indulges in. You are there on an assignment. You will be judged based on this assignment.
“ ‘Fear God’, He shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge.”
One beautiful morning, while meditating, God told me that He wanted me to do more in my parents’ ministry. He said I have not been supporting their ministry very well. I was so surprised when I heard this. I felt I had done alot even as a young minister. Then I stood up and humbly prayed a prayer. I said ‘God, you know I love you, I want to do more, help me to do more, bless me to do more’. Immediately, I made up my mind to work towards buying an equipment that would enhance the growth of the church. I didn’t have a dime to purchase the equipment at that point. I just made up my mind that I would get it. Few days later, while discussing with a friend, I mentioned my experience and new resolve to him and he voluntarily decided to support me to get the equipment.
God is always ready to use you! Will you release yourself? You are not in that family to watch things unfold, you are there to make things unfold. That is why you found youself there!
What I have done?
Through God’s leading and a discovery of purpose, I have set up a system that helps several people in my parents’ ministry. I have been able to set a standard that other Pastors’ children both within and outside the church seek to emulate.
What you can do?
You need to be conscientiously committed to your purpose. Where the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. Don’t abuse your position.
What I will do?
I will do more than before. Good things can be improved to become better and better things can be improved to become best things. I will pray, give and go to make the kingdom expand. I intend to set up a model system that many people will follow for maximum impact and further fulfilment of the vision.