I’ve been a children’s pastor now for over 11 years, 7 of those full time. Yeah, I was only 18 when I started pastoringÃ‚Â 8 kids in a back building in Jenks, Oklahoma. It didn’t take me long to realize two very important points.
- Yes I had an opportunity to make a significant impact on the life of a child spiritually.
- Making a significant impact is going to be a lot harder than I would like it to be.
Personally, I am who I am today largely as the result of a children’s pastor who made a significant impact on my life. I have a great family and even attended a Christian school when younger, but it was my children’s pastor who shook me spiritually. But I know that there were many other kids just like me, sitting right next to me who didn’t end up like me. I can’t testify to anyone’s spiritual condition, but all I know is what happened to me and the few people I still keep up with.
However, I quickly learned that my opportunity to make a significant spiritual impact on my kids was a lot smaller than I expected it… or wanted it to be. For the kids who attended every week, that was 4 hours a month. Those that came on Wednesday nights too, that was 8 hours a month. But in comparison to the hundreds of hours they were subjected to dozens of other influences, I realized that I had an uphill battle if I wanted to make this “Significant Spiritual Impact.” I guess it only took me a year or two to realize that I wasn’t really the children’s pastor. Mom and Dad were. If I really wanted to increase my opportunity to make this impact, I needed to help mom and dad do it (something I can’t really say I’m doing well yet… convicted!) Kind of funny how the kingdom of God works, huh? The greater the impact I want to make, the less it becomes about “me.”
I named this post “The day my life changed forever…” because everyone says that when you become a parent… your life changes forever. Yeah, I know it will, and in ways I probably can’t even fathom yet. My second choice for a name for this post would be this: “The day I became a children’s pastor.” My search for the greatest opportunity to make a significant spiritual impact on a child arrived Monday night at 9:19 PM as my son Titus Whitfield Conley was born. Sometimes my greatest disappointment in ministry was when Sunday service ended and the kids went home. I wasn’t done. I wanted to love more, teach more, shape more. Now I can… starting with Titus. I see a future pregnant with amazing possibilities. I know so much of his life is out of my control, but I’m so incredibly blessed that God would grant me a son to father and pastor.
I actually blogged throughout the entire delivery process and the days following here.
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