Adjustment...What Adjustment?

Mike Losey, a good friend and long time volunteer in our ministry, recently asked me this question: 'Kurt, what's the biggest adjustment you've made now that your daughter is in our junior high ministry'
Great question.
Simple answer.

I've made no adjustments. Well, I guess the only tweak I've made is that I tell fewer stories about my daughter, but other than that I have purposely made no adjustments. Let me explain.

The way I see it, Kayla didn't chose to be born into the family of a Pastor let alone her own youth pastor! My wife and I decided early on that we would never expect more from our kids just because they were PK's. I'm raising my kids as a man who is a Christ-follower not as a man who is a Pastor. Personally, as a Christ-follower, I would have no problem if Kayla wanted to dye her hair hot pink. So, as a Pastor, I have no problem with it either. As a Christ-follower, I'm paying close attention to the choices she is making. I'm doing the same thing as a Pastor.

Here's another example.
Kids talk to each other and pass notes during my lessons all the time. When it gets to be too much, we address it with the kids right then and there. I rarely track the kids down after church for a follow up or ask the parents to talk to the kids. So, if Kayla is being distracting or having an 'off' night at church, we address it just like I would any other student. But, I'm no more likely to have a follow up conversation with her than with any other student. It wouldn't be fair to her...the other kids don't have to go to dinner with their youth pastor and get an addition helping of 'why don't you behave in church?'

So maybe that's actually a big adjustment. I tend to think it feels more like no adjustment.

I'm hoping and praying that I can be a really good dad to my daughter and that I can be a good youth pastor to her too.


Losey said...

Good answer. As Kurt knows I have had all three of my kids go through our ministry in the last ten years and it was an adjustment for me to stand back and watch, rather than jump in and make sure they were involved in everything about the ministry. I woudl expect any other kid to be at every service or every event, so it wasnt fair for me to expect the same of t my kids.

The other huge adjustment (Kurt didnt address it) was the advise I would give a parent of a JH student was much easier to give out that it was to apply to my kids.

Kurt is very modest.....he is a GREAT Pastor AND Parent.

Eric Lindquist said...

I have a rule or suggestion I use with my volunteers. I try and have the leaders kids have someone else besides their parent discipline them. It serves 2 purposes... the first is that they do not feel like they have their parent watching them all the time (other students don't have their parent always there so why should they feel like they do). Second it removes thoughts of favoritism if they are getting out of line or doing something inappropriate the other leader will treat them like all the other students and discipline them when needed.

David Moss said...

I have had 3 of my 4 children in youth group while I've been headin' it up. The biggest question I always have to ask myself is "Is my child's behavior bothering me only as his parent/father or is it bothering what is happening with the group?" The answer affects my response.

Other than that I make sure my kids aren't in small group with me.

We actually have quite a few parents of youth as volunteer leaders and it has worked out very well - as long as they can discern the difference between "parent" and "youth volunteer".

Rob C said...

Kurt, I'd be intersted sometime in hearing more about how you guys handle distractions in your services. You noted that you address it "right then and there," but is it handled from the person upfront, or from table leaders, or other adult leaders? I hate using the upfront role to have students stop passing notes or re-focus, but I also find that some of them won't respond to other leaders. I'd be interested to hear more thoughts or future discussions in this direction. Thx!

mdaele said...

great post
have two of my boys in my ministry now and it is important to stay the course
one of the things i have found difficult is that I find myself being harder on my kids than on the other kids interms of what I expect behaviourly