Wednesday, November 02, 2005


the kids knew
the calling was clear
the pressure was on
we are needed here

careful, everyone’s watching
don’t drop the ball
we don’t care who you are
or what you’re going through

we walk in the light and it’s bright

they gave us the power to sink the ship
wouldn’t want to live with that shame
they told us that grace was good
we all hoped we wouldn’t have to need it

a poem for mk's, pk's and anyone who grew up with parents in ministry...


Aaron said...

wow.... well said fatty.
this sums up a lot of what i've been processing lately. while i was never an MK or a PK, i am now a P... and i grew up in a good religious Baptist church, in a model family, dad's an elder in the church, the nicholson's have it all together, expectations to keep it together on the outside just like everyone else at church.... so now, years later i'm back at the very same church (like a dog returning to its vomit??) ;) ... and i'm thinking about the same thing as a father and a husband... how does the limelight affect my family? how does it affect me?

anyway, my thoughts could go on and on... but i think you've done a great job encapsulating some once dormant thoughts that have recently been brought to the surface in my life...

a couple questions for dialogue if you're interested...
>how do those of us as leaders/pastors/missionaries/people in ministry deal with the monster of the limelight, higher (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations of us?
>how do those of us who are not in leadership begin to change this idea of putting pastors, missionaries, and other leaders on a pedestal and keeping them at arm's length-- and allow them to be people who are given room to fail, be human, and be afforded grace?

elnellis said...

good questions fatty, this is something i have been wrestleing with for a long time, in my own life and seeing it all around me. the pressure is huge- and i never want my kids to have to feel it like that if i go into ministry. for me, a healing step has to do with a soteriological shift in my theology. i feel like so much unneeded pressure (on those in leadership and on the children) comes from a "once and for all" theology of salvation- or seeing it as an event, instead of an ongoing process or journey. the biggest thing we were concerned with was watching one's 'testimony' so as not to be a stumbling block to others. this, of course, has value, but when it becomes the main point, image becomes everything. the task of the community becomes to never cast a negative light on the ministry, giving everything a facad of perfection. implicit was the assumption that exposed sin has the potential to ruine the ministry. to fail on any level is unacceptable and shameful, making grace only for them, not us (we don't need it). but to begin to see salvation as a paradox of "already" and "not yet" is to grant everyone permission to be human and to struggle and to finally be in need of God on a daily basis.
again, there are so many issues, expectations and pressures involved in this category. it is definitly one that i am passionate about and want to learn more about in order to understand myself and be wise with how i raise my son.

Andrea said...

Phil, Thanks so much for these thoughts they are awesome, I really feel like that alot, anyways, that really helps sum up a lot of what we go through as mks. Thanks, Andrea

elnellis said...

thanks for commenting andrea... i was curious as to what your experience of this might be. it's an at once awesome and awful way to grow up...

Anonymous said...

Phil, thanks. You put words to what we all have felt to different degrees. --Keah

nathan Barrett said...

I like this discussion. As an mk this sums up a lot of stuff. I never though of this life and put the stewardship aspect on it, in which I am responsible for what I've been given, a life as an mk and the ability to really mess up my parents ministry. That is huge! I studied a little bit on this at Moody. I found in interviews with mk's (for pk's too) that 1. if the child is not involved is some meaningful way with the ministry then it isn't a ministry to them and therefore they don't see it as important enough and therefore can find it difficult to connect with a ministry heart and therefore their parents - too much protection or univolvement. 2. If they are over-involved and experience everything that that involves then they feel the opposite, which is that the ministry is more important than them, and they can (not always) begin to resent the people, ministry and environment that their parents minister in. It is in the middle ground where we need to lead them. The ministry is important and their involvement is key, but it isn't more important than them. My father always said that if it came down to it he would prioritize like this #1 - wife, #2 - kids, #3 - ministry. He believed that God can allow all to work together with some expected bumps in the road, but if necessary this is where he would go as a principle.

Interesting stuff. Loving this site Phileepay!