DAD NEEDED AT HOME When my daughter was eight, she probably wanted to post this sign on our front porch. I was serving as pastor of a growing church in a rapidly growing community. I visited people 3-4 nights a week and welcomed them into our growing fellowship. It was rewarding and exhilarating for a young pastor. Then one night as my wife tucked in my daughter, she asked, "Why is my Daddy never home to tuck me in at night like Gracie's dad?" (Gracie was her friend from school.)
When I got home, Meri told me what she said and asked me to think about it. She didn't chastise me or tell me to be home more. She just let these words settle in my mind and heart. I felt convicted and knew I had to change. It took me almost six months to fix my schedule and ween the church from dependency on their "always available" pastor.
Now I pastor a mega church with over 126 years of history. We are experiencing lots of change: economic, social and cultural. We are very blessed and have a loving fellowship. people are attracted to our ministries. I was talking to my pastoral counselor about this and he said he saw a link between these two stories.
Maybe what my church needs more than anything is a pastor who is simply at home with them. Not necessarily in all their homes (an impossible idea given our size) A pastoral shepherd who is a non-anxious presence like a loving father and wise leader. Someone who speaks up when he has something significant to say and stays quiet when he simply needs to listen and let others navigate their way through the maze of change all around us.
This will be a new role for me. Yet I know I need to change too. I'm so glad I made that important change to be home over 13 years ago. Being at home wherever God places you is a wondrous gift.