The rewards include well developed social skills, opportunities for interaction with spiritual leaders, and resiliency. On the other hand, it is well documented that minister’s children are under a microscope and often held to higher standards than other children. Based upon God’s commands to Moses, here are some guidelines for the pastor in the role of parent:
- You shall not place your ministry or church as a higher priority than God and your family.
Instead you shall remember that your first call is to be a minister to your family as a spouse and as a parent.
- You shall not make idols for yourself.
Remember to “use” things and “love” people….not the other way around. This will model for your children a healthy perspective on material things as well as placing a higher value on relationships.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
Instead you shall model for your children a healthy submission to God’s authority and submission to other constituted authorities. Children will learn that we are all under authority. This structure is God’s provision for our guidance and safety.
- You shall keep a day of the week as your day off.
This “Sabbath” day is a day to rest, refresh, renew and recreate. Model for your children that the world (and ministry) goes on without you and that a Sabbath rest is a wonderful gift of God.
- You shall honor your own parents.
This models for your children a healthy inter-generational perspective of care and sacrificial living.
- You shall not murder.
In practical ways you shall model for your children how to bless those who curse you, do good to those who despitefully use you and speak well of those who speak ill of you. Further you shall model a forgiving spirit.
- You shall not commit adultery.
You shall model for your children that you are still madly in love with your spouse. This includes loving eye contact and gestures, affirming words, thoughtfulness and couple time away from the children.
- You shall not steal.
You shall model for your children a spirit of generosity, giving and serving.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
You shall model the value of building trusting relationships and nurturing several close friendships.
- You shall not covet.
You shall model a lifestyle that is devoid of complaint and one that exemplifies contentment with God’s provision.
Donald A. Lichi, PhD
Donald A. Lichi, PhD is a licensed psychologist and currently serves as the Vice President of Emerge Counseling Services.
Dr. Lichi is an adjunct professor with Trinity International University (IL), the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), the Asia Theological Center (Singapore), and All Nations Theological Seminary (Malawi, Africa). He has been a speaker at numerous conferences and workshops on pastoral health, Christian education, parenting, marriage, and family issues. He has published several articles on Christian mental health, and is the co-author of the book, Broken Windows of the Soul (Moody Press). He serves on the pastoral teaching team of the Akron Chinese Christian Church and the board of Emmanuel Christian Academy, which ministers to “at risk” children in the inner city of Akron, OH.
Dr. Lichi was in private practice for over five years, taught school, and directed a school-based counseling program for six years. He also taught for six years in the graduate school at the University of Akron. While in the United States Air Force, he served for three years in Italy and three years in Alaska. Recent ministry has taken him to India, Brazil, Thailand, Ecuador, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Romania, China, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary, Nicaragua, and Singapore.
Best of all, he is married to Marcie and they have three adult children and seven grandchildren.