I spent a good part of Father’s Day with my Dad this past Sunday – first, watching my son Josh’s baseball game (which they won 19-16 and he got the game ball!), and then hanging out at his house. Hanging out reminded me of what a terrific job he has done in being both a Dad and Pastor – two roles that sometimes compete and often conflict. So this list is a thank you to my Dad; some encouragement to fathers out there and some ideas for those of us that are both fathers and pastors. Here are four things my Dad did right as a pastor:
- HE PLAYED CATCH WITH ME. Playing catch may not sound like a big deal. But it made a lasting impression on me the day I walked into my Dad’s office and saw taped to his filing cabinet the outline of a daily schedule. On that schedule was stuff like devotionals, meetings, sermon prep time, etc. But at the end of the afternoon it said, “5:00 pm – play catch with the boys”. My Dad was busy. He would tell you that sometimes he was too busy, but what I remember is that he always made time to play catch in the back yard; play basketball in the driveway – he made time for me.
- HE LOVED MY MOM MORE THAN ME. There was never any doubt in our house who was Dad’s favorite – Mom! He would often whisper to me, “think you will ever find a wife as good as I did?” One of the best things my Dad did was loving my Mom and letting me know it.
- HE ALWAYS TALKED POSITIVE ABOUT THE CHURCH. Growing up as a pastors kid was a positive experience for me. I grew up thinking it was a postive, not a negative to be the pastors kid. I felt that way because I grew up in a terrific church. But it wasn’t always terrific – couldn’t have been. But my Dad loved and still loves the church and he made it a discipline to talk positive about the church.
- HE WAS THE SAME PERSON AT HOME AND AT CHURCH. Dad was and is remarkably consistent. When people would say, “Your Dad is such a loving man” or “Your Dad is a good leader”, I never thought, “oh, you should see him at home.” No, he wasn’t perfect; I could tell some stories. But he was the same guy at home that he was at church.