When I was a youth pastor, parents called me all the time to talk about their teens. In some cases, these teens had special needs so we would develop a plan of action to address their particular circumstance. I remember one phone call in particular that caused me to really reflect on my role as a pastor. This call was a more general one that didn’t necessarily pertain to this mother’s son, but to all the teens as a whole.
“Pastor Landon, I have a concern that I would like to talk to you about.” Even as a fairly new pastor, I knew that this phrase usually led to a discussion that would immediately require a nap. “I have noticed that many of the teens have MySpace accounts (you can tell this conversation happened quite a while ago), and I don’t think that is a good idea.” I agreed in principle with this mother about how some of the teens have misused it, and how dangerous it could be. “I want you to talk to our teens about how they should stop using MySpace.”
This mother’s heart was in the right place. She wanted her son and her younger daughter to be protected. She confessed to me at the end of our talk that she has not talked to her kids about it because she didn’t think they would listen to her. As I thought about this conversation later, however, something did not sit right with me. Requesting this of a pastor begins to encroach on the purpose and mission of the pastoral office. The fact is this type of conversation is one that needs to be addressed in the home.
Ok…I will just say it out loud and allow the hate mail to pour in…The Church should not be raising your children. God gave that privilege to parents. The Church should be a resource. Pastors are called to help guide, teach, and equip the people in their congregations. Don’t get me wrong….we must be able to address cultural toxins that are hurting people, but this needs to be emphasized in the home for greatest impact. Discipleship starts around the dining room table. For those who do not live in a God-fearing home, then the Church is called to serve, love, and be an example to that household.
The next few blog posts are going to be similar in content…I want to spend some time talking about the misconceptions that people have to the pastoral office.