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Church or Children?

June 15, 1999

Dear Mike & Debi,
I’ve really enjoyed reading your newsletters and am currently reading your books. I am a pastor’s wife and the mother of two children, ages 4 and 19 months. I’m planning on homeschooling and am wondering if you had a “rule of thumb” as to how involved you were in your church when you were homeschooling and also having small children. In our home, things can get awfully busy without even trying. I want to be helpful to my husband and I do not in any way want to sacrifice my kids for the sake of the church. I want the right balance. Right now I’m only doing one thing in the church and quite honestly, I feel real comfortable with that. Occasionally, I feel pressured to take on more jobs in the church, but do not want my family to suffer for it.
I need your advice and wisdom. Thank you for all you do.
A Pastor’s wife,

Michael Answers

It is simple. God made the family first; the church came later. You are first a wife, then a mother, and then a housekeeper (“...keepers at home...” Titus 2:5). And now you are a schoolteacher. After that, if you have time left over, and you can involve the children so as to enhance their lives, or you can do some ministry with your husband so as to enhance his life, then go for it. If not, if at the end of the day you have run out of steam and don’t have the energy to read to the kids and to tantalize your husband (1 Cor. 7:2-5), then cut out the unnecessary—church work. God gave the ministry of the church to men (2 Tim. 2:1) that are able to minister the word as their second calling (their families being first, 1 Cor. 7:32-35), not their fifth priority, as it would be with you. If you build a great church but lose your children, or even a part of what they could have been, the rest of your life will feel like a failure. No one will remember that you didn’t do church work, but they will always remember that you were a failure at the thing that counts the most—your children.

Seek ministry that involves the kids and teaches them to minister—retirement community ministry, counseling and ministering to needy families, taking the gospel into the homes of those that have never heard, holding Bible classes in a home after school for those kids that are victimized by the Federal Behavioral Control Centers. Child Evangelism Fellowship has the kind of materials you will need for such a class. [I don’t know their address. Look it up in the phone book.] My wife was teaching classes when she was in her early teens.

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One comment on “Church or Children?”

  1. Michael, You referenced Child Evangelism Fellowship at the end of this article. I looked into this program for my children this past summer so they could get some good and fun training to share the Gospel. While the CEF foundation, materials and training are excellent, I soon discovered the music CD was, not just rock music, but extremely intense, loud, wild, agitating rock music. Also, the CEF program requires "teens" to go off on an 11 day camp away from home. So I search for an alternative. We've hitched our wagon to a "star" -- my children's Sunday School Teacher (whom we adore), who teaches a Bible class to young children in a deprived neighborhood the old fashioned way with the old songs, great stories, and Bible memorization. The kids love it! What are your thoughts on programs such as CEF that have morphed themselves to look and sound like the world? Would like your opinion on this issue. Thank you.