Thursday was actually conference “day 1” at D6 and it opened with a session that included Doug Fields and David Platt—talk about a wake up call! The rest of the day was FULL of absolutely amazing speakers like Dannah Gresh, Emmerson Eggerichs, Tim Kimmel, John McGee, and probably some others that I missed. But the first two really caught my heart and had me thinking the rest of the day.
Doug Fields’ message challenged us in our frustration and exhaustion of ministry to renew our love for Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, this is what matters most and ultimately what will fuel our ministry efforts. Doug challenged us to be leaders who…
- Can authentically say, “Follow me, as I follow Jesus”—Is Jesus the most famous person in your church? In your ministry?
- Value a collective vision—Humbly accept that we are better together than we are alone.
- Are acutely aware of the “twisters” [issues, forces, conflicts] impacting families—Are we adding to the “twisters” that families face? Are we making suggestions from the pulpit that we’re not living out at home?
Next, David Platt spoke from the premise of his book Radical. He posed the question, “How do we pour the Gospel into the next generation in a way that makes Christ’s glory known in all the world and in all generations?” David spoke from Luke 9 on the three conversations Jesus had with those that wanted to follow him. He drew these challenging exhortations to parents from this passage of Scripture:
- Teach children to treasure the person of Christ more than the possessions of this world
- Tell children that God’s Kingdom is infinitely more important than their family
- Train children to love the Lord enough to gladly leave their home behind
His talk boiled down to one statement on our purpose as parents. The goal, as Platt describes it, is:
For our kids to love a Great God in a way that would lead them to abandon the things of this world, their family, and their home in order to follow Him!
This was challenging for me as a pastor, but even more so as a parent. That’s not to say that I’m doing everything right as a pastor—far from it. It just means that I’m not nearly the man, husband, or father that God has called me to be. I think I already knew that, but God has really pressed me over the last 24 hours and made me process that fact fully.
After much thought and evaluation, my take-away that I want to share with every other preteen ministry leader is this:
My legacy is not my ministry. My legacy is my home.
God has called me into ministry, but I have a superseding call to be a man, husband, and father that follows hard after Christ. I know that I forsake my family to do ministry related tasks. I change or cancel family plans all the time because of a ministry conflict, but I hardly ever put my family obligation before the ministry. This has to change…this will change.
Ps. The night was capped off with an acoustic session with Steven Curtis Chapman that was unbelievable. He told the story of losing his daughter, Maria. The family went through so much pain and struggle, yet you can see them living in the midst of God’s sufficient grace. Everyone saw God’s grace and sovereignty in a new way as he sang, “You give and take away…my heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name.”