November 9: “Children and Credibility”

8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Ezekiel 20:1-49
Hebrews 9:11-28
Psalm 107:1-43
Proverbs 27:11

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Psalm 27:11 (NLT): “Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad. Then I will be able to answer my critics.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Many have joked about “Preacher’s Kids” (PKs) for years. For some reason, many folks see humor in the fact that some preacher’s kids grow up and essentially abandon the faith.

Being a preacher’s kid, I’ve got an inside scoop on why some PKs go bad:

  • Sometimes, it’s the incredible pressure put on them as they live in the glasshouse of the pastor’s home.
  • Sometimes, it’s the overheard conversations of how “Deacon so-and-so” (or some other church members) has been treating dad or talking about him in the parking lot or committee meetings. So, they develop a distaste for the church … and maybe even the Lord.
  • Sometimes, it’s because dad has pastored churches that were content to remain spiritually dead, and the PK never got to see an alive and vibrant church that made them want to keep going.
  • Sometimes, it just happens as the PK’s sinful heart exercises its freedom.

But, sometimes, the blame falls on the pastor himself. What he appears to be in the pulpit is not what he is when he takes his family home and closes the door. The child essentially gets a front-row seat to a hypocrite and comes to believe that Christianity is a show. They base their beliefs upon what they see (and not the Bible), so they come to believe that Christianity isn’t legitimate.

I was once talking to a group of guys about credibility, especially in our homes. I told them that I had embraced the mindset of one of my former pastors. He used to say, “I can always get another church. But, if I lose my family, I may never get them back. So, my priority is my family.”

I have made this my aim. I love my wife and 3 sons so much that I want to consistently live out my faith in front of them whether I am at church or whether I am at home. As they observe how I talk, what television programs I watch, how quick I am to confess my sins, how I behave, and so much more, I want them to realize that while dad isn’t perfect, he is serious about following Jesus.

One of the reasons this is so important is because our children often demonstrate who we really are. If you want to see if a man is fit to be your pastor, look at his children. More times than not, their character will demonstrate whether or not a pastor (or pastoral candidate) is the real deal or a hypocrite. In fact, read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (esp. 4-5) to see that obedient children are a qualification for elders.

So, parents, focus on your children. And begin by focusing on yourself and your walk with Jesus. Model for your children how a Jesus-follower lives and be quick to confess your faults in front of them so that they come to realize that while you aren’t perfect, you’re the real deal. And they will be motivated to follow your path.

Then, as people wonder if you’re a hypocrite or a serious follower-of-Jesus like you appear to be at church, all they will have to do is look at your kids.

Psalm 27:11 (NLT): “Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad. Then I will be able to answer my critics.”

P.S. Of course, the best of parents can have a rebellious child. But, that should be the exception to the rule that in no way undermines the general truth of Proverbs 27:11.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to achieve success with my children and grandchildren. If I do well in nothing else, may I enjoy helping them become mature, productive adults who love You, enjoy You, and serve You. Help me live and instruct in such a way that I help them toward that end. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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