Baseball, Barbecue, and Bonding with my Boys

photo2Whether or not I want to admit it, there is a good chance my boys will one day have kids of their own. Landon, Elijah, and Everett will have the opportunity to impress the truth of God’s Word on the hearts of their children. The life I am living in front of boys today not only affects them, but also will impact my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What am I doing to intentionally set aside time for my family? Am I creating space to teach and train my kids in the admonition of the Lord? Do my boys look and say, ‘I want to be like dad when I grow up

A couple of weeks ago, I took my 2 oldest boys, to Atlanta for a weekend of baseball, barbecue, and bonding. My wife and I discussed this opportunity several months ago, and we intentionally set aside time, money, and resources to further my relationship with my boys. It was an incredible experience! After driving 8.5 hours we went to a baseball game Friday night, hung out at the hotel pool on Saturday, watched Captain America 2, and went to another game on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday evening went to Fox Bros Barbecue, one of the highest rated barbecue joints in America.

We were able to let loose the entire weekend. Music was blaring in the car every chance we got. More important than any activity we did or restaurant we ate at was the memories that will last a lifetime. We intentionally had conversations with people at the baseball field, a homeless man outside of the hotel, our waitress at the barbecue restaurant, and the front desk employee at the hotel.

Our laughter was contagious throughout the entire trip! Whether it was in the car, the hotel room, or around the pool, my two boys laughed nonstop all weekend. Even shortly after Elijah got a little bothered by the hot sun during Sunday’s game, he saw the crazy mascots running around the field and laughed hysterically. I realized the importance of letting loose with my boys and showing them what it looks like to experience an exciting, memorable moment!

photo5My boys know how to ask questions! Are we there yet? Why are we not there yet? When are we going to be there? What type of cows are those? Why is that building so tall? How did he miss that ball? How was that not a strike? What is that person eating? Why are they yelling at the umpires? But the one that struck me the most was… Why doesn’t that man have a home? Whether or not they are intentional, my boys look at me as a wealth of information, knowledge, and wisdom! It made me think – what am I filling their minds with? I do not want to brainwash my boys (unless it is about creepy county fairs or cheap all-you-can-eat buffets), but I do desire to raise them in the admonition of the Lord! Am I filling their minds with Scripture? Am I living a life that they would want to imitate?

This weekend made me realize the responsibility God has placed before me! Whether good or bad, I am setting an example to my boys of how I think they should live. How I treat my wife will affect how they treat their future spouse. How I view God will impact their personal relationship with the Father. How I react to circumstances will influence my boys’ reactive responses to issues they face.

photoAs a father, there is a huge weight on my shoulders to live a life worth imitating for the cause of Christ! Fortunately, I have a Heavenly Father who walks me through every step of my life. He has provided the greatest example of what it looks like to be a father of grace, love, forgiveness, and truth! I pray my boys experience those same characteristics in and through the legacy I am leaving them!

Proverbs 4:20-27

“20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[a] paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.”

 

Reblog: Youth Ministry Extinction Plan

Christ Centered Student Ministry Notes – Although I do not totally agree with this author, I love the theme and much of what he has to say!  As a father, I pray my kids see a great example of Christ in me!  As a youth pastor, without the partnership of parents, I am failing at my job, failing the family as a whole, and ultimately failing to live out God’s calling on my life!

Why We Need a Youth Ministry Extinction Planby Kent Evans

I love and respect the work youth pastors do. However, I hope to help make their role obsolete during my lifetime.

To all the youth pastors who wish they could write this post and not lose their job, you are welcome.

I love and respect the work youth pastors do. However, I hope to help make their role obsolete during my lifetime.

Then, these talented individuals can move onto easier ministry work like curing poverty or ridding the globe of suffering. Child’s play to a battle-tested youth pastor.

I’m a father of a youth-ministry-aged son, and here’s what I know: I and other fathers like me have a responsibility (a sacred opportunity, really) to shape our sons and daughters into godly men and women. We will be accountable for how well we held up our end of this deal.

Granted, our children will need to choose the right path later. We won’t be on the hook for every decision they make into adulthood. But, we must set them on as level a course as possible.

But, you know what too many of us do?

We turn this work over to the church.

We believe our job is to drop them off on time and let the youth pastor instill godly character. And most folks in youth ministry feel like they are swimming against a tsunami of slack parenting (there, I said it).

In two hours a week, we expect them to unwind the ill effects of the other 166.

In fact, some youth ministries essentially (but unintentionally) discourage parents from volunteering in the ministry. They don’t quite know what to do with a parent who wants to engage and walk alongside their child through this crucial life stage. They look at parents like a dog looks at a fork.

And I don’t blame them for it, I sympathize with them! We men have taken such a slack approach to fathering that we have forced them to play a role they were never meant to play: surrogate parent to our children.

I think I speak on behalf of a new generation of fathers who are taking their role seriously when I say this: We apologize for putting you in that position. We will do better in the future. Invite us to play key roles in your ministry, we will come alongside you and do our part.

I hope, in my lifetime, we witness the extinction of the youth pastor role. Not because these people aren’t doing heroic work. But because the rightful owners of this role stood up and filled it.

When I’m old and gray, I want to be taking my kids to the National Museum of Youth Ministry. I want to walk past wax statues of men and women who once played that role like the telephone switchboard operator or the ice-block delivery guy.

There will be a wing dedicated to the youth pastors at my home church—they are tireless kingdom workers.

“See boys, that there is what we used to call a ‘youth pastor’! These amazing men and women of God stood up and filled a huge gap during a crucial time in our history. Those brave souls accomplished their mission and performed mighty deeds for The Lord! They also ate a lot of pizza.”

“What happened to them, Gramps?”

“Fathers happened to them, son. Fathers happened.”