Oct 01, 2019

A Little Word Called Honor

As some may know, pastor appreciation is celebrated annually during October. It is an entire month dedicated to celebrating and showing honor to pastors across the globe. All of my life, I have been a witness to the impact that my parents’ ministry has had in the lives of people. I am blessed enough to have been raised not only by great pastors but also great leaders. One of their most admirable traits is that they serve people well. As such, numerous congregation members have graciously and honorably blessed them, particularly during pastor appreciation month. Growing up, I recall several occasions, one in particular, that my parents received a very generous gift.

During my junior year of high school, I remember the church staff and executive leadership team purchased my father his dream car, a 2010 Chevy Camaro with silver exterior and black interior. She was beautiful! I remember more specifically that the moment the staff drove to our house, smiles and all, for the big reveal, it brought tears to my parents’ eyes. This memory stands out to me because up to that point I had only seen my parents cry on a couple of occasions. My parents rarely allowed my siblings and I to see them caught up in their emotions. So this scene stands out to me for obvious reasons. I was shocked. I expected my parents to be overjoyed, but never expected them to shed tears.

I could see that they weren’t simply tears of joy or shock, but that they were tears of humility. My parents were humbled that the team would sacrifice so greatly and express such a true and noble act of love and honor in the way in which they did. The team didn’t offer this gift because they were obligated to do so, but because they wanted to. They wanted to honor their pastor in a way that was personal to him. This was an act of kindness my parents never could have demanded, asked for, or even expected. It was in this expression of honor that I look back on now, nearly ten years later, and appreciate so greatly. But if I am being honest, back then, at seventeen years old, I didn’t understand the significance of my parents’ impact, nor the responsibility that was upon their shoulders.

Like many pastor’s kids I am sure, I at times, felt uncomfortable and even annoyed at how others “honored” my parents. As a teen with a streak of rebellion; I perceived it more as “kissing up” rather than a true act of appreciation and honor. Up until adulthood, the word honor always had a negative connotation to me. I think it was because I always felt pressure from some well-meaning, yet insensitive church members, to honor my pastors in the same manner the congregation did. I was told often not only to honor, but how I should honor. But for me, that didn’t sit right. What was I supposed to do? Bow down and worship the ground they walked on every time they entered the room? That is how I perceived most congregation members and staff to behave.

Like most teens, especially those who are pastor’s kids (let’s be honest, we have a slither of rebellion waiting to surface at every opportunity) we tend to do the exact opposite of what we are asked or expected to do. Because I felt pressured to express my love and affection for my parents in the same manner in which the congregation did, I naturally, did the opposite. This led to a few rebellious years and some poor, though not life-impacting, decisions. My life felt already like it was under a microscope that the entire congregation was peering through, now the church was going to dictate how I honored my parents? Not going to happen!

I want to talk for a moment about that word honor. You may be reading this thinking, “Yes! I feel the same way!” Allow me to release you from something: You honor your parents because they are your parents, period. They are your parents before they are your pastors. Exodus 20:12 instructs us, “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” We are to honor our parents not because of what they do, but because of who they are. Your parents love you and sacrifice daily for you, and are more than deserving and worthy of your honor and appreciation. You don’t have to feel pressured to express that honor in a specific way, or according to the standards of others. Rather, find small ways to honor: take out the garbage without being asked, offer to wash the dishes after dinner, or offer to take a quick trip to pick up a few groceries. Honor is not defined by a set of actions, but more so by the intentions of your heart. Honor is one of the values at my church, and we define this trait as “not allowing the uncommon to become common.” Find the attributes your parents possess that are uncommon amongst some of your friends’ parents, or amongst society and culture today, and praise them for it. Perhaps it is the way they express their love for you, their sense of humor, or their warm embrace that sets them apart. Whatever it may be, I encourage you to seek it, embrace it, and praise it.

It is important as well to remember that in the same way our relationship with the church and its members changes as we age, the same is true for the congregation. Their relationship and view of you are shifting as well, so be patient with those who may find it challenging to see you as a young adult, maturing in your own right. I remember feeling the calling to ministry at the age of eighteen and began to pursue. At first, it seemed challenging to prove myself as an individual, separate from my parents. It was a daunting task trying to step out of my father’s shadow, earning respect from the congregation. But what I realize now is, for the most part, I already had! And so do you. Your congregation more than likely thinks highly of you and is proud of your accomplishments and endeavors. At first, it may not seem as such, but they are adjusting to your growing independence as well, so be patient and stay encouraged. Frustration and attempting to make a name for yourself will do you no good. Instead, continue to serve wholeheartedly and in submission to authority. Whether or not your congregation sees or acknowledges your intentions and service is irrelevant. God sees it, and He will reward you for it.

And for anyone reading this that may not be a pastor’s kid, keep in mind that your pastor needs your prayers, and your pastor’s family needs your prayers as well. Ministry is a family calling, at least for the season that the children are living in the home, and pastor’s wives and children face attacks from the enemy often. The most devastating way the enemy can attack a pastor is through his family. Keep them lifted and surrounded in prayer. If you are a leader, staff member, or faithful congregant, take up the mantle to pray for, and when the opportunity presents itself, guide and teach your pastor’s children. Teach in a loving and gentle manner. We value your wisdom, but oftentimes shy from it due to fear or a preconceived idea that asking for help or guidance means we have failed. Be a defensive warrior against the enemy and his attacks against your pastor’s family.

I want to end with this quote by William Shakespeare:

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

I believe that you were made great, will achieve greatness, and at times, may have greatness thrust upon you through unexpected or seemingly unfortunate circumstances.

As a pastor’s kid, I know that we constantly fight the crippling thought that any amount of greatness, influence, or blessing we achieve or receive has not been earned, but rather, given. I use to feel so insignificant as if I had no purpose at all but to be my father’s son. Many of you may feel that way. Know that is a lie from your enemy! As an adult, I now recognize that yes, I have been given opportunity and favor because of what my last name is, BUT…God could have chosen anyone to be the child of my parents. He chose me. And He chose you! God chose you before the foundations of the earth to be who you are. And if you feel called into ministry as I did, great! But if not, that is great too! There is no pressure to follow in your parents’ footsteps. God has a unique calling and purpose upon your life. But understand that while you live at home, under your parents’ roof, you are called to ministry as a family. Don’t fear it or shy away from it, embrace who God has called and chosen you to be. The mantle upon you is great, and at times it can feel overwhelming, but that is only because God has already laid it into the foundations of the earth that you are the perfect fit!

YOU my friend were made for this!

By <a href="https://pastorskids.org/author/tyler-gramling/" target="_self">Tyler Gramling</a>

By Tyler Gramling

Tyler Gramling is an anointed leader, pastor, communicator, and visionary. He is passionate about inspiring this generation to become everything that God has created them to be. His dynamic and fresh approach to life’s issues keeps him on the cutting edge of ministry. His teaching style combines challenging truth, humor, and transparency. His passion is fueled by his strong belief that this is the generation that God desires to use to change the world. Tyler and his wife Amber have one child, Lyon Rock, who is the center of their world. They reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where they serve on staff at Potential Church, a multi-site church with campuses spanning across the globe, and with a membership of over 20,000 people. Tyler sits on the executive leadership team and provides leadership to multiple Potential Church campuses. Tyler is making an impact as he helps people connect with God, live for Christ, and step boldly into their God-given destiny.