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  • Baptist Beacon

Five joys of raising your child in a church plant

by Emily Guyer

ANN ARBOR, MI - I was really afraid to raise pastors' kids.

The narrative surrounding the experience of pastors' kids has been disparaging. I didn't know if it was possible to raise children who genuinely loved the Lord and the local church with parents in ministry. Over the years, I have gone on my own journey gleaning wisdom about how to point my kids to Jesus. I am not sure I'm doing any of it "right" per se, but I can say that I am more hopeful and rejoice in the environment that I get to raise my children than I have ever been before.

As a church planter's wife with four children, I often have conversations with other Christians about what it's like to raise children in a church plant setting. We have had solid Christian families who wanted to partner with us in ministry in our city ultimately decline the invitation to join us because they were hesitant to put their children in this type of church context.

I get it. Honestly, I do. Each family situation is different, and I wholeheartedly applaud whatever a parent does to discern where the Holy Spirit is leading their family. However, we need to rewrite the narrative about what it means to raise children on the front lines of ministry--either as a pastors' kid, missionary kid, or member of a church plant.

The other day, a fellow church planter said that we have to redirect the conversation from "isn't it terrible to be a pastor's kid" to "look at the potential in pastors' kids to go way further than their parents!" I agree wholeheartedly. Children with families in active ministry have a unique privilege to see faith in action and the gospel at work up close during the formative years of their life. With (1) a heart for the Lord and broken people and (2) the apprentice-level insight into what life in ministry looks like, they have the potential to be some of the best church leaders in the future.

So, here are five reasons why It's a joy to raise your child in a church plant.

In a church plant setting, every member is an active participant in the work of ministry, though not all are full-time pastors or staff members. So, I pray these encouragements are for full-time church planters and lay members of church plants– or those considering the opportunity.

1. Children are surrounded by people who desperately need Jesus.

There's nothing known or a playbook on what to do in a church plant — it is pioneering work. Church plants are pushing back the kingdom of darkness, taking the gospel to those who have not yet heard, so naturally, they are a significant target of spiritual warfare. There are attacks from the Enemy and discouragements around every corner. This produces broken yet faith-filled parents and church leaders who need the Lord desperately. As a result, children get parents and leaders who are clinging to Jesus. They are witnessing authentic faith up close and a gospel that really works.

2. Family discipleship is essential.

There isn't a plethora of kid’s programming or activities that keep the calendar full that you can drop off children without much thought. A lot of the programming in established churches is a blessing to the church members. I've often longed for support and resources for my own children. However, because of the lack of programming, families in church plants feel an urgency to roll up their sleeves and disciple their children. It also creates an urgency to partner with the church to provide truly essential resources. As a result, children get programming intentionally developed to meet their spiritual needs, and parents actively discipling them in their homes.

3. Children get a front-row seat to God at work.

They witness people going from death to life by believing the gospel. They witness their friends get baptized. They see broken relationships restored. They see needs met, and God answers prayers. As a result, children see God's character clearly and the power of the gospel to transform people's hearts.

4. Children learn that their faith compels them to act.

Members of a church plant are well-accustomed to doing the unseen work of ministry. However, the children are also often included in the work of ministry too. My favorite part of Sundays is to witness our children helping with setup and tear down, helping with greeting, and having a blast while doing it. These are their earliest memories. They love being at church-- helping and working with their friends. They talk about sharing the gospel with their friends. They raise money for the persecuted Church to have Bibles, because their faith doesn't sit on the sidelines. They sincerely believe that there are real people, whom they love, that need Jesus-- and they are compelled to do something about it. As a result, children learn their faith leads them to action.

5. Children have meaningful relationships with people older than them.

Because church members are a close-knit family and are deeply invested in serving, adults rub elbows with children all of the time. Adults really know the children. They play in the hallways together. They eat together at dinner tables. In a church plant, the church is not just a place you go, but a family to whom you belong. As a result, children have aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters in the family of God investing in them and pointing them to Jesus.

There is so much hope and potential with children raised in a church plant.



Emily Guyer serves at Treasuring Christ Church (TCC), a church plant in Ann Arbor, MI, as the Director of Kids Ministry and Women’s Discipleship. She is married to Michael, lead pastor of TCC, and together they have four children. She is passionate about partnering with parents in discipling their children and also has a heart to see women grow in their relationship with Jesus. Prior to serving at TCC, Emily has served alongside Michael in Student and College Ministry at Open Door Church of Raleigh, NC, as a freelance graphic designer, an event planner for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Women’s Ministry Associate at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX.



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