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October 12, 2011

Raising Kids In The Ministry

Hubatka Family PicHolly asked me if I would guest post on her blog this week about raising kids in the ministry. I was honored that she would ask, as this is something that I am definitely passionate about. I'm Kelly and my husband Larry (Creative Pastor here at Elevation) and I have 4 daughters-ages 4, 6, 8 and 10. Yes, there is a lot of hair, talking, nail polish, tears and a little drama, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. They really are great little ladies. I tell him he is so blessed that he gets to come home to 5 women who think he is absolutely the greatest guy ever. It takes a special man to have a chatty wife and 4 daughters!

When it comes to raising a family in the ministry of Elevation Church, we are so fortunate that Pastor Steven is passionate about staff families being healthy and our kids not being left behind. Our girls get a front row seat to the movement we are part of just as much as we do, and I’m extremely thankful for that.

As our girls grow and seasons in our family change, I know the way we do certain things  as it relates to ministry will change as well. But there are a few core values that we have established as a family in ministry that I believe will really help us go the distance and keep a strong family unit along the way.

We keep our calling and the vision of our church in front of our kids.

It is so important to us that our girls know why we do what we do. We talk to them about the calling on our family, not just saying it’s “Daddy’s job.” They also know that Elevation has a vision to see people far from God filled with life in Christ. We talk to them about life change stories that we are getting to be part of - people coming to know Jesus, marriages being restored, families being put back together. I love that they will always be able to say they have seen God move first-hand!

We don’t blame anything on the church.

This one is huge because perspective is everything. I often hear from families in ministry, “we don’t have time...”. There is never enough time, let’s be honest. Prioritizing time well can be one of the hardest things in ministry. You’ve got to make time for what matters to you, and sacrifice other things. But none of it is the church’s fault. In certain seasons of our time on staff, we have had to get real creative with our family time, but we make it work. We rally around each other and Larry in our busy times. We even decided that home educating was the best option for us right now so we can have a flexible schedule as a family. You’ve got to do your best to make your family successful where you are at-it is not the church’s job to do it for you!

We are intentional

We try to be very intentional with our kids. In conversation, in time. Ask them questions about what they are learning and how they are doing. One of the practical ways we do this is that Larry takes one of them out on a small date each Monday night-nothing fancy most of the time, but just a time for him to connect with his daughters and speak life into them so that they would know he is invested in them and wants to know them. Being intentional takes effort but the payoff is well worth it!

We are in it together

I said this previously, but we make sure our girls know that this isn’t just a job-but a calling on our family. Each Sunday morning we meet together in the auditorium of the Uptown location and pray for the day-that people would respond to God’s word & that He would use our girls to make an impact in their classrooms. We truly enjoy doing ministry together-whether that be serving on Sunday at Uptown, doing an outreach project together, reaching out to a neighbor, praying together etc. We want our kids to own their faith and feel like they can serve in ministry as well.


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Thankyou so much for this blog. Both wonderful families. An intresting read indeed!

Several months back, me, my husband and our kids were at Costco eating some lunch in their snack area. As we ate, we looked up and saw you and your lovely family doing the same. My husband and I were so impressed by your family. From the way you and Larry helped serve the kids' lunch, to how you all interacted with each other and most of all...how spotless you left the table (you and Larry were very intentional about cleaning up after yourselves). Your family is an excellent representation of Christ, and His church. Thanks for your example.

Thanks Kelly and Holly for this great blog entry... not blaming ministry is so insightful and wise.

And speaking from the perspective of seeing your families up close and personal, both of you do an amazing job of raising children with intentionality and grace.

You've both inspired me.

So honored to know you and call you my friends.


Thank you for sharing... I am also a Pastor's wife and raising two amazing children (ages 11 & 7) in the midst of ministry. I try to to remind my kiddos of the benefits, gifts, and special memories we have because of ministry. It also keeps my heart in check. So, whenever my kids cannot do something because of church we quickly go over a list of what we do have because of it. I love this life and I am so proud of my husband. I could not imagine any thing else. It's an incredible life!

I'm a grown-up preacher's kid and am very strong in my faith. I have brothers who are in various stages of rediscovering and growing in their faith journeys. A lesson that was critical in our family that I think will be extremely important as your kids get older is to help them understand that church people are still people. That includes the pastors and their families. People make mistakes, and people are selfish. Sometimes church people put their leaders on pedestals and expect perfection, but that just is not possible. Allow your children to see you and your husband when you're tired and frustrated sometimes, and show your kids and your church members that you need a break, too. My brothers were turned off by what they saw as hypocrisy and unreasonable expectations from church members, and it's taken a long time for them to rediscover the limitless grace that God offers and that we humans can only strive to imitate.

Love this post! I would add another thought. My husband was a PK and his mom once shared with me that when her oldest complained about being at church all day Sunday, she decided to make every effort to make Sunday a special day for the kids! I was encouraged by this and have been trying to do it too! I let them invite friends over, run around and play, even eat one of the massive donuts at service! We go out to eat after church - just little things to make it a fun day. Of course, I also look for opportunities for them to jump in and serve too! I work to help them have good memories of church!

Also, we have many young adults at our church and I LOVE that my kids have connections with so many great people. I really try to encourage that.

Thanks for sharing!
Nina Schmidgall
(Director of Family Ministry and wife of Exec Pastor at National Community Church)

I love this. As a former pastor's kid and a current pastor's wife, I know this is critical. My husband and I have also been foster parents for years; I can't tell you how many times I've thought, "if I only had a few more moments with these kids to let them fully see Jesus." Intentionally living a life that consistently points to Christ is the only way to live. We've recently adopted three brothers who came into our home and my prayer is that they do not view their new home as the place where the pastor stays, but instead truly find a family who lives each moment fully encompassed in the healing, hope and life of their heavenly Father. Thank you for your words.

This is such a great post! I really loved reading your thoughts on this, I agree so much with a lot of what you've said. You're right it's all about perespective.

Goodness.... So thankful for this post. I will share this with SO many women I know! I really think #2 really popped out to me. I think I have said those words to our kiddos about "well, we can't because of church..." - what insight to see that is actually blaming the church. Thanks again for this!!!

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