Instructing Men to be the Pastoral Theologian in their home!
When we think of a Pastoral Theologian, I think of the old gray hair guy in front of the classroom who is so boring that I want to fall asleep. Having attended Bible College and went on to earn a PhD in Psychology and Christian Counseling, I’m now one of those gray haired professors standing in front of the room. However, let me tell you at 51 years old, and far from boring. I love the opportunity to share with Pastoral Students about how to be effective in their ministry to the body of Christ. Gentleman, I consider myself a Pastoral Theologian, and in most of my teaching on the college level I taught courses around this subject Pastoral Theology. However, as a parent of a 21 year old daughter, and the father of 18 year old son who has been married to their mother for 25 years, I believe my first role is to be the Pastor of my home.
Pastoral Theology is generally the study of topics tend to include: homiletics, pastoral care, sacramental theology, ethics, and I personally have added witnessing (or evangelism) when I teach Pastoral Theology. Now I know that you are totally confused, and you’re asking the question; what is his logic in stating in the title Instructing Men to be the Pastoral Theologian in their home? It is very simple; I believe this is vital in how we teach men to lead their families in growing in their Christian walk.
Please give me just a moment to explain my thinking, we will look at each of the roles as a Pastoral Theologian and share how they are relevant to our position or role as the father of our home. The scripture clearly teaches the father is the head of the family, and their fore is responsible for the education and actions of the family, just as the pastor is the head of the local church and therefore responsible for what they learn and do.
· Homiletics … is the preaching or teaching of the God’s word in a way that individuals will understand. Gentleman, it is our responsibility, not our wives, not the Sunday school teacher, not even that awesome Children’s Pastor. (Let me make a note here I was a Children’s Pastor for 7 years, and was very good at what I did. But nothing hurt me more than fathers that would drop their children off for children’s church, and never ask the child about the lesson for the week or help them prepare for the next week). As a father it is our role as the Leader of our home and as the Pastoral Theologian in our home to help our children learn from the word of God, learn how to apply the word to their lives, and take the child to the next level of study for their age to be the student of the word they should be. It is also our responsibility to encourage our wife, and give her the tools to grow in her Christian walk. This means that I have to be working further along in my Christian walk.
· Pastoral care, with a degree in Psychology and Christian Counseling, I often get the statement “I’m not one of your clients” and that was very true she was my wife, and they were my children. However, I still have to be the supporting factor when they are dealing with times of crisis, stress, grief, loss, and etc. I have the shoulder they cry on, the listening ear when no one else is around, and I’m the answer man when no one else can give them what they need. Pastoral care is about giving warmth, compassion, empathy, and hearing what they have to say. Father, let me give you a fact that I live by. I carry my phone just about everywhere I go and I have a policy I will answer the phone for my children and wife no matter what. No disrespect to President Obama, but he takes 2nd place to them. Now let me also share I make it another policy to let them know that I’m in a meeting. So if they do call I know it is a reason that needs dads help and attention. That is Pastoral (FATHER) Care.
· Sacramental theology, Teaching my children the relevance of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, often times I would become frustrated when I sat to talked with children about Baptism; only to realize the father has been a member of the church for ten years, and has not even talked with his child. In my role as dad I sat down with both of my children when they started to ask questions about Baptism and explained the importance of what it was and why we did it, when they started to ask about the taking the Lord Supper I again sat with them and explained what was happening, and helped them prepare their mind and heart for the event. I never allowed my children to take the Lord Supper just because other parents allowed their children to.
· Ethics, Teaching the child how to act, what is right and wrong, and helping the child develop a solid set of values. With the number of fathers that are absent from the home today (and gentleman, I’m not talking about the deadbeat dads that is another blog post). I’m talking about the fathers that are working more than they should, focusing on other things, and missing out on their children growing up. Missing the opportunity to speak effectively into the lives of their children about what is wrong and right. Then wanting to yell at the teenage son, when he is caught cheating (by the way which he often learns from the dad, when he brags about getting away with cheating IRS or others), get mad when the teenager is arrested for disrespecting the police officer and resisting arrest (by the way he learned from us as we talked about the stupid officer, when he was writing us a ticket.) I have come to a conclusion, and it is not popular. When I get to heaven I’m going to be judged by what my kids learned: the good, the bad, and the ugly. So I better be the pastor of my home and be helping them learn only the Good from the Good Book.
· Witnessing (or evangelism) Teaching them to share their faith with others. On more than one occasion I took my kids with me when I went to the hospital to visit a friend, or to visit a member of the church. I did this because I wanted them to learn the importance of sharing their faith. They have friends that are going to split Hell wide open, just like I do if I don’t tell them. However, if I don’t teach my children to share their faith, and be the witness that God would have them be; not only is the blood going to be on my child’s hands, it is going to be on my hands when God has to tell that individuals to depart from him because they never accepted Christ.
I’m proud to be the Pastoral Theologian in my home; I challenge you (the father) to take time to be the pastoral theologian in your home.