July 30, 2017 at 7:33 p.m.
Pastors' children see the best and the worst of the church. Having raised my children in church, I can assure you that churches possess the power either to encourage the pastor's children or to embitter them. What can a congregation do to encourage the pastor's children?
Show grace to the pastor's children, especially on Sundays. Sometimes, your pastor's children have arrived at the church building before the first service and won't get to leave until long after the last service. Even if the children go home in between those times, the children spend their day without easy access to their father. They see their father, but his focus cannot be on them.
If you have a concern about the children's behavior, set up a time to talk to the pastor privately about it. Don't talk about it in your Sunday School class or small group, and don't unleash your concerns between services when your pastor is trying to focus his energy on proclaiming God's Word to the people.
Be lavish in your praise. When you see the pastor's children do what's right, say so. Plenty of people will point out what they do wrong; few will mention or even notice what they do well.
Don't involve the pastor's children in the church's problems. Even if your pastor and his wife try not to mention problems around their children, the children sense when there are tensions. Don't make it worse with snide comments and complaints in the children's presence.
Be bold and rebuke the critics. The best way to develop a culture of grace toward your pastor's children is to refuse to allow backbiting to continue unchecked.
Give your pastor space to deal with their children's hearts. Yes, God has called pastors to have their "children under control with all dignity" (1 Timothy 3:5). But guiding children to this point takes time. Some days the pastor will be more successful at this than others. Focus on the long-term fruit, not the short-term failures.
Hold your pastor accountable to make time to care for his family. I will always be thankful for a particular deacon who called me to account in this area of my life. I clearly remember him leaning over a lunch table and saying to me, "You take care of the church, and then you take care of your family. But Scripture does not support such a split in responsibilities, and neither should you." Be certain that your church provides your pastor with days off, free evenings, and vacation time to invest in his family.