Tuesday, February 3, 2009

H.O.F. Dads...continued

Hey gang...it's been a few days. Busy weekend with Morgan here and the Superbowl and all that. I've not been so inspired anyway so I took a few days off. Nothing is worse than a poor effort. Better to let it rest for a bit.
Today's Hall of Fame Dad is my buddy John Willis.
John pastors a church in New Castle Delaware. That in itself is a difficult task because that region is so heavily Catholic and the Protestant base is usually already embedded in a church. So starting a church in that area is a daunting task. People in the North tend to be more cynical and more self educated than Southerners. That's not a slight to Southerners, but religion is the one area where Protestant Southerners question less because they have been raised in church. It's the same way Catholics in the North don't question Catholic liturgy. It is what it is and you do it because your daddy did it and his daddy before him. But a Protestant in the North was likely a converted Catholic and he probably got that way because he asked questions and read books...so that very nature makes him a well informed skeptic. That makes him a very tough bird to preach to.
John soldiers on, pastoring a church and working a full time job in the home remodelling industry and raising his two wonderful kids. His wife Kathy works as a nurse and spends a lot of her free time (oxymoron?...contradiction of terms?) researching the effects of food allergies on children. Her research has literally saved her kids.
John does his thing in the virtual anonymity of New Castle Delaware. He isn't pastor of a mega church although he has the giftings to do that. He barely takes a paycheck for his endeavors. But he serves because God told him to and he does it without sacrificing his children. If you talk to John, you have to squeeze hard to get him to say much about himself but if you've known him for long, as I have, it can be done. John loves his kids. He makes difficult decisions with them in mind. I have been privy to one or two decisions he made because of the potential effect it would have on his children. He and Kathy have sacrificed much to follow their calling, but their kids were never one of the sacrifices.
It is not easy being a pastor and it is difficult to raise children in that spotlight. To strike the balance between ministry and fatherhood is quite a feat, but John does it because his love for his children abides even in difficult times. Think about the things you do with your kids...things that are fun and enjoyable and nobody cares about them because you aren't in the "limelight" of ministry. Now imagine not being able to do something or go somewhere because of "how it might look" or worse...think of having 100 onlookers telling you how wrong you are in the way you raise your kids. Anyone want to sign up for that?
That sort of sacrifice is what every minister goes through...and it's what makes my friend John Willis a "Hall of Fame" dad.

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