Because we’ve been in ministry for almost 30 years and married 25+ years, Cathy and I get asked a lot of family-type questions from those in ministry who are younger (and in the “youth ministry world” most are younger). We’re thrilled that we can help anyone and definitely enjoy the discussions and the sense that we are actually helping ministry families.

The past few weeks Cathy and I have been talking about the workshops that she’ll be doing at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference (this weekend in Chicago) and we’ve been giving the family/kid/marriage message a lot of thought. One of the questions we often get asked is if there is any “secret sauce” that we gave our kids. We have amazing kids (22, 19, 16 years old) who, up to this point, have made good life choices with family, friends, faith, etc… They love Jesus, the church, people, and one-another. They live life with a lot of fun and relational joy. I’ll stop there, because I could go on and on! But, the point is, people who know our kids want to know what “we did.”

While there were several intentional parenting actions we took, we give a ton of credit to the youth ministry community that surrounded our kids as they grew up. It’s not easy being a pastor’s kid in a high profile church, but our kids navigated the waters well because of the people who were in our boat.

Cathy and I chose to open our home a lot and we were constantly entertaining other youth workers, volunteers, interns and teenagers. From birth until now, our kids got close and personal to so many incredible people who helped shape who they are today.

When Torie (our oldest) was little, she wanted to be like Sarah (a high school girl with a fun & caring personality). Eddie James is one of the infamous Skitguys, but to my son Cody, he’s “the Eddie I love” (which he called him when he was 3 years old). Cassie (our youngest) could carry on conversations with adults before she could ride a bike. They each benefited by other people loving-on them. Each of them could make a list of 20+ men/women who have loved them and modeled life to them. As far back as they can remember they’ve been surrounded by people who love them (and still are)!

One of the perks of raising kids in ministry is being around great people. And for the Fields’ family this was definitely one “secret sauce” that we would encourage anyone in ministry to try.

What about you? Are your kids surrounded by people who are fun, affirming, passionate, and followers of Jesus? It’s not easy being a ministry-kid, but there are some perks that are life-giving.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!