- “Papa, papa… I need to talk to you!” - said my younger son Joel.
It was Thursday, August 15th and we were getting ready for an awesome day at the Oshkosh International Camporee. He had been trying to talk to me since the moment he woke up that morning, yet we had not been able to get a quiet moment together.
- “Ok, baby, please tell me.” - I replied.
- “Papa, it’s private…” and he pulled me into the bathroom of our hotel room.
By now I am wondering, what is Joel about to tell me that is so private and no one else in the family can hear? Did he do something wrong? Is he about to confess to some type of wrongdoing that he is totally embarrassed about? What is he wanting to say? Why did he pull me into this bathroom? He got close to my ear and secretly whispered:
- “I really want to be a pastor. I had been thinking that I could do some other things, but I feel that God is calling me to be a pastor.
What would you have done? What would you do if your son or daughter told you, “I feel that God is calling me to be a pastor.” Well, I tell you what I did. I hugged him tight and said, “I think you will make an awesome pastor, even better than grandpa or papa, with the help of God, and I will do anything that I can do to help you get there.”
Parents can be the biggest supporters
We, dads and moms, are blessed with the awesome privilege to love our children and to be very close to them as they grow up. We also have the ability, which, by the way, decreases as they become young adults, to influence, cheer and support the positive decisions they make in their earlier years. It is also true, our ability can also be used to discourage and destroy some of their visions, dreams, and positive decisions. I was recently told a story of a father and son, talking while waiting in the registration line at one of our Adventist universities. According to the story I was told, the father was overheard telling his son, “You are crazy, why do you want to register as a Theology Major, pastors don’t make any money and take a lot of abuse.”
As the Adventist Church across North America actively engages with and looks for 2,500 young men and women called by God to pastoral ministry in the next 10 years, we are praying for parents who are willing to honor God’s call on their daughters and sons. Parents who will encourage their children to follow their heart for ministry and obey God’s voice in their lives, even if it means sacrifice. Parents, who rather than tearing ministry apart and eating pastors alive for lunch, after church on Sabbath, will uphold and support the call with the knowledge that God has used broken and imperfect human beings throughout history to lead His church and his people.
Spiritual parents and mentors needed
When parents are not there for some unfortunate reason, it is up to you and me, each one of us, as part of the body of Christ, the church and spiritual family, to encourage, help, and support our younger generations as they receive and process God’s calling in their lives.
Please, share and join with us
Would you please share this blog with parents, church leaders, educators, and adults in your church and appeal to them to join us, as we:
• Pray for 2,500 children, youth, and young adults who will accept the call of God to Pastoral Ministry in the next 10 years.
• Identify children, youth, young adults who may have a special gift for pastoral ministry and encourage them to consider God’s call.
• Facilitate and follow-up the decisions of children, youth, young adults for Pastoral Ministry, when they come.
• Create a more positive atmosphere towards Pastoral Ministry across North America.
As the camporee ended and we drove from Oshkosh to Chicago, and later on caught a plane back to Maryland, Joel, my 12-year-old son kept talking about becoming a “NextGen Pastor”. He spoke about an App he would like to see created to help kids understand the need and the call for ministry. He told me he wanted to meet with our North American Division Ministerial Team and give us some pointers on how to talk to children interested in pastoral ministry, and he just carried on and on about becoming a pastor. The other day, we did a pastoral visit together, to a former church member dying of pancreatic cancer, Joel picked an appropriate Bible passage to share with her, we both prayed for her, and he loved it. He is now in charge of our Friday night vespers at home, he has preached some really awesome brief sermons during these times, and he loves it. Last night, he talked about becoming a pastor again, and he does often, just about every night and every morning. I know he is only 12, this could still change, I was 15 when I got my call, but I am committed to acknowledge, support, and help him till his God-given dreams are fulfilled.
Would you do the same with the children under your influence?
Pastor Jose Cortes Jr., is an Associate Director of the Ministerial Association, leads Evangelism, Church Planting, Adventist/Global Mission and chairs the NextGen Pastor initiative for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists