What It’s Like to Be a Pastor Raising an Autistic Child

What It’s Like to Be a Pastor Raising an Autistic Child

Every new pastor receives several questions when they arrive to a new church. Who are you? Where are you from? How will you preach? Will you root for my favorite team?

If a pastor and their family have young children, there are additional questions that you get asked week to week. They focus around the idea of how can we love your child? Those are some of my favorite questions to answer, because there is nothing like seeing your child loved and cared for by the family of God. Your immediate thought is to say, “Well, love them like they are your own.”

For me, though, I have to think about how to answer that question. It’s a lot harder to answer, because of our son’s autism.

With each new community, there are additional questions, concerns, and needs that come in welcoming a new pastor kid let alone one who is on the spectrum. While autism has been part of the general consciousness since 1943, there is still a lack of understanding and awareness of what autism is and is not. I include myself in that conversation. Questions about the basics of autism, what needs to be done, and everything that falls in between are welcome for not just our son but the general community of how to love all of God’s children.

While most conversations about our son focus on worship and interactions within the church – that is, after all, where the majority of people will see him – it only scratches the surface of what is involved in raising a child on the spectrum, especially as a pastor.

So, what is it really like to raise a child on the spectrum disorder as a pastor? Continue reading “What It’s Like to Be a Pastor Raising an Autistic Child”

What is Protecting You?

Growing up, I tried my hand at a lot of different sports. I was horrible at playing basketball. I could barely return a serve on the tennis court. My skills on the gridiron led to my junior high team losing every game in the only season I played; at least that is what my coach told me.

But, the one sport I always loved was wrestling. Now, I’m not talking about the WWE kind of wrestling with the outlandish characters and steel chairs. I’m talking about quality amateur wrestling that dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. I was a heavyweight wrestler and I was about average. I won my fair share and I lost my fair share. I loved being around a sport that taught character and determination. Even after my knees gave out and I started to focus more time on my budding journalism career, I stayed involved and served as a ring announcer for high school tournaments and covered the sport in my sport reporting days. I would even serve as a referee. Continue reading “What is Protecting You?”

Sunday Sermon: Samuel’s Call

Every nation and people group have formative stories that describe the lives and rise to influence of some of their most influential leaders. Some of our greatest leaders, such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, have as part of their narratives stories from their childhoods, such as chopping down a cherry tree or living in a log cabin. They are as much a part of their legacy as their individual achievements.

Such is the case for many of the stories we will look at from 1-2 Samuel during this sermon series looking at the Life of David. They are the collection of the formative stories for Israel that were assembled in its present form around the time of the Exile. The stories of 1-2 Samuel describe how Israel moved from a group of tribes into a nation led by a king. They tell how David, a shepherd from Bethlehem, became the great military, political, and spiritual leader of his people. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Samuel’s Call”

Sunday Sermon: Hope That Comes With Us

There are some things that frustrate me. You know what I mean? Things just that just make me want to groan in agony.

You want to know what frustrates me? That we spend so much of our time belittling someone, because they do not look like us or share our same opinions, or they go about things in a different way than we would like. That frustrates me.

When I look at all the violence that exists in our world. When I think about the violence that exists in our streets. That frustrates me.

When I think about the drug problem in our Commonwealth. When I think about the struggles families experience trying to make ends meet or get out of debt. When I think about how families spend so much time in the rat race of schedules. That frustrates me.

When I think about the state of the church and the statistics that show the decline of Christianity in the United States. When I think about the fact that for someone to be considered an average attender in worship that they only need to be in church two times a month. When I think about the fact that people think they no longer need God or church. That frustrates me. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Hope That Comes With Us”

Sunday Sermon: Living the Resurrection – By Our Love of God

Another Easter has come and past. Many of us have put away more than our fair share of candy and ham over the last few weeks. Likely the bunnies, baskets, and eggs have been stashed away ready to come out again in March.

Even some of the celebrations have ended, in reality, Easter has not. Easter is never finished. Easter is not a one-day celebration. It is not even a 50-day season focusing on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is more than that. It is a way of life.

Easter, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the grand announcement of God doing something new. It is not something that can be contained in one day or season. The Resurrection is a truth that defines everything and calls us to live with the hope of the Living God every day. Every day is a celebration of the good news that Christ is alive and is with us all today. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Living the Resurrection – By Our Love of God”