George Westlake - Raising Kids in Ministry - Leaders.Church


George Westlake – Raising Kids in Ministry

What’s in this Episode?

We are sitting down with George Westlake, Senior Pastor of Sheffield Family Life Center, to discuss raising kids in ministry.

Read the Transcript

Dick 0:06
Hey friend, great to be with you on this episode of the Church Tips Podcast. And I am privileged today to be with my buddy from the great city of Kansas City, George Westlake, pastor of Sheffield Family Life Center up there. And, how long have you been hopping in the senior role there?

George Westlake 0:23
I have been in the senior role for 16 and a half years.

Dick Hardy 0:29
Okay. And how long was your dad there?

George Westlake 0:32

Dick Hardy 0:34
Well, you know, this ties to our subject. Today, we’re gonna talk about raising kids in ministry. George is a product of being raised in ministry, by George II. But in case you didn’t know, Friends, this is George III that we’re talking to. So when you call the church don’t ask for George Jr., because George Jr. is the older guy.

Dick Hardy 0:58
But George III has been my good friend for 20 some years. You know, he’s blessed to have three great kids. I’ve met all three of them. And he has Geo who’s 35. I guess that means he’s George IV. Is that what it means?

George Westlake 1:16
He’s the fourth, yes.

Dick Hardy 1:17
He’s George IV. And then he has Austin, who lives here in Springfield and he’s 32. And then Lexi, his baby daughter is 26. And so great kids. And, you know, great kids don’t happen by accident. But, neither George nor I would say that we’ve got a magic wand to say, just do these things and you’ll end up with great kids. There are a lot of wonderful parents out there that have had heartache with kids.

Dick Hardy 1:49
We’ve been blessed. George has been blessed. Of course, what I would really say is the reason you have three good kids is you married right in the first place. So, with Annette at the mom role, you were very, very blessed.

George Westlake 2:07
That definitely helps.

Dick Hardy 2:09
Talk to us a little bit about, you know, you’ve got pastors, young pastors, pastors raising teenagers. What would you say to them about raising children in ministry?

George Westlake 2:23
Now this is a very, very, very dear subject to me. Thanks, Dick. It’s great to be with you. Preface by saying that I’m honored to be here with you, and in your life.

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George Westlake 2:35
But, this is a dear subject to me because I really feel like the greatest opportunity I’ve ever had, is to be a father. You know, for me, it’s the greatest opportunity, probably the most rewarding thing, in my whole life, without a doubt, is being a father. It means a lot to me. So, this whole subject matter is, huge in my heart, in my mind, and in my atmosphere.

George Westlake 3:07
But, you know, I’ve got a list of things, I’ll throw some of these at you. And these are just things to consider remember this, you know. Because most of us, we know, you know, I can’t tell you anything you don’t know, probably. I can remind you of a few things. So, I just want to retry to remind us of a few things that we probably already know, and maybe one or two of them we’ll say okay, yeah.

George Westlake 3:29
Number one is this, reality is going to change. Reality changes. You know, your children will change, their perception of you will change, the way you communicate with them will change, their priorities will change. It’s going to happen, there’s nothing we can do to prevent our children.

George Westlake 3:47
Now, let me go back and say this. Oftentimes in ministry, because we as pastors have to give the church, church body, and the world around it, a lot of times it’s not the church, its people connected, things connected to the church, we have to give that such priority. That so many times in ministry families, something is going to be sacrificed.

George Westlake 3:47
You’re going to sacrifice your marriage, you’re going to sacrifice any kind of financial stewardship, you’re going to sacrifice your position, your calling, or you’re going to sacrifice your children. And unfortunately, more times than not, we know we have to be faithful to the job because we’re gonna get paid. We know we have to be faithful to our spouse, otherwise, the whole thing collapses.

George Westlake 4:36
And we say, okay, I guess the easiest thing to let go, and we don’t do this intentionally, but I’ve seen a lot of leaders say, You know what, I’m gonna sacrifice my children. They say that by their actions, not by their voice. And so, you know, I think in the grand scheme of things, more times than not the children end up getting sacrificed. And that’s the premise for me writing this list. And it’s that, there’s going to be change. So brace yourselves for change.

George Westlake 5:03
Number two, defend your family. Leaders, pastors, defend your family. And I’ll give you a little piece of this. You know, when I grew up, everybody can say whatever they wanted to you, they could treat you horrible, they could tell you all these bad things, and that was just part of the ministry, that was part of church. Well, that’s not the case anymore.

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George Westlake 5:28
And the church that I pastor, if people said outlandish things to my kids, and made ridiculous comments to them, I was going to defend my kids. You know, if I have an usher, or somebody said something crazy to my kid that warranted a response, I would be looking for them after church, because I’m going to defend my kids. My kids are more important to me than the building, or even what I’m doing in the building, or the calling.

George Westlake 5:57
And so, pastors, leaders, defend your family. If somebody verbally attacks your spouse, defend them. If they attack your kids, and I’m not saying, you know, get crazy with everything, but defend your family. Too many ministry families have been lost, because the parent chose the ministry over the child.

George Westlake 6:19
Number three, don’t overreact. Don’t overreact and don’t make it about you. You know, when things happen, my kids do things, or have done things. The first thing is, oh, how are people going to perceive me? What are people gonna think of me? If my daughter gets pregnant, what are people gonna think of me? Well, how about this, don’t make it about you. This is a big deal in pulling our kids through it. Don’t make it about you. It’s not about me. If my kids in trouble, I can’t make it about me.

Dick Hardy 6:49

George Westlake 6:50
And that’s a big thing. So parent, don’t make it about you, don’t make it just about your image. Don’t make it about you.

George Westlake 6:57
Number four. Love them where they are. You don’t have to love them exactly like they are, but love them where they are. I don’t love this about you, but I’m going to love you where you are, and we’re going to walk through it together. So love them where they are, they’re going to be a lot of different places.

George Westlake 7:11
Number five, allow them to have questions.

Dick Hardy 7:15

George Westlake 7:15
They’re going to have questions, real questions.

Dick Hardy 7:17

George Westlake 7:18
I don’t think I believe in God. I don’t think… You know? Allow them to have questions.

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George Westlake 7:23
Number six, don’t get too defensive when they’re in their searching season. We all have to find it for ourselves, we all have to find spiritual truth for ourselves.

Dick Hardy 7:32

George Westlake 7:32
We all have to find connectivity to God for ourselves. Now, there’s only one way to get it, but we have to find that way ourselves, on our path. So don’t get too defensive when they’re in their season of searching.

George Westlake 7:43
Number seven, fight the battles that really matter. Don’t make small things huge things. Don’t let this issue that can be resolved in 24 hours, ruin your whole year. So don’t fight every battle, fight the ones that matter.

George Westlake 7:59
And the last one, Dick, is this. If you have a chip on your shoulder, actually I’ve got a couple more there on another page.

Dick Hardy 8:05
That’s fine.

George Westlake 8:06
If you have a chip on your shoulder and you express that, your children are probably going to have some of that chip as well.

Dick Hardy 8:12

George Westlake 8:12
Be careful what you say, be careful what you represent, even be careful of your body language.

George Westlake 8:17
Number nine, and you said this earlier Dick, you can seemingly do all the right things and still not get the right the right results from it. A lot of parents out there have done all the right things and somewhere something took a turn. But, and I’ll make my last statement, allow God to be God, whatever situation you’re in. And this would be kind of a closing positive statement for you, my friend. However big and great you think God is.

George Westlake 8:51
Dick, you’ve been on this journey for a lot of years. You know more pastors probably than anybody I know. You know about ministry, you know about the culture, you know about the history. You’re an amazing resource for all of us in ministry, and thank you for that.

George Westlake 9:09
So you’ve got a great perception of God. I’ve got a perception of God. This other person who just, you know, has only been around it for a couple years has a different one. We’re all on the same road, different mile markers, but let me tell you this. For you, for me, for them, for the brand new believer, or the ones seeking, however great you think God is, He’s greater.

Dick Hardy 9:30

George Westlake 9:30
However big you think God is, He’s bigger. Whoever you are listening, watching. Whatever your issue is. As big as you think God is, He’s bigger than that. He’s got it. He’s bigger than that.

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Dick Hardy 9:44
That is so good. George, you know those things you talked through. Was it a list of nine of them? Is that what you have there?

George Westlake 9:51
It was supposed to be ten, but I eliminated one.

Dick Hardy 9:53
You eliminated one on the road there. But that is so good. I’m gonna go all the way back to the beginning.

George Westlake 10:01

Dick Hardy 10:03
The Lord blessed you with three children who have, to this point in life, chosen to follow Jesus. Give a word of encouragement to pastors out there who maybe one or more of their children are not serving Jesus. What could you say to them that would say, there’s hope.

George Westlake 10:26
I would say this. They are coming home. And I believe this, this is not a line. One of the reasons I never wanted to be a pastor is because I don’t like cliched lines, and saying the expected thing, the anticipated thing, and try to get people to buy it. I believe this. They’re coming home. The truth is in them. They might be in the pigpen. They might be partying with their friends. They might be on the road traveling to or from somewhere, but they’re coming home. And don’t be shy about prophesying over them. Don’t be shy about speaking prophetically over their spirit.

Dick Hardy 11:02

George Westlake 11:02
I speak life over you. I speak salvation over you. I speak protection over you. Don’t be afraid to speak in the prophetic voice that God has given you. They’re coming home. The truth is in them. They’re coming home.

Dick Hardy 11:14
Oh, that’s so good. Oh, my. Yeah, man, I just kind of get emotional just thinking of the power of that. They’re coming home. They really are.

Dick Hardy 11:23
George, this has been just outstanding. Thank you for your transparency, sharing of your heart in this way. And thank you, listener or viewer, certainly if you would be so kind to subscribe to this podcast and to rate and review it. That is, as you know, in the podcast world, that’s everything. That helps us get the word out to more people. And in our case, we’re trying to communicate with as many pastors and leaders as we can, so your help in that way would be wonderful.

Dick Hardy 11:53
But again, George, thanks so much for being with us. It really has been my privilege to be with you. And to the viewer and listener, thanks as well, for being on the journey. Make it a great one today, and be blessed.

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