I’m not the son of a pastor. My grandpa was not a pastor. My great-grandpa was not a pastor. You get the picture. As a child, I didn’t dream about serving in the public ministry. I didn’t do mock services in my basement and pretend to preach a sermon. Yet, here I am in my final stretch of school, awaiting Call Day. How did I end up right here, right now?
There is, of course, the obvious answer; the grace of God. That answer is sufficient. But, in his infinite wisdom, our God has chosen to work through people to accomplish his purposes. As I solemnly reflect on his amazing grace in my life, I thank God for the people he has worked through not only to teach me his truths but also to motivate me to pursue the noble calling of being a pastor.
I can thank many people for their influence on me in my life of faith. However, I must make special mention of those in my family. I thank God for my Christian household. Humanly speaking, I can say that I would not be at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary studying to be a pastor if it were not for my parents, brothers, and sister.
My upbringing didn’t look like anything special. I was by no means a “super-Christian.” We weren’t the perfect family. But I did have this incredible blessing: I had parents who understood their extraordinary calling to raise their children in the Lord. They clearly communicated the importance of their faith in Jesus through their life and actions. They made sure that we were in church every single week. There was never a question about whether we would go to church. Actually, there was never a question about which service we would attend. We were diehard 10:30 service goers. We even had our pew: “front row left transept.” Being in God’s word was a clear priority.
I have one distinct memory about this. Growing up in a suburb of Milwaukee, we were regularly hit by heavy snow. My church had a policy: we don’t cancel for snow. My dad had a family policy: if there is church, we will be there. One Sunday, my dad braved the elements and drove us through what must have been about 10 inches of snow. This communicated to me that worship and studying God’s word are important.
Throughout my childhood, my parents not only told me about the love of my Savior; they also showed me his love. They are two of the most honest and generous individuals that I know. It is incredibly influential to a child to see that those bringing them to church are also living their faith at home.
Beyond my parents, I also thank my siblings, who were always willing to discuss real topics—topics that often included our Christian faith. My older siblings set an example for me in their love of their Savior. My twin brother always helped keep me in line when I would falter.
Christian parents, Christian grandparents, and Christian siblings, I leave you with this encouragement: The formation for the ministry starts at home. You don’t need to begin some grand program to push your child towards the ministry. Rather, the formation for ministry happens when Christian families stay together in God’s word and serve one another in love.
Anthony Pflughoeft recently graduated and was assigned to Christ the Vine, Temecula, CA.