3 Parenting questions for Megan Hutchinson

Kara Powell Image Kara Powell | Feb 24, 2015

This post is part of a series celebrating the release of the new Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family. We’re interviewing parents who serve, think, and write about faith, family, and ministry.

Our latest three-question interview is with Megan Hutchinson. Megan is a wife, mom, minister, national speaker and author. She’s been a youth minister for 20 years, including 8 years at Saddleback Church.

I have observed how strongly Adam, your husband, supports your ministry. How do you try to likewise support his ministry calling since he’s not employed in vocational ministry?

First of all, you are one hundred percent correct! If there were an Academy Award given for how Adam supports my ministry he would be the recipient of the "The Best Husband in an Outstanding Supporting Role." He's truly amazing. I can only aspire to be as encouraging and supporting as he. In sporting terms, I scored.

Adam works at a public agency and sees his primary calling to be Jesus in the work place. His secondary passion is to help provide clean drinking water for those living without it. How do I support this? Ask questions. Ask questions. Ask questions. Not unlike many pastors, I too am a classic extrovert. My husband, on the other hand, processes things more internally. So in order for me to engage what's going on beneath the surface, I ask questions. "What conversations did you have today?" "Who did you interact with?" "What or who was difficult?"

I also think it's important for our kids to hear about his day, so about four times a week, we all ask one another, "What was your high, low, God-sighting,” and most recently suggested by our eight year old, “big prayer?" This way, we all get a birds-eye view into Dad's day at the office and how we can better support him in the workplace. We also continue to pray about opportunities to help those in developing countries and await God's timing for Adam and/or our family to serve together.

One of your life mantras is to “Think Big”. What does that mean, and how has it impacted your parenting?

"thinkBIG" (yes, it's phonetically correct), was birthed out of a hard place. I had just graduated from Fuller, all prepped and ready for that "perfect" pastoral position, and I couldn't find the right one. It was depressing, because I knew I was called to something bigger than me. Right about that time I reached for a newspaper to read the big bold words: "think BIG" across the top. Those words hit me like a truck. It was God's way of reaching into my soul, "Megan, I have plans for you to impact my Kingdom, and my plans are exceedingly, abundantly, beyond what you could possibly imagine.” This aligned with what Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20, and became my life mantra as a wife, a mom, minister, friend, and everything else I do.

Dallas Willard defines discipleship as “becoming the person Jesus would become if he were you.” thinkBIG really is living Jesus out wherever you are. Here is a simple but bold prayer I wrote on how we strive to do this in our family:

Lord, give me your eyes to see with

Your ears to hear with

Your mind to think with, and

Your heart to care.

Give me your voice to speak with—in gentle strength I'll share

Give me your hands to serve with

Your feet to move with

I anticipate your power through me to do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond!

(co-written with Carolyn Baker)

Our kids say this prayer as we drive down the hill to school or on the way to a ball game, then we sometimes share stories about how we saw Jesus that day. thinkBIG sounds insurmountable . . . it is! But thinkBIG begins with recognizing our smallness and acknowledging God’s BIG-ness through us. If my husband and I can instill in our two boys, Jack and Parker, the fact that they have a giant of a God inside of them, then they can conquer any mountain and have eyes to see the lowest of the lows.

3. You have an incredibly adventurous and playful spirit, and I know your family has lots of fun together. How do find a balance between spontaneous fun and creating some sense of structure for your family?

The scales can certainly weigh heavier on the fun side for us, that’s for sure. To help bring balance, one of our family mantras is found from an early 1800's quote by William Newham when he wrote, "Work hard—play hard.” At the start of every week, each child has a calendar where we map out homework, sports commitments, church, etc. When all this is done, we can play. But nearly every Friday you can be sure to hear rumbles of laughter and chaos as we celebrate what we call, "Fun-fun Friday!" complete with homemade pizza, board games, a warm jacuzzi and lots of friends.

Kara Powell Image
Kara Powell

Kara Powell, PhD, is the chief of leadership formation and executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of "50 Women to Watch," Kara serves as a youth and family strategist for Orange and speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara has authored or coauthored numerous books, including Faith Beyond Youth Group, 3 Big Questions That Shape Your Future, 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Growing With, Growing Young, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family and the entire Sticky Faith series. Kara and her husband, Dave, are regularly inspired by the learning and laughter that comes from their three teenage and young adult children.

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