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.
I am grateful this week to share a three-question interview with my friend Virginia Ward. Virginia is a mother of two and urban youth ministry veteran on the East Coast. Virginia serves with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Black Campus Ministries as the New England BCM Director.
You and your husband are both in full-time ministry. In what ways has that been a blessing for your kids? In what ways has it been a burden for them?
The environment full-time ministry provides allowed for our sons to have both parents present in their formative years. We attended sporting events, took family vacations, and made sure their academic path was supported straight through college.
My husband and I are third generation pastor's kids. We understand the pressure of living in a glass bowl with the expectation of being “perfect Christians.” At times it was difficult to provide space for them to own their faith and walk the tightrope of being a pastoring parent. Open and honest conversations about faith as a family proved to be a great tool in developing spiritually mature young men.
Your kids are now young adults. Looking back, what did you do well as a parent? What do you wish you had done differently?
The best gift I feel we offered our sons consisted of lasting memories from their childhood. Every birthday was celebrated, holidays honored, and each family member respected. We grew together as a family and were not afraid to apologize when we, as parents, were wrong or acted out of anger.
Although we had family devotions and taught our children to pray at an early age, I would have loved to continue praying together as a family more often. As our sons grew their schedules varied and family devotions were reduced. Prayer is binding glue to any family, and I still enjoy our prayer times as family today.
Much of your life has revolved around urban ministry. How has your time in urban contexts enhanced your family life?
I believe urban ministry has a pulse like no other ministry! Our family understands the complexity of urban life, and each member is able to thrive in multiple settings. Raising two African-American sons in the city is a blessing because they have learned how to make critical choices daily. We have also watched them share their blessings with their peers.
Urban ministry has enhanced our family life in three key areas. Ministry in the city:
1. Calls us to seek the peace of the city through prayer.
2. Draws us to do our part to help build our city.
3. Reminds us to ask the Lord of the harvest for more laborers.
Our family is vested in the city and loves the people of our communities. We understand that we are a blessed family who is called to bless other families.
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