Having children is easy. Almost anyone can do it. Being a real mom or dad, that’s entirely not easy. Children don’t raise themselves.

It’s the same in church. Bringing people in is easy. Everyone should be doing it. Raising them, discipling them, developing their gifts, seeing them through to maturity, setting them up for a great future, releasing them, is entirely not easy. Disciples don’t make, or raise, themselves.

Too many people want the titles in Christianity without the responsibilities of work, faithfulness, constancy, longevity, commitment, sacrifice, and obedience. All are required to fulfill this call and more. There are too many people wanting opportunities to preach, teach, titles, etc. And too few willing to lay themselves down and truly serve, 1Corinthians 4:15.

Having children is about function and service, not title or opportunity.

A true mom or dad in the kingdom of God, willingly lays aside their personal rights and sacrificially serves others. A willingness to do anything, give everything–no cost is too great–for the sake of God’s people.

If we sign up to be a leader in church, we sign up to serve people.

A true mom or dad willingly serves. They make the decision to lay aside their personal agenda for the sake of God’s people. And willingly pay money to do so because they’re not in it for reward, or return on their investment. A true parent doesn’t sign up to lead because are they looking to be made rich or famous. A true parent doesn’t measure success that way. Their service–their investment–is made with no strings attached. It’s given freely because Jesus gave Himself freely. Their delight is in serving the Lord.

Like children, God’s people in church need a constant in their life. When hard times come, a true mom or dad doesn’t cut their losses and run, nor do they attempt to parent from afar. True parents are in it the long haul. Through thick and thin. The highs. The lows. The good. The bad. Even the very, very, ugly. When it gets hard and the cost great is when you see what a true parent in God’s house is made of, their faith shines.

The life of a faithful mom or dad in God’s house is a life marked by service, sacrifice, and willing obedience. This is very different from the usual trappings of the success the world seeks. But this is how success in God’s Kingdom is measured: service, sacrifice, obedience.

This is how to recognize a true mom or dad in God’s house: service, sacrifice, obedience.