Category Archives: Marriage & Family

The Church Planter’s Kid

Our oldest, Jack is 15 today. I’ve updated this list over the years. Added a few things this year. It’s not always easy being the Church Planter’s Kid. Proud of Jack and the young man he’s becoming.

He was born 8 days after the very first service of our first church plant in South Louisiana, which started in an un-air conditioned fire station.

  • Because his dad’s a church planter, until he was four we would drive past a fire station and he would yell “church” and when we drove by a steepled church building he would yell “space ship.”
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, the first time we attended a church besides ours on Sunday, he asked where their fire truck was and why their chairs were so long (pews).
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, he likes to hang out in coffee shops and has great bedside manner in hospitals.
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, he doesn’t have as much as many kids in our area, but never complains.
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, he doesn’t know that you shouldn’t wear shorts to church or that you shouldn’t be close friends with people of another race or class.
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, he knows who Rick Warren & John Piper are, & asked every Friday morning, “Do we have a Block Party this weekend?”
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, he doesn’t know what it means to be a part of a mega youth group or ride on a bus to camp.
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, he knows his way around Pro Presenter and online kids curriculum.
  • Because his dad’s a church planter, he’s handled a lot of pressure to be the good kid, pray out loud, help with the nursery, etc., etc.

Proud of Jack. Grateful for his friendship and partnership in this ministry. It’s not always easy to be a church planters kid. Praying for Jack and all our church planting kids out there.

Happy Birthday Katherine Jubilee!

Our baby girl, Kate, is five today! She’s a beauty inside and out. Like her name, a Pure Joy – Katherine means Pure, Jubilee means Joy (see, I did use my Biblical languages after seminary, Ha!). Happy Cinco de Mayo and Happy Birthday Kate!

Family Devotions: Yes! They ARE Listening!

Good encouragement here from Tony Evans, for when the Family Devotion just seems like a lot of commotion. Parents, keep showing up!

There were times when our four kids would be acting up around the table while I was trying to lead devotions, and it would irritate me. They would be talking out of turn, or one would be pouting. It just seemed like a lot of commotion rather than devotion! I admit there were even times when I called it quits and told everyone to go to their rooms because they weren’t paying attention or they were being disrespectful. But more times than not, I stuck it out, and then, at a later point, I would be surprised how one child or another would bring up something I thought for sure no one had heard during the devotions at the table simply due to the noise. They were listening— even when it didn’t look like they were listening. Those were the moments God used to remind me to hang in there when I would want to walk away from the table early and call it a night. I would remember that it was my responsibility to train these children to the best of my ability— imperfectly but consistently. I was called to show up and do my part, leaving the hard work of getting the truth into their hearts to God.

Excerpted from Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans

“So How Old Are You Now?”

Another Birthday in the books!r

Celebrating 17 Years Married Today

It was 1999, the world was coming to an end (remember Y2K? Ha!), but we were getting married!! Grateful for my good thing (Proverbs 18:22), Heather Johnson Corley! 

In the Wake of a Godly Family

WakeI recently became the owner of a small boat that will primarily be enjoyed on a river with many very large boats. So, I’ve had to learn how to maneuver the wakes of these vessels. The smoothest ride is provided when you can be behind a large vessel so that you can be IN their wake. Outside that wake will be a rough ride. There’s a parallel here to life and family. We’re all experiencing the wakes of the people that have gone before us. The Bible says that we can make it easier for those coming behind us, by the way we live our lives.

“the offspring of the righteous will be delivered” Proverbs 11:21

“in the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge” Proverbs 14:26

“The righteous who walks in his integrity – blessed are his children after him” Proverbs 20:7

Last week was the funeral for one of my mother’s older brothers. Marty was 73, and he was the first of Joe & Jack Francis’ eleven children to pass away. This gave me an opportunity to thank God for the grace of being a part of a Godly family and the wake that I now follow in. Joe and Jack, my Grandparents, were married over 50 years. They built a successful business which they were able to pass on to their sons. They served God faithfully as deacon in several local churches. They were known for their radical generosity. They set a compelling example and prayed for their family. Now, eleven children who have been self-sufficient and are living well. Thirty grandchildren and forty-five plus (I’ve lost count) great-grandchildren are thriving. And the great-great grandkids are the pride of the bunch. It’s not perfect, but to be a part of this family is to know that you’re a part of something special.

Joe & Jack Francis

Joe & Jack Francis

Often times, when things go well for me, often in spite of me, I believe that its because God is keeping His promises to and answering the prayers of Joe and Jack Francis, and to those before and around them who devoted themselves to His purposes and to passing on a godly legacy to their future generations. I’m grateful for the kind wake that they have left for me and my children behind me. Praying that I can keep sailing smooth for my future generations.

Consider what kind of wake are you leaving for those who will follow you. God can redeem any story. If your fore-bearers were negligent, let it START with you.

Francis siblings. Last pic with Marty.

Francis siblings. Last pic with Marty.

Francis Family reunion a few years ago.

Francis Family reunion a few years ago.

The Church Planter’s Wife

In honor of my church planting wife on our 16th Anniversary

Sunday’s have been abnormal for my wife for the entirety of our marriage. They’ve included:

  • never having her husbands help getting the kids ready for church because he’s setting up for church.
  • very seldom sitting by her husband in a worship service because of preaching/sound/nursery/etc.
  • going to church in weird places like apartment complex clubhouses, fire stations, former bars, & gymnasiums
  • not having Sunday lunch till 2pm most weeks because he’s doing teardown & cleanup

Why? Because her husbands a church planter. I’ve never heard her complain about any of this as she has accepted this role as who she is. It’s OUR calling, she says. A calling that’s led her to:

  • Lead worship for a new church’s first worship service in an un air conditioned fire station in August, WHILE 9 MONTHS PREGNANT.
  • She cooked for & hosted the first new members class for a church plant, JUST BEFORE checking in to the hospital to deliver one of our children.
  • She’s started worship teams, children’s teams, Bible Studies, Book Club’s, women’s ministries. She’s painted faces, painted buildings, scrubbed floors, scrubbed toilets, changed diapers, etc., etc., etc.
  • She’s prepared the home for meetings probably a thousand times by now! Many times 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes twice in one day.
  • She’s never complained about short vacations & creatively inexpensive date nights or about having to work outside the home because the church planters salary was, to say it nicely, below the average income for the area.
  • She’s cooked & cleaned for thousands of volunteers that have served through our ministries. Many of them in the emotional aftermath of Hurricanes that had damaged our property & the property of most of our friends.
  • She’s faced the emotional ups & downs of having a type A church planting husband who has faced criticism, made bad decisions, said yes to too much, & wanted to quit every Monday.
  • And during all this, did I mention WE’VE GOT KIDS! Yep, she’s also an incredible mom, sister, friend, coworker, etc.

Dr. Reggie Ogea, who recruited me to plant our first church tells me every time I see him – “You know we only hired you because of your wife. We thought you were the real deal, but we knew Heather was the real deal.” And she’s proven him right over & over again.

Sometimes as I think about all of this I want to say “I’m sorry.” But she wouldn’t get it. So I just have to keep saying THANK YOU! & giving her the praise she deserves (Proverbs 31:28, 31).

Last year I talked her into telling her story to a group of church planting wives. I told her she should write it up, but she didn’t. However, I hijacked her notes (after 16 years of marriage, we can usually guess each others passwords). Here’s her outline – the commitments of a Church Planting Wife:

  • I will love my husband well.
  • I will not allow chaos, conflict, & criticism to completely freak me out.
  • I will be who I am created to be & not compare myself to other women.
  • I will take a posture of love to the lost in my community.

Grateful that she’s fulfilled & lived these commitments out. And looking forward to many more years of planting, ministry, & life with my good thing (Proverbs 18:22) Heather Corley!

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Hudson’s Seven!

Happy Birthday to my ninja warrior, Hudson. Made it through year seven without a single trip to the Emergency room, which is a huge feet for a kid that lives life at his speed & intensity. I like to say our Insurance Deductible is very afraid every time he goes outside. His enthusiasm & love for friends challenges me everyday. He’s got an incredible ability to negotiate & persuade. Always wins at monopoly. He’s one of a kind! I’m blessed that God has allowed me to be his dad. Can’t wait to see what God does with this Church Planter’s Kid! Happy Birthday Hudson!

Fatherhood Through Their Eyes

A few years ago my oldest son defined what Fatherhood looked like to him after 7 years with me:

  • Fun
  • Awesome
  • Tall
  • Holy
  • Eats Alot
  • Really Stinky
  • Smart

He knows me pretty good! And I’m trying to live up to most of this list. But being aware of what’s seen through their eyes is so important as a Dad. They learn so much from what they see, and smell I guess. My to do list for my boys: Be intentional, listen, point them to God’s Word, accumulate experience & memories. And remember, he/she may be Just Like You.

How would your son or daughter define Fatherhood by what she sees in you?

Got Our Redneck Wedding On this Weekend

Got to officiate my first real Redneck Wedding this Weekend. Barn, Hay, Rubber Boots, Bride riding in on a Landmaster. It was awesome! Congrats to Louis & Amy Bankston! And yes the groom got a brand new pair of rubber boots for the occasion.

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