Profile of a Pastor: Sean Farver of The Kirk
Ever wonder what it's like to be a parent and a pastor these days? I caught up with and interviewed Sean Farver, Pastor of Kirk of the Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is the campus pastor for Kirk Crossing, the Kirk of the Hills' new location at Jenks West Intermediate High School.
Sean is married to Kambra and they have two noisy boys Ethan (7 years old) and Owen (4 years old). I asked him what would be his #1 piece of advice for new dads. His response, "Embrace change! Even though I had nine months to prepare myself (I'm a world-class procrastinator - I'll tell you about it later), there came a singular moment after our first child had been born when my primitive man-brain finally realized that everything had changed. I was no longer just Sean, I was a father. Kambra and I were no longer just husband and wife, we were "mom and dad". We were no longer just a couple, we were a family. While that was soaking in, I remember anticipating that we would soon go home and settle into a "routine". Uh... about the only 'routine' thing about having a new baby is that the 'routine' seemed to constantly change. Just when you got used to things, they changed. And they keep changing! All this change is a very good thing, though. I think it's one of the main ways in which God cures us of our self-centeredness."
MSQ: When did you first decide you wanted to be a pastor?
Sean: That's actually kind of a funny question for me. Truth be told, I remember thinking at various points in my life that there was no way I would ever want to do that. It seemed to me like it would be extremely boring and that you could never have any fun. I loved being involved in the church and really enjoyed youth ministry, worship leading through music, and various other things, but pastoring just seemed out of the question. As time went on, however, I began to see things differently (also, I probably matured A LOT - and still have a long way to go). I found I had a gift for teaching the Bible and that teaching began to put me in a 'pastoral' relationship with people that I'd never had before. I began sensing God's call to become a pastor and many people graciously affirmed that call on my life. So, in 2003, my wife and I moved to California and I attended Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. It was an incredible time of learning and growth for which I'm very thankful. Coming back to Oklahoma and joining the pastoral staff at The Kirk has been a true blessing as well.
MSQ: Does being a pastor make you a better dad and a better husband?
Sean: I would say that being a follower of Christ is what helps me, more so than being a pastor. Being a pastor is a special form of Christian service which I'm grateful and humbled to undertake but, contrary to popular belief (and even the opinion of some pastors - yeah, I said it), it's not a lofty position for those who are better than others and have everything figured out. There's no special super-secret spiritual information available to me that's not also readily available to anyone who asks God for wisdom. That said, I'm reminded daily that being a good pastor is really all about being a good servant. Coincidentally, that's the same characteristic that I see in some of the best dad's and husbands I know.
MSQ: What are some of the things you are doing at Kirk Crossing for kids?
Sean: We love kids at Kirk Crossing! We are entirely committed to helping them grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. During our worship service, kids have a full program of their own in which they focus on the content of a particular Bible passage or story, learn core virtues of the Christian faith, gain new skills for understanding God's Word, and have a great time connecting with one another. Before their program they can play in the gym, bounce on the inflatables, and have some great snacks (hopefully in that order). In addition, we organize several fun gatherings for kids throughout the year. Truth be told, I wish I was a kid again.
MSQ: What about adult programs?
Sean: Since we don't yet have a building, adult programs are a bit trickier but we have some great things going on. First, all of our adults have the opportunity to connect in a small group that meets in someone's home. These groups are vital for growing in discipleship and fellowship. Also, Kirk Crossing men meet weekly at 8am on Tuesday mornings at the Panera at Tulsa Hills for Bible study and we also have a monthly meeting (last Friday night of the month) called The ManCave. ManCave is a time to eat together followed by a couple of guys sharing their testimony (no, we don't pick people on the spot - no worries), and a brief (I really do mean brief, I'm not just saying that) message on a topic pertinent to men/guys/dudes. The ladies at Kirk Crossing gather once a month (first Sunday morning following worship of the month) for Conversations which is a great time of fellowship, sharing, and just getting to know each other (or at least that's what I'm told - they never invite me). All of our adults also serve in some capacity - serving is a core part of following Christ; besides that, a little work never hurt anyone! Being part of The Kirk also means that there are NUMEROUS opportunities to get involved in missions: locally, nationally, and internationally. I'm sure there's more but I'm tired just thinking about all of that.
MSQ: Back to your family. What is one thing you hope to teach your kids as they grow up?
Sean: If I had to pick one thing for my boys it would be that Jesus Christ is the true measure of a man. The most important thing about a man (or woman for that matter) is not how much money he makes, how good looking he is, how strong he is, how smart he is, or how talented. The most important thing is how he reflects the love, character, and servant attitude of Christ. Jesus said, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." First things first.