Connections: Roger Gibson
June 15, 2014
The Greatest Opportunity
Roger Gibson serves as senior director of Adult and Family Ministries for the Assemblies of God. Gibson joined the AG National Leadership and Resource Center last fall with 20 years of experience in adult and family church resourcing as a vice president at the Smalley Relationship Center, founded by Gary Smalley. Gibson recently spoke with Scott Harrup, Pentecostal Evangel managing editor.
evangel: This Father’s Day, how would you describe being a dad?
ROGER GIBSON: It’s the greatest opportunity we have on earth. As men, we are always trying to measure our significance, our importance in life. We need to recognize fatherhood is absolutely huge in that evaluation.
Outside of loving your wife, being present with your children must be your priority. Be there. It takes more than just being in the house; you have to be an engaged presence.
evangel: How can a dad be more intentional about his presence?
GIBSON: You have to look beyond yourself when you’re home in the evening or on the weekend. You can’t just mentally check out in front of the TV. You have to find opportunities to speak into your kids’ lives. When they say, “Dad, I need help with my homework,” you’re there.
This struggle to identify our priorities affects us whether we’re in the career world or in ministry. During my previous years of family ministry it was very important, even though we were involved in marriage and family issues, that our team understood our first ministry was to our own families.
So I drew boundaries. On most days, at 5 p.m., I was headed home. Barring emergencies, after eight I was not going to answer any phone calls. We focused on our family time and shut out outside demands.
evangel: How did God lead you into this area of ministry?
GIBSON: Originally, I didn’t intend to work in family ministry. I majored in finance in college. Wall Street was my dream. But I only worked in that environment for a year. My father-in-law, Gary Smalley, had been asking me to work with him at his resource table at places where he would speak, such as Promise Keepers.
People would come back to the table and talk about how much the resources ministered to them and their families. After a year of weekends like that, he asked me to come and work for him.
[My wife] Kari and I prayed about it. It was not what I had planned or trained for, but it became clear that God had prepared me for that. Gary said to me, “Do you want to be about making money or making an impact on families?”
evangel: Talk about your transition to the National Leadership and Resource Center.
GIBSON: One of the main reasons I chose to come here is the Assemblies of God sees the importance of cradle-to-grave ministry. We are committed to marriage and family discipleship. And our foundation is scriptural. Go back to God’s view of the home expressed in passages such as Deuteronomy 6, and you begin to understand the family is where discipleship happens.
Within the family, we need to discern what being a Spirit-empowered person means. What is a Spirit-empowered marriage? That doesn’t mean just staying married; it means happily married. There’s a big difference between the two.
When we define family roles biblically, then we want to create an environment where each family member can be developed. We want to equip moms and dads to be a part of discipling their children with spiritual formation at home. As they start engraining these biblical beliefs in their kids, when that generation reaches 18 they will know what God says about marriage. It’s a continuing cycle.
evangel: Any other comments?
GIBSON: I always keep 1 Corinthians 16:13,14 in focus: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (ESV). This really is the definition of a dad. To stand firm in the faith is really modeling what it means to be a follower of Jesus.