...“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
A Glimpse of Family Life in Jason Meyer’s Home
The Night When Bethlehem Elders Came Calling
By David Michael, Pastor for Parenting & Family Discipleship
Earlier this year when the elders were considering Jason Meyer as a possible candidate there were separate interviews, examining different areas of Jason’s life and ministry. For the interview covering “marriage and family,” we arranged for an interview at the Meyer home on Thursday evening, March 1.
When Tim Held, Yoshi Kasahara, and I arrived at their Coon Rapids home we were warmly welcomed by Jason, Cara, and their four children Gracie (9), Allie (7), Jonathan (5), and David (3). The children had no clue why we were there but were obviously happy and excited about having guests. In less than sixty seconds they made us feel like favorite uncles and very much at home.
Passing through the living room we joined the family at their dinner table. Cara prepared a delicious dessert which I thoroughly enjoyed since there are no calories to consider when eating in the line of duty, right?
The Prayer Wall
Next to where I was sitting, above one of the counters in the kitchen was a long pass-though window. The wall above that window was labeled “prayer wall.” It had been painted with magnetic paint and then covered with black chalkboard paint. When I asked about this Jason explained:
Our prayer wall has two purposes: (1) prayer and Scripture reminders that help guide our family times (meals and devotions) and (2) personal reminders of prayer and Scripture encouragement for us as individuals throughout the day.
I am amazed how many times I will go in the kitchen and be reminded - "Oh yeah, I need to pray for them." We always try to have Scripture verses, prayer requests in the lives of our church or friends, and some missionary prayer cards to keep before us.
After a delightful conversation with everyone getting to know each other a little better, we moved to the living room for family worship time. The children were very happy that their guests would share with them what seemed to be one of their favorite family activities. Jason sat on the couch opposite Cara with David and Gracie snuggling close to her. Allie sat cross-legged on the floor in front of Yoshi and Tim. Jonathan and I shared a comfortable chair next to Jason.
Before bringing the evening Bible lesson Jason reviewed with the children what they had learned from some recent lessons. The lesson for this evening was titled The Brass Snake (Numbers 21) which Jason read from The Child's Story Bible.1 The lesson offered some simple questions which provided an opportunity for Jason to interact with the children as he read the story.
After the lesson, Jason turned our attention to the Fighter Verse passage for that week, Psalm 103: 11–14. Allie begged to say it and beginning with verse 1 quoted the 14 verses they had memorized so far. When she was finished, Jonathan pleaded for a chance and repeated all 14 verse. Rather than reciting Psalm 103 again, Gracie quoted Psalm 23 for us. Finally David, shared two of his Foundation Verses, Genesis 1:1 and Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters….”
Then it was time for “the questions!”2 Allie squealed, “Oh, this is my favorite part—I love the questions!” Her siblings obviously agreed. In “popcorn” fashion Jason began, “Gracie, who made you?” “God made me,” came the immediate reply. “Jonathan, what else did God make?” Jonathan said, “God made all things.” “Allie, why did God make you?” “To glorify him and to enjoy him.” “Gracie, how can you glorify God?” “By loving him and obeying his Word.”
After a few more rounds of questions and answers Jason reached for his guitar and led us in a couple of worship songs, including what seemed to be a family favorite, “The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength.” We ended with a brief season of family prayer.
While Jason and Cara got their children ready for bed and settled in their rooms, Tim, Yoshi, and I prepared our questions for the interview and shared some impressions from what we had just experienced.
Later in his report to the elders, Tim wrote:
The family devotions were not fabricated. There was a rhythm to it that was known, expected, anticipated, enjoyed, and eagerly participated in by all four children. “Intentionally bringing up his children to know and delight in God” is inadequate to describe the authentic learning and loving that goes on in his home. Both Jason and Cara are wise beyond their years in shepherding their children as individuals in ever-changing and age-appropriate ways.
Yoshi added these comments:
Jason’s relationship with his wife and children appeared to be joyful and healthy….There was a good balance between teaching, instruction, and affirmation. His teaching was age-appropriate with a good balance of memorizing Scripture and catechisms as well as reading the testimonies of God’s grace. His children were joyful and engaged in good conversation with adults.
Although we still had the interview portion of our visit before us, we had already gained more insight into Jason’s marriage and family life than 100 questions could have given us. We were encouraged and thankful that God seemed to be giving Bethlehem a pastor who would not only support our vision for families but was living it as an example to us all.
The Interview with Jason and Cara
After the kids were settled, Jason and Cara returned and for the next hour responded to these questions from us.
Questions for Jason:
• In what ways are you most satisfied with your leadership as a husband and father? Dissatisfied?
• What will Cara say are your greatest strengths as a husband/father? In what ways will she say you need to grow the most?
• How do you instruct your children in light of the influences of the world outside your home?
• How do you and Cara go about establishing specific goals for your children/family?
• How do you shepherd and encourage Cara spiritually?
• If asked, would you be able to describe how Cara and each of the children are doing spiritually and what specific ways they need to grow?
• Is there a place for anger in your home? How do you respond when it arises in yourself or in members of your family?
• How do you understand the responsibilities of a pastor/elder when his children are unbelieving?
Questions for Cara:
• What are Jason’s greatest strengths as a husband/father? In what ways does he need to grow the most?
• What it is like when Jason is under stress? How does it affect his relationship with you and the children?
Questions for Jason and Cara:
• How do you guard time for your family now and what adjustments do you anticipate if you were to be called to this position?
• Knowing the purpose of this interview, is there a question that we should have asked you?
• Is there any question you wish we would have asked and didn’t?
In this portion of his report to the elders, Tim summarized what we heard in response to these questions:
I found Jason’s answers to be both worshipful and pastoral at the same time. He has a way of making my heart (not just my head) burst with love and admiration for God, and at the same time I felt shepherded in a way that Christ was near and the Holy Spirit helping me in the earthly reality of the moment. To accomplish both at the same time is a golden gift.
Jason effectively expressed himself and invited his wife to participate. He understood our questions and the intent of the questions. His answers were filled with scriptural teaching and often inspiring.
We made our way to the door, put our shoes back on, said our “Minnesota good-byes” and after a brief conversation about next steps Tim, Yoshi, and I headed for our home praising God and feeling more blessed, more refreshed, more thankful than when we came.
One last quote from Tim’s report to the elders which I appreciated:
The interview in Jason’s home should have been videotaped so we could show it at every pre-marriage preparation counseling sessions. We witnessed a marriage that is strong, affectionate, and actively engaged and nurtured. He lovingly leads; and you can see how his wife feels lifted up, protected, empowered, and deeply secure. She models a submission in her service to him and the family that is immensely respectful and life-giving to him. There is a decisive “we” in their marriage that models a biblical complimentary marriage relationship (i.e. Christ and His Church). As a couple, they both have a clear understanding of their own, and the other’s, areas of strengths and weaknesses. They do not hide from or excuse their weaknesses.
May such obvious grace abound all the more for the Meyer family and for Bethlehem as we anticipate this next season of life and ministry together.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
1 Vos, Catherine F., and Marianne Catherine Vos Radius. The Child's Story Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983 (first edition published in 1935)
2 For these simple catechism questions, Jason was using My 1st Book of Questions and Answers, by Mackenzie Carine. Ross-shire, U.K.: Christian Focus Publications, 2004