“Remember, the best thing you can do for your ministry is build a godly family; and the best thing you can do for your family is build a ministry that glorifies God. Home and ministry are friends, not enemies; and it’s your job to keep it that way.” – Warren Wiersbe
It’s matter of fact, cut and dried with guys like Warren Wiersbe. I love his wisdom. I recently read his book called On Being A Servant Of God. He spoke of making sure home and ministry aren’t enemies.
Pastors and church leaders come to the role as an everyday person – with a calling – but with obligations to create a faithful family and household as well as serve in ministry. Indeed, it’s part of scriptural qualifications of such leaders (1 Timothy 3:1-13)
He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 1 Timothy 3:4-5
If your home life is out of whack, your ministry will suffer and if your ministry is too busy, you will bring chaos and stress to the home. It’s your job to help keep a heartbeat in your home for the things of God. It not always easy, but home and ministry can be friends. They must work together to help accomplish both a faithful household and a successful ministry. Here are seven thoughts to consider:
Minister With Your Family
As often as possible and fitting, involve your family in ministry with you. Take your spouse or the whole family with you as you attend a conference or event. Take your kids along as you stop by to visit someone who would welcome kids. Serve together in ministry for special events (for which you may or may not be directly responsible). I have memories of my brothers and I helping my dad deliver Christmas meals the Saturday before Christmas. I also have memories of going to a nursing home with my dad when he was leading a service or visiting with people. Another memory I have is taking some bus trips with my dad and whole family when he was driving for special events at our church. [Read: five ways to involve your kids in ministry with you]
Think Harmony Not Balance
It’s a fact of life: ministry is not 9-5. There are times you work at night. There are weekends you are gone. I have learned you will become really frustrated if you think you can truly have the calendar balanced out each and every week. It changes, it’s fluid. Instead of thinking even balance between the two, think harmony. After a heavy ministry season, schedule intentional time away with your family. Take a day or evening or more to be totally at home, working on the project list, scheduling fun time, etc.
Build Strong Systems
One of the best ways to ensure that you will be able to maintain both a ministry and a household is to build strong systems. I once heard systems defined as anything that Saves You Stress, Time, Energy and Money. Figure out your ministry systems, your style of work, your delegation, your team, your communication, your deadlines, your processes. This will help you schedule your time accordingly and will help spread the burden of the load to others on your team. Get your home systems – how you will accomplish chores, who will take care of certain duties, cooking and menu schedule, paying bills, syncing apps, etc. These little systems will allow you to maximize your time and accomplishments in both settings.
Don’t Abuse Flexibility
Ministry leaders often have the benefit of a flexible schedule. With flexibility comes the need for intentionality. When you are at the office – invest in your work 100%. Get it done. Accomplish your to-do list. Don’t get sidetracked. Do the deep work and planning you need to do while you are there. Don’t dilly dally. Too often, as I know from personal experience, I wind up doing something in the evening at home that I should have gotten done earlier that day in the office. Of course, there are times when this occasionally may happen, but shouldn’t be the norm. On the other side, everyday home schedules and obligations should not become an excuse for your lack of performance in your ministry role. Obviously, there are major times where anyone would understand, but if you are hiding behind the craziness of your family schedule as the primary reason for your substandard work, it’s not fair to the church or your home. No excuses. Get it done. Being fully present at home means you reached the daily finish line at the office. [Read: Ministry Finish LInes, How To Know When You’ve Succeeded]
Create A Family Mission Statement
Why not create a family mission statement. Remind yourselves that even your household and relationships can be a light to the world. A long time ago, we created an acrostic with our last name to remind our kids of what we wanted them to be. It was a framework for our kids to live into: PRICE (Prayerful, Respectful, Integrity Filled, Christ Centered, Excellence in all we do) It seems like for every new season, the style changes – how we pray for meals, how we do bedtime prayers, etc. But, keep striving to do all you can to keep your family centered on Christ.
Remember Your Micro Mission Field
I first heard this phrase from a pastor in our region (David Kueker). It’s been in my mind ever since. As someone who has thought about my “mission field” for years and years, I had never thought of home being a tiny little mission field. It’s a place I can invest, learn about people, share the message, live out a witness and love people. It’s so important in this little micro mission field to understand that my wife is to be cherished because she is God’s child. My children are to be equipped, loved, nurtured and disciplined, as I have been given the unique – no other relationships quite like ours for all of eternity – opportunity to be their dad. Our home needs to be a witness.
Grow in self-awareness of the boundaries you need to put into place. Become aware of the times when you are asking your family to shoulder the load of a crazy season of ministry. [Read: Left Holding The Rock] Lately, for me the boundaries have been related to the digital world. I actually have on my daily to-do-list to leave my phone in the car when I get home in the evening. As often as possible I try to do this so that at least the first part of the evening – dinner and beyond can be literally free from distraction. Set in place the boundaries you need to for home and ministry to remain friends, not enemies.
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