This past week and weekend were hectic. Long day, lots of details. Forty-eight invigorating hours of ministry work between Thursday evening and Sunday evening. I was mentally distracted at home. For part of that time, my wife and kids were with me. In another part, they were off doing other activities while I was busy. Once the schedule came to a close, I had to unwind and purposefully take a break. Thankfully, it was a planned sprint – a full weekend of great opportunity.
We’re coming up on another season of hectic schedules and full ministry opportunities. If I’m not careful, I can lose the harmony that comes when I have taken a break to invest in my home and family after a heavy season.
A while back, I read a tremendous book by Andy Stanley called When Work and Family Collide, on the topic of balancing work and ministry with family and home. (Every ministry leader with young kids at home should read this book.)
The author writes about an important concept using a word picture. When you are maxed out in ministry, you leave your family “holding the rock” until you return back home. Most ministry families know this. It’s why being yoked together with a like-minded husband or wife is so important. Even on the best days, the ministry is tough and usually busy.
Because we’re all in this mission together, the family at home understands they have to help carry the load at times. We hand them the rock saying, “Hold this until I get back.” They can hold it for awhile, especially when they know it’s not for long. But at some point, it becomes too much.
The author describes what happens when you hand your kids the rock, saying, “I’ll be home after this heavy season. Could you just hold this for a bit?” You might drive back by the house to check on them and say, “Thanks for continuing to hold the rock.” Another person might check on them and ask, “Is everything okay? I see you’re holding a heavy rock.” Your spouse and kids might say, “It will be fine. It’s only for awhile.”
The danger comes when an unbalanced life produces prolonged repeated seasons of leaving your family holding the rock for too long and the rock comes crashing down. As much as they love you and want to help, they can no longer shoulder the burden.
Ministry life balance, in many ways, is an oxymoron. But, the same flexibility that causes those who work in the church to be so busy, also allows for needed downtime when we work the calendar right.
Don’t leave your kids or your spouse holding the rock too long. Go home and take the burden away.
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