Family Friday

I've briefly mentioned this before, but a conversation today reminded me of its importance. This is something our senior pastor does and talks about well, so a lot of my comments are paraphrases of the way he talks about this. 

A lot of times when you talk to pastors, you hear about a perceived conflict between ministry and family - as if the two are always fighting against each other. And sometimes, the balance can be difficult, because the lines aren't always clear. 

When I go to a Sunday School Christmas party with my wife, I'm her husband, but I'm also the pastor. 

When we go out to eat as a family, we're there as a family, but are often interrupted by church people who want to say hello. 

People don't limit their capacity die or get sick between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday. They call me when I'm at home. And they should. 

My mind doesn't turn "off" very easily. I could be sitting at dinner thinking about my sermon on Sunday, or sitting in my office thinking about my wife at home. 

The distinctions get blurry. But the two don't have to be in conflict. 

 If something is good for my family, it's good for my ministry. If something is good for my ministry, it's good for my family. It isn't good for my ministry for me to be "doing" ministry 90 hours per week. Those habits mean that I haven't done a good job investing in others or empowering them to do ministry - or worse that I believe only I can do ministry the right way. 

If I'm at home investing in my family at healthy levels, that's a good thing for my ministry. It means my marriage is strong, and my kids are happy - which only increases my potential for longevity in ministry.  

Pastors who say that they can't be home because there's too much ministry are generally guys(or girls) who have either an over-realized sense of themselves, or a low view of their families. Likewise, guys who use their families as an excuse for not working hard are usually guys who don't really love ministry in the first place. 

The two aren't in conflict. They complement each other. You don't have to choose between ministry and family. 


Kara said...

Good post! glad you keep it all balanced!