28 April 2007 ~ 2 Comments

Family and Ministry

It’s a tough balance for most people in ministry.  There’s always something to do and something or someone competing with your time with your family.  Over the years I’ve come to know lots of friends and mentors in ministry, and most of them are still trying to figure it out.  To be honest, I can only think of one that seems to have a pretty healthy grip on it, in my opinion.  The rest of us tend to either work too much and don’t give spouses and children what they deserve, which is the majority of us (myself included at times), and a few who swing the other way.

I bring this up cause I came across a great post last week that reviewed the teaching of Larry Osbourne at the National New Church Conference in Orlando last week.  He is the pastor of North Coast Church in Vista, a leading church in the multisite movement, a church that has an attendance of over 6000 every weekend.  In this session he talked about how to "Grow a Church and Still Have a Life."  Go take a few minutes to read his points over here.

The part that really caught me the most was his take on potential.  In the teaching, he says,

  • "Potential confuses what I could do with what I should do."
  • "Somehow, serving two masters (God and spouse) is better than maximizing your potential." 

Maybe to other people that just makes sense, but I guess for me it was a bit of a revolutionary thought.  The idea that just because I could have a larger "Kingdom impact" (at least as far as it seems to us) that may not be what God wants out of me.  That can be hard to wrap my head around.  But I recognize that God has given me an amazing wife and son at this point in my life, and they need to be my number one ministry in life.  If I’m not doing my job there, I don’t have anything to give others.

So, as we’ve made this shift into a new season of ministry, Rachel and I have tried to be very intentional in protecting our time together and the growing of our relationship.  Here’s two ways we’re doing that right now:

  • Date Night.  This is one of those things we always intended to do, but it rarely really happened in the past 3+ years.  So now, we’ve made Friday nights a sacred night for us.  That night could change as our schedule shapes up here, but we are set on having a weekly date night to date each other.  We take turns each week planning it, and it has to be on virtually no budget, so game nights will be plentiful.  So far it’s been a blast.
  • Coming Home.  I’ve promised Rachel that I’ll be home by (or very close to, depending on traffic) 5:30 p.m. each night, except for Wednesdays when I get home real late cause that’s my marathon day.  Of course this is a bit flexible for weeks when meetings arise and what not, but that’s the normal goal.  This gives me the chance each night to help give Caleb a bath, read to him and put him to bed.  And as an added bonus, since Rachel knows I’ll be home, she has a homemade dinner waiting for me every night!  She rocks!

So those are a couple of the goals I’ve set to try and truly put my family first.  I really believe that effective ministry can be done without sacrificing the well being of my family.  Hopefully Larry is an example of that truth, at least based on what I read here.  Another guy who I’ve heard is an amazing example of this is Andy Stanley, lead pastor of North Point church in Alpharetta, Georgia, who decided that he would leave the office everyday at 3:30 or 4:30 p.m. to be with his family.

Anyway, that’s it for now.  So now you know what my goals are and what my nights look like.  I’ll do my best to give myself to those I minister to at CLC, after I’ve ministered to my own household.  How about some of you others reading this who are in full time ministry?  Is this ever a struggle for you  What have you done to balance ministry and family?

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