Hey, we’re church members too!
Don’t forget your wife and kids are part of the church family and need ministry too!
I see it way too often – a sold-out pastor who is passionate about shepherding and leading his church. There is nothing wrong with that focus and passion. In fact, it’s important and foundational to ministry. But when that focus and passion are concentrated solely on the church, sadly pastors neglect the ministry to their own family.
Ministry does often require a team approach and your wife and kids are vital team members. But they can easily be taken for granted when the demands of the church dominate our priorities. We don’t do this on purpose. We assume they will understand (and they often do) and that we can make up the time later.
Pastor don’t forget your wife and kids are “for you” and the ministry. They want to see the church have impact for Christ as well. They love you! But if we’re not careful they can become collateral damage in the struggle to balance life and ministry. If we don’t intentionally schedule time for and with them, it won’t happen. They can feel neglected because they were neglected. Your primary ministry is as a husband and father and if ministry robs your family of that then the secondary ministry to your church loses significance.
Consider this when ministering intentionally to your family and making those times S.P.E.C.I.A.L.:
SCHEDULE – Mark dates, times, and events on your calendar as you would for any other meetings as though they were non-negotiable for changing. If someone else asks about those dates/times you can truly say you are already scheduled and offer an alternative. It is important to protect this time.
PLAN – Think of special things to do. They do not have to be expensive or elaborate. The fact that you made an effort and planned time with them is priceless.
EXPLAIN – Let them hear and sense your heart for them and the desire to have a special time together.
COMMIT – Stick to your plan and communicate it to your wife and kids. Do not change. If you do, you will spend whatever trust you’ve already earned.
INVOLVE – Get their ideas on what is special to them and what is going on in their lives. This is often simpler than you think it will be, but the memory lasts a lifetime. Rotate options to accommodate each person. Celebrate each person as a vital part of your family.
ADAPT – You will have those times you or they need to adjust. That’s life but adapting should be reserved for understandable reasons. But don’t be flippant with those times and changes. Affirm with all involved and then commit to a new time.
LOVE – Enjoy the journey and memory-making with them. Don’t just physically be there while your body-language says your mind and heart are somewhere else. Your wife and kids will know immediately that you are just going through the motions and you’ll likely get the opposite reaction that you hoped for.
Pastor, I know you don’t intentionally disregard the importance of investing time with your wife and kids. But it happens. There may be seasons when it is inevitable, but our choices can become patterns that can become habits that inevitably become our character. Sometimes it is not until later in life when we see the damage. Don’t wait! Invest with intention today. You will reap the benefits now and for the rest of your life and so will your wife and kids.
Would you be willing to share in the blog comments section some creative ideas for ministry families to enjoy together? Share the most enjoyable times you and your family have had.