Monday, July 21, 2008

Family & Ministry Balance

I have a balance problem. My dream is to be a real Christ-follower, fabulous husband, wonderful father, exceptional minister, reliable friend, and tremendous athlete (no, I will not give up on the later). Anyway, my problem comes in managing each of those pursuits in a way that does not hinder the quest itself. To be more specific, my real issue is balancing my family life with my work life.

It is nothing for me to leave the house before 7:00AM and not return until after 8-9:00PM. During a normal 9-5 day, I feel guilty if I leave before anyone else, regardless of the hours I have put in days/weeks prior. To me, it is paramount to set the pace. With that being said, how am I setting the example in regards to valuing family? What does it say about me that I could spend 6-7 days or 60+ hours a week in the office? Perhaps my pursuit of wanting to be an exceptional minister has taken priority over being a fabulous husband and wonderful father… and I know that if my wife and kids are neglected, they will resent God and the church because of it!

In all of this, there is a reality that being home is not enough either. Like every other home owner, I have a yard to tend to, a house to help clean, and a prescription for down-time (this is not nearly as lame as it sounds, and it is legit – I will post on this later this week). So the point is that even if I get home at a decent hour, my time cannot be spent doing stuff, it needs to be spent with my family. They need to experience a genuine love for them and a desire to be around them. They need to know that they are missed when not around. They don’t need me gone all day on a regular basis – only the rare exception. They don’t need me coming home on the phone. They don’t need me running in the door, only to run out and do the yard. They don’t need me distracted with stuff when I am with them.

Recently I read an article online discussing this very topic. A guy named Todd Rhoades (MMI) put out a post called, “Practical Ways for Pastors to Love Their Wives and Families.” Within his article he had the following list:

• Come home at the exact time you say you will be home; and prepare your heart to serve your family, not be served.
• Share with your wife and kids some of the good things that are going on in the church, and then thank them for helping to make that possible.
• Give your wife flowers and a hand written card when she least expects it.
• Schedule a weekly time where you watch the kids and your wife gets out doing whatever she wants. When you can, give her a whole day off from the kids.
• Leave the church at church so dad can be dad at home.
• Pray for your family and with your family.

This is a great list. Ministry demands all sorts of hours and there will be times where situations are beyond my control, but for the most part this list is doable. The article where I got this list closed with this, “Above all, guard your family relationship. And take one or two of these ideas this week. They WILL make a difference in your family AND in your ministry!” It is my hope to be better at balancing the quest to be all I can be, I know it is essential to take care of my family or there will be no ministry to worry about!

1 comment:

wrightmommy said...

That Fabulous word. I love it. It made the whole article complete.