My Ministry Mistress

24 Mar

Have you ever had an early morning revelation? One of those 4am kind?  I am not sure what woke me up so early, but I definitely had something on my mind, that sank into my heart. Being involved in youth ministry it’s not a regular 9-5 40 hour a week job, I knew that starting out. There is some flexibility that comes with the position, and I love that, but my ministry switch is never fully switched off. There is always email/text/Facebook to answer, events to be planned, meeting to attend, lessons to be written, and so on.

This early morning wake up call made me realize, I have been cheating on my wife and family with a mistress named ministry. I have been robbing my family of time, energy, and attention. Fear weighed heavily on my heart, what if when my kids are older, they feel I payed more attention to other peoples kids than to my own? After reflecting on what ramifications of that would be, I knew somethings had to change. Later that afternoon I received a call from a fellow youth pastor and friend, Barry Sharp. We spent some time unpacking my feelings, what boundaries I could place in my life to protect my first ministry. My wife and kids. Here is what we came up with.

  • No working from home when I should be spending time with my family- Here I sit at a local coffee shop
  • De-tech when spending time with the family- text, email, Facebook, phone calls, etc.
  • My wife has first and final say on my calendar
  • Establish boundaries with my students and leaders
  • Give away ministry pieces if someone can do it 80% or better
  • Date my wife once a week
  • Spend one on one time with my kids weekly
  • Involve my family in ministry whenever possible and appropriate
  • Keep Thursday’s sacred

While my ministry switch might not ever be switched completely “off” my prayer is that I will be able to pause when I spend time with my family.

Pastor what do you have in place to protect your first ministry? I would love to hear what you are doing.

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3 Responses to “My Ministry Mistress”

  1. Carol March 24, 2010 at 3:55 PM #

    Always good to listen to those “heart tugs” . . . you ARE a good man, husband, father, pastor, son. The balancing all those calls on your time is the hardest part.

  2. John Garay March 24, 2010 at 5:39 PM #

    Wow… God has been convicting me of the same thing… I listed to a preaching called “The Ox” by Driscoll and it convicted the daylights out of me… I have decided to prioritze God, My Family and then the Church… That means my time at home is sacred and dedicated to my wife….

  3. Dennis Beckner March 24, 2010 at 9:04 PM #

    It’s good to set these boundaries. This post reminds me of a funeral I attended for one of my college heroes. Among the thoughts his son shared from stage were, “My dad was amazing. I just wish I could have had more of him. My whole life I felt like I had to share him with everybody in the college community and there wasn’t enough of him left over for our family.” I would imagine if his dad could hear those thoughts from heaven, they would be both honoring and convicting at the same time.

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