Tag Archives: Building a home

5 Practical Ways to Balance Ministry and Family

We’ve all heard the “only work on Sundays” jokes (well, some aren’t joking) over the years.  But for those in full-time ministry, you know your only “workday” is not just on Sundays, but the hours can often overflow into the evening and into the weekend.  Still young in the pastorate, I’ve learned lessons the hard way, and am still learning ways of balancing my precious young family with the ministry that I cherish.  And, it is a question that I often ask veterans in ministry, who seem to have a great handle on balancing family and ministry.  So, here are just a few practical ideas that I’ve heard from my mentors.New Years Vacation2

  1. Take Them With You. This may be the advice I’ve heard the most from ministry veterans. And it is to take your family, especially your kids, with you while you do ministry. Take your kid with you to a hospital visit, allow your wife to participate in counseling when appropriate, and if in youth ministry, let your teens enjoy your kids and not see them as a hindrance. *Here’s another key: Teach your kids that being in ministry has benefits too. Although daddy may have late nights, they also have a day off during the week; can take them to conferences at cool hotels, and other perks. Show your family ministry is a blessing, not a burden.
  2. Go On Dates. Make dating your wife a priority in your life. Put it in your schedule on a regular basis. Plan ahead for babysitting and other arrangements that need to be made. But don’t stop there; take your kids on “dates” too. You’ll see this guy in line for the new Cinderella movie this weekend, not because it’s my favorite Disney movie (Beauty & the Beast and Tangled all the way!)…but because I want to spend special time with my kids, get to know them more personally, and let them know I value time with them. But this too takes planning and intentional work.
  3. Take Your Creativity Home. One of my mentors laid this dagger into my heart. He asked me the question “Is your time with your kids at home as creative as your activities with your teens/children ministries?” OUCH! That one hurt. So, in the months after, I’ve tried my best to be more creative in my time with my kids. This means I’ve set up obstacle courses in the basement, taken magazines out of the mail and put together “favorite things” craft projects, and even did a neighborhood soccer camp (I had 8 little girls from the neighborhood in my front yard!)!
  4. Drop Your Work Off at UDF. Another friend told me to drop off your ministry at a place on your way home. Simply pray to God and ask Him to take the burden of ministry, put the criticism, the challenges, and the difficult counseling appointment at the feet of Jesus. Sure, those things will still affect you, but your kids and wife still need your best when you get home. So, my goal is to drop off the struggles of ministry at the UDF on the way home.
  5. Your Phone Can Be Your Enemy. Put your phone down. One pastor mentor of mine even said he does not come into the house on the phone, but will either pull over or stay in the garage to finish the call. Other ideas given are to take the phone out of the pocket or belt holder, and place it on the coffee maker or dresser (just don’t put it in the microwave). This will allow you to hear it for emergencies, but lets it go when someone liked your picture of your cat playing the piano.

Please let me know how you balance ministry and family. I’d love to learn from you!

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How to Build a Spiritual Home

This past Saturday, I had the privilege to host a Parent/Grandparent Seminar.  One of the session topics was “Building a Home”.  For a guy who once lost all power to the first floor of his house after trying to fix an outlet…building a house is pretty overwhelming…and the thought of building a spiritual home, well that can be just as overwhelming.

So the next few weeks, I’d like to share the basics of building a home….not a house (because I can barely build a play house, and I wouldn’t know where to start).  But a home, well a good place to start is God’s Word, more specifically Psalm 127:1 – Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  This verse has less to do with the hammer and nails, and more to do with wisdom & parenting.  So in each of these steps, you will notice God’s Word supporting each idea and steps toward building a spiritual home.

Build a Home

Step #1 – Foundation – A Foundation of Faith

How is this Accomplished?

1st, Bring them to church – Hebrews 10:25

Kids Who Become Active Christ-followers as Adults (from Lifechurch.tv)

If mom and dad went to church:       72% of kids will as adults.

If mom only went to church:            15% of kids will as adults.

If dad only went to church:              55% of kids will as adults.

If neither mom nor dad:                   06% of kids will as adults.

Your church attendance makes a difference.  Teens are leaving the church at a rapid rate, and the biggest reason is not they are mad at church, but they just don’t see it as important.  The famed theologian Justin Bieber was recently quoted as saying for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him. I don’t have to go to church.” You as a parent need to show them it is…for spiritual growth, encouragement, place to serve, for community, and most of all to give glory & honor to our great God.

But it’s doesn’t stop there – the practical benefits are numerous.  Academically, Sociologists from BYU and Rice University found religiously affiliated youth are 40 percent more likely to graduate high school than their unaffiliated peers and 70 percent more likely to enroll in college.  Behaviorally, other studies have shown that religious involvement can also reduce drug & alcohol use and promiscuous behavior.

 

2nd, Don’t be afraid of the “G” word  – Joshua 24:15b “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The Barna Group published an incredible statistic. It found that less than 10% of families who regularly attend church have spiritual conversations in the home.  WHY is that?

Is the TV too loud?  – The average American spends more than 34 hours a week watching live TV, plus another 3 to 6 hours watching taped programs.

Communication Breakdown – According to NPD Group Research – Devices now outnumber people in America 425 million to 315.  Somebody call Orson Welles!  Is your cell phone a distraction?  Do you have a “no cell phone rule” at the dinner table?  The “distracted parent” has received wide-notoriety, as an article in the Wall Street Journal stated “Injuries due to playground equipment in kids under five are up 17 percent; swimming-pool injuries have climbed 36 percent in the same age group…a tweeting mom’s two-year-old drowned while she was posting pictures of a tortoise that was in their backyard.”

Not a Priority – God and His Word need to the foundation.  Not education, not comfortable living, not even an iPad…it has to be God, and He needs to be brought up in conversation.  40 hours of TV…at least mute the commercials!  Barna says:  Parents that regularly discuss spiritual matters, actively serve in the church, and pray together with their kids are almost twice as likely their child will remain faithful!  Deuteronomy 6:7 explains God should be discussed all the time.  Use teaching moments whenever they present themselves.  May have to sacrifice sleep with this b/c teens open up the most at 11pm…but do what you can to use these teaching opportunities ALL DAY LONG.

 

3rd, Address Doubts & Encourage Independent Faith

Most spiritual doubts occur in jr. high and high school – help them through it.  Don’t dismiss their doubts, but help them to make their faith their own.  Don’t force it on them.  Work through it with them.

If we break down Colossians 1:23 phrase by phrase, it gives us a 3-dimensional faith that we all need to have, especially our kids.

Persistent faith – “continue in the faith”

Perceptive faith – “which you have heard and which was preached”

Personal faith – “and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister”

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