Tag Archives: Daddy date

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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3 Ways to Treasure Your Kids

Recently, I read an article about a dad that spends $440 on his cable bill to make sure he spends quality time with his kids.  He had good intentions, but I’m pretty sure that poor guy missed the mark.  It was like a hunter with a clear shot of a deer and shot his own foot.  Good try.

Sadly, there are times when my intentions may be good to spend time with my kids, but I miss the mark.  My kids are all preschool age and under, and I constantly hear from parents of older kids, “They grow up so fast”.  I don’t want to let time just fly by, and not try my very best to build memories, impact my kids with my time, and allow my kids to feel like they are treasured by their dad.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, but here are 3 ways I want to do, to treasure my kids:

The B-I-B-L-E.   Each night, we gather in one of their rooms and we read the Bible together.  We are currently reading through The Jesus Storybook Bible.  This book is fantastic.  It points each story back to Jesus, something I always want to do with my kids, is point them to the Savior.  Sure, there are times when giggles overcome the story (like one time when I read the name Nebuchadnezzar, and my kids couldn’t stop laughing for a solid 10 minutes), and there will be times when you have to encourage them to pay attention, but it is all worth it.  I love getting them involved, asking questions, doing motions to the story…I have the opportunity to make their daily Bible reading fun, and I try to take full advantage.

Out of Cell Phone Range.  One of the biggest daggers that I have received thus far in my parenting career is when my oldest daughter said “I wish Daddy would put his cell phone down and watch what I am doing”.  I didn’t hear her, but my wife did and pointed it out to me.  Ouch!  That one stung for a while.  So, when I come home from work, or if I am playing with the kids, I try (notice I said try) to not have my cell phone in my pocket.  Dinner table, playing outside, vacation…these are times when the cell phone needs to be “out of range”.  This all may sound silly to some of you, but whatever may cause you distraction, remove it, and give your attention to your kids.  Whether it is a phone, the TV, computer, or work-related papers/items…push them to the side for your kids.

Daddy (Mommy) Dates.  My oldest calls just going to pick up something at the store a “Daddy date”.  And I love that.  I love spending one-on-one time with my kids, and I hope I can sustain this special time as they grow older.  I know it will get harder and will take a larger commitment, but it is something that shows each child they are treasured and valued.  This is opportunity for purposeful and important conversations to happen, and it also just time to get to know each other and show them love.  I’m looking forward to many dates in the years ahead…with me, not with boys.  Yeah, I’m fine with them being preschool age forever =)

These are just a few ways that I treasure my kids.  What do you do with your kids to treasure them?  I’d love to hear and learn from you!

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