- We answer the telephone during our family meal time or while we are spending some time with our families. Most homes have an answering machine or voice mail, and if your home doesn't it's about time to invest in one. Let the machine take the calls while you're involved with your family. You can return the calls later.
- We don't advocate for a fair salary and benefit package. I know how difficult this is, but we cannot expect our churches to provide a decent salary and benefit package if we don't even ask for it. At the very least we can let our churches know what it costs to maintain our families.
- We accept responsibility for tasks that are not ours. Someone in the church accepts a position in the church but doesn't fulfill the tasks of the position, so we follow along behind them and make sure those tasks gets done. Too many pastors are dusting the church furniture, picking up loose bulletins, mowing the grass, and making sure all the lights are out after everyone else leaves on Sunday.
- We refuse to take our vacations and days off, and if we do take them we allow people to contact us during those times. I heard of a pastor this week who was on vacation last week and called a church leader every day he was away to find out how things were going.
- We allow others in the church to voice their expectations for how our children and spouse should fit in the life of the church. Some in our women's mission circle didn't like it when I told them my wife would not serve as president of their organization nor would she take certain roles in the church. This was her wishes, but I made sure the right people understood she would not take certain roles in the church just because I was the pastor. I protected both our children in the same way when they were younger. Some pastors don't, and their families resent being expected to do certain things because they are part of the pastor's family.
I could continue to list more examples, but I hope you get the picture. If persons in the church consistently violate boundaries in your life and that of your family members it is because you have taught them it is OK to do so. If that is the case, today is the day to begin to set new boundaries and teach them to the congregation. Some won't like them, but that is their problem. I realize this may get you in trouble in some churches, but that is only because people have never been taught to respect the boundaries of a pastor, and they are not going to learn any younger! I do think you owe it to yourself and to your family to try to help the congregation learn the importance of respecting the boundaries you and your family have established, and if they won't learn this it may be time to begin asking God to open up new opportunities of ministry.