Friday, February 3, 2012

Family as priority

As has been noted on this blog many times, the number one challenge for bivocational ministers is time constraints.  There never seems to be enough time to do all the things that need done.  It becomes very easy to focus on the hottest, most urgent needs while neglecting the ones that don't seem to demand our attention.  Unfortunately, doing that can easily lead one to lose sight of important things in life such as our families.

When I began my ministry I determined that I would not sacrifice my family on the altar of ministerial success as I had seen other pastors do.  During my ordination examination I made that very clear to the ones questioning me.  Incredibly, one pastor who had earlier confided in me how he had damaged his relationships with his family because he neglected them for the church spoke up stating he had a problem with my commitment to my family.  He continued to believe that a minister's primary focus must be on the church and God would take care of the family.  I didn't respond, but my thoughts on his beliefs were not very favorable (to say the least).

We do have many important things to do, but that does not mean that we can neglect our families to do them.  How we treat our spouses and our children is a reflection on our faith and will either add to or take away from our witness to others.  Scripture is very clear on the priority that believers are to give to their families, and being called to bivocational ministry does not negate that.  As I have said many times, if Jesus tarries my church will have many pastors after I've left, but my wife has one husband and my children have one father, and I have a commitment to them.  Part of that commitment is to create memories that will last a lifetime and even beyond.  When I have left this world I want my children and grandchildren to be able to remember wonderful family times that we shared, but that will not happen if we do not create such memories.

We are entering the weekend.  What are your plans?  If you are a pastor I know your Sunday is pretty full, but what about this evening and tomorrow.  I hope you don't need Saturday to develop your sermon for the next day.  Could you spend one day this weekend creating family memories?  How about half a day or even one evening?  Believe me, your family will remember those memories long after they have forgotten what you preached on Sunday.

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