Balancing Ministry & Home Life
I’ve been married to a pastor for almost 20 years. That makes me sound way older than I feel! Pat and I don’t have the balance between ministry and home life mastered, but we’ve been serving in ministry for a while now and have learned many things along the way. By far, your most important ministry in life is to your spouse and then your children. Your ministry at church is valuable and important, but from what I have found, if you can prioritize your family, your ministry at church will be stronger as well.
My husband, Pat, has done an incredible job of doing ministry with excellence and knowing when to take care of our family. Never has this been clearer than this past year. It was over a year ago when we found out that I had breast cancer. It was a year full of doctor’s appointments, chemo sessions, and surgeries. Pat had to navigate how to continue to work at our church and take the time needed to care for me. There was not a single time that I felt he wasn’t available for me. He made me and my health a priority in his life. This has not only strengthened our marriage, but God allowed this to strengthen his ministry as well!
1. Communicate More than You Think You Need To
We are still learning how to do this, but thankfully we have made progress from our early days! I can remember a night when Pat and I were dating. He was speaking at a student event of a good friend of his. I came along to support him. The entire night, I was surrounded by people I didn’t know, and Pat barely gave me glances across the room. As we went home that night, I was upset that he didn’t pay me more attention. I had walked into that night with expectations of how things would go, but I never communicated those expectations. At the same time, Pat walked into the night with a different set of expectations. If we had spent some time communicating our expectations, the night would have gone very differently. I’m so glad that night happened because we were able to start a line of communication about what our expectations were for how our relationship would work in a life of ministry. Most issues can be fixed with clear communication and a willingness to compromise.
2. Bring the Family when Possible
If your family is interested in going to camp or the mission trip, find a way to bring them along. Our kids have been on most of our trips to some degree. They also know they are welcome at church with Dad. Right now, they are both in our student ministry, but for years, they were the little kids that everyone knew.
One year, our daughter’s birthday happened to be during the high school mission trip. The kids and I were staying with my parents that week but wanted to drive up to where the mission trip was for the day. Pat bought a ton of candy and passed it out to the students so that when we showed up, all the students would start handing my daughter candy for her birthday. She still talks about that trip! Pat made a way for her to feel special and loved, even though he was “working” on her birthday.
3. When You’re Home, Be Home
In ministry, there can be long days and nights. However, when you are home, be present with your spouse and children. The ministry of presence in your family will speak volumes regarding how they feel loved and cared for. There will always be a balance between fulfilling the role that God has called you to with excellence and being the spouse and parent you need to be. Different seasons in the church or life may require you to lean heavily in one direction or the other for a time.
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- Take an honest look at your home/church balance. Are you in a healthy place
- What are some simple steps you could take that would help balance your work/family life?
Ready for more articles and training? Check out these top posts!