Last week was an exciting one for Lisa and I as we welcomed our second child to the Bell family. Here you can see our first, ‘Emma’ with her baby sister ‘Addie’. Emma was excited to meet her, Addie on the other hand was not a big fan of meeting people…
I have been on vacation for a week and I am headed back tomorrow. We are all a little sleep deprived and very excited to be parents again. However, one of the blessings of having another Addie has been the insights God has provided for me as I reflect being a parent again. As I consider these last few weeks and as I look ahead, here is what I am learning about Family and Ministry:
Clarity: Having another child is a great way for me to be able to bring clarity to what matters most and to consider my primary ministry – my family. No matter how many tasks and how many events or programs I have, it’s important to realize that family should come before youth ministry. While youth ministry is of huge significance, it is my belief that God has called me to 1) Be child of His first, 2) Be a husband and father second, 3) A youth pastor third. Agree or disagree, this has been continuous theme I hear from mentors in my life.
Balance: Balance is always hard to find in ministry, but it is crucial that all of us should try to lead our families well and pursue balance. Two great books that I recommend on this area are: ‘Choosing to Cheat’ By Andy Stanley, and ‘What Matters Most’ by Doug Fields. Both books are an easy read and very practical.
Andy Stanley is the pastor at Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta which is one of the fastest growing churches in the nation…yet he maintains that family come first. He rarely works over 40 hours a week and God has done some completely amazing things at Northpoint. As I have kept my hours at a sustainable and healthy level, I have seen not only my family blessed, but the ministry too.
Example: The power of example is always a huge area I often talk about, (just see my previous post). You and I have too many students and families watching our lives for us to set a murky example of healthy balance. Ultimately, these students will live out what is modeled for them. It’s important to not only take care of our families first, but to realize that we helping those around us too.
Planning Ahead: Putting my family before ministry also means that I should give them priority in my schedule. As I look ahead at the Fall we already have some key family nights and date nights in our schedule. It’s often challenging to do this since ministry can consume us in many ways. However, it’s important to schedule family first.
Finally, as I have said earlier, I have seen great things happen not only in my family but in my ministry. When I have clarity and pursue healthy balance, I win, the church wins, and of course… my family wins too.
What is God teaching you about balancing family and ministry?
We celebrate the good gifts God gives us in our children. Children are a gift from the Lord. Psalm 127:3