Balancing Family & Ministry Part 1: SYMC Giveaway

Today I begin a series focused on balancing family and ministry. In addition, if you comment on this post AND tweet this out, you could win a FREE registration to The Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Louisville, KY next March. (See details at the bottom of this post on how you could win).

The team at Simply Youth Ministry have created a conference that does so much more than equip youth workers with the tools to do ministry effectively. Right from the beginning, their vision has been to invest in the whole person of the youth worker. SYMC 2012 is a place for youth workers to not only gain incredible skills for ministry, but also discover a place of authenticity where they can refuel and breathe. With this in mind, today I want to encourage you take time to breathe and refuel as you consider how you balance family and ministry…

David’s Story: 

David took his first ministry position straight from college. He got married the following year, changed churches a year after, and had twins with his wife Kim the year after that. David would agree it’s been a busy and sometimes frustrating time as he has tried to deal with the constant changes that family and ministry brings. His job is mostly stressful and a growing church has often become a burden instead of a blessing it once was… If you were to take time to speak to his wife Kim, the exhaustion is evident on her face. The last two years have been sometimes miserable as Kim has watched David get pulled in many directions in a ministry that looks great from the outside…

On the inside of David’s family however, Kim is feeling over burdened with greater responsibility at home and is often feeling alone as David works an unhealthy hours. David too, is at breaking point… He is running on empty and it is only a matter of time before he falls apart…  The cracks are starting to appear… These days he feels like he barely has time to breathe… 

Does this story sound familiar? Are there cracks appearing for you? If someone could peek on the inside and could look at your alone time with God, your family time, your days off, and the authenticity of your friendships, what would they see? If you are like me, there are some areas that I need to work on…

Help David! Comment, Tweet, and YOU could WIN!

Tomorrow I will post some things I have been doing to balance family and ministry.  But for now, I would love to hear from you! Here’s what you can do to help David, and possibly win a registration to SYMC 2012!

1) Comment and Help David: What advice would you give David? What can he do to make the neccesary changes? What needs to happen in his family and ministry?

2) Comment and Share Your Story: In what ways do you relate to David’s story? What have you done to make the changes? What changes could you make personally?

3) Tweet To Win! Tweet the following text and your name can be entered a SECOND time to win!

I just entered to win a FREE conference registration for SYMC 2012  from @PhilBell #stumin

For more information on the Simply Youth Ministry Conference go to: or call Matty McCage at 615-349-7111 to register.




32 Responses to Balancing Family & Ministry Part 1: SYMC Giveaway

  1. Darren Sutton October 4, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    The first (and most honest) answer is that there are seasons in ministry that are just inherently more stressful; less blissful. Moves and young children are two seasons that feel overwhelming.

    That being said, if we don;t manage our schedules, they will manage us. There MUST be a limit on how many evenings we’re out of the house – as well as a ‘quota’ on how many evenings we have around the table together (and, yes, that matters no matter how young or old your children are.)

    There MUST be a monthly date night – no kids. If cost is prohibitive, plan something late and at home or offer camp scholarships to kids who will watch the kids for a few hours and go to the park.

    Our lives changed so significantly after our boys came along. BC (before children), Katie was involved in everything with me. It was a dark time for her after the kids came along because her role changed so significantly…and I wasn’t watching, so I missed it. Our families are our first ministries – that has to be more than a slogan or great interview line.

    Make whatever changes are necessary to meet the needs of and pastor your family first….it’s the best offering we can give to Jesus and to our students…..

    Praying for you!!

  2. Darryl Nelson October 4, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Its all about setting boundaries. They need to be set and held onto to! Set time sacred time aside for family. Nothing is allowed to interfere with that time.

    My wife and i have a similar story. I have been at my church for 6.5 years and almost left after a year because i had no boundaries.

  3. Shawn October 4, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I can so relate to you, David.

    Between 2004-2006, I almost lost my marriage due to an over-demanding ministry, depression, burn out, and lack of support. I realized (almost too late) that no ministry is worth destroying your family over.

    The ironic part, the moment I said I was leaving, the church started throwing support and volunteers at me. Mind you, for the 1 1/2 years prior, I couldn’t get any support or volunteers no matter how hard I pleaded. Some churches want their youth pastors to do everything – and then some; they build job descriptions around unhealthy and unrealistic expectations. Then, when the youth pastor burns out and leaves, the church is shocked and wonders what went wrong. Little do they know, they helped create this mess.

    However, the church isn’t totally to blame. We, as youth workers, have a voice also. We need to tell the church (not ask, but tell) how much we are willing to do, for how long. For the sake of our families, we need to set healthy boundaries, so that our family and ministry can work side-by-side without threatening each other.

    So, David, here is some steps I’ve put into practice to avoid what happened those two years:

    – I’ve made it clear to the Pastor and church that I will not work alone in youth ministry. I need to have volunteers to help out. If I don’t have help, ministry won’t get done – plain and simple.

    – Fortunately, in my new position, I have a set of adults who are willing to help, but they feel untrained. I make it known that I will provide FREE training for all teachers and volunteers/leaders. With things like SYMC, one-day training, books, videos, etc, I want to make sure my leaders are equipped to do the things I am asking them to do. It’s an investment that will help you out in the long run for the better.

    – I plan one big event a month for both Jr. and Sr. High combined. I used to do separate events for both groups … too much work! Now, almost every event is done with them combined (exceptions would be Bible studies, camp, and retreats). I also make space during our calendar for kids to spend time with family (December especially). This allows me to have a break, and for the kids to have a break as well. We still meet during those months, but nothing extra is planned.

    – Before sending out my calendars (for big events and the coming month), I run it by my wife. As my kids are getting older and getting involved with school activities, I want to make sure that I’m making their stuff FIRST before a students.

    – Take and guard your day off! I struggle with this sometimes, but it’s so important to have a complete day off where you do nothing for the church or ministry.

    – Ask your pastor to take a Sabbath during your work week. Our pastor just started requiring the staff to take a “Spiritual retreat” once a quarter – during the week and not our “off” day. I think this is a great idea to instill within each church.

    – Make sure you’re getting fed FIRST … remember, you can only take your family and students as far as you’ve gone yourself.

    My wife and I almost got divorced because of youth ministry. I will never let that happen again – NEVER! If the church situation is too demanding, they aren’t willing to change in order to help you and your family, then it’s time to leave. Begin seeking where God is leading you next. Work another job, and if you really desire to minister, volunteer somewhere.

    Praying for you and other “Davids” out there.

  4. Adam Hughes October 4, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    I am definitely no veteran in the youth ministry arena as I enter my 9th year. However, in that short amount of time I have learned all about cracks. In that 9 years I am in my 2nd church, I have got married & had a little girl.

    First things first: his time with God has to be top priority! If he needs to cut back on everything else then do it! Secondly, his relationship with his wife has got to stay so strong! They need a date night every week, whether its a week night or on the weekend! Find someone they trust to keep the kids, even if they have to pay them. Thirdly, his kids need to feel important! Spend quality time with them, paying special attention

  5. Adam Hughes October 4, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    It posted my reply too early so i’ll finish here. He needs to pay special attention to the things that his kids seem interested in. Fourth, he needs to look at his youth calendar & make sure that he isn’t just trying to fill dates to fill dates. Everything needs a purpose, both for those who are involved & those who will be reached. Lastly, but definitely not the least important, he needs accountability in these areas from someone who isn’t afraid to ask him the tough questions.

    As you can see, this definitely comes from someone who understands what it means to find these cracks in their life! Stay true to Christ & to His callings on your life. It can be summed up like this: If you don’t set your priorities, someone or something else will!

  6. Brandon Baker October 4, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    1) Find a mentor that you can share and pray with. Create a sustainable ministry schedule with your wife. Discuss your new schedule with your shepherds letting them know that this plan will make you more effective, present, and add longevity to ministry. Their reaction to a reasonable plan for your own soul care will tell you whether or not it’s time to look for a new job.

    2) I was a father before I started youth ministry, but I have heard that the transition is difficult for those who started without children and then had them. Here are a few boundaries that have helped me:

    1) Limit 1 week away from my family with kids under age 2, limit 2 weeks away from my family during the summer with kids over 2,

    2)1 week family vacation after the summer(first week of Aug).

    3)At least 1 day off before and after a mission trip.

    4)Church gets a max of 2 nights a week including Wed and Sunday.

    5)Youth activities can happen without me. I don’t have to be at every service project, game night, etc. But I will make sure there are plenty of adults present.

    6) No Lock-in’s

  7. chris quinto October 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    if he is at a church that doesn’t put a premium on him taking time to spend with his family then he isn’t in the right place. i have been lucky in my ministry experience that i have always been a part of churches that put the family of staff members as a priority. he needs to have his days off and use them for family. period.

  8. Karl D Peterson October 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    I haven’t totally been there. I don’t have kids and my church is pretty supportive. Right now we are transitioning to a school for Sunday worship and it has been great but tons and tons of work. At the beginning my senior pastor wasn’t really in the mix and I was starting to get upset and resent him for it. When I realized I had these feelings I decided to bite the bullet and tell it to him straight. It was a hard and ugly conversation but it opened the door to what I thought was really going on. The week after I switched places with him for the day. He went and set up and came back to me commenting on how much work it was and it truly was too much. We are correcting the problem and our relationship is a little bit stronger. God has truly blessed me in this church and I thank him regularly for that. I hope you have similar situation David and you can also know there is hope.

  9. Benjer McVeigh October 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Not sure how much I have to offer in terms of advice, because I’m still learning so much about this. But here are a few thoughts that work for me:

    -Throw out the word “balance.” It’s not like there’s some scale that if you put the right amount of ministry on one side and the right amount of family time on the other, everything will be good to go. Instead, identify your priorities, and follow them. Mine are: 1) Follower of Jesus; 2) Husband; 3) Father; 4) Pastor. I know that some changes are painful to make, and I’ve been there. But I’ve felt so much relief when I’ve been able to say “You know what, what I’ve been doing in ministry is hurting my other priorities, and so something needs to change.” Of course, this requires the support of your superiors or others in your church/ministry, which is another topic altogether.

    -Let your family win. This is somewhat related to the priorities, but here’s what I mean: There will be many times in ministry when ministry will simply interrupt and “win.” To an extent, that’s part of ministry. I’m talking big things, like having to be with a family on Christmas Eve because the father died suddenly or having a date with your spouse interrupted because a student got rushed to the hospital (both of which I’ve experienced). So sometimes, let your family win. Say “no” to something big for the sake of your family. Our junior high pastor last year missed one of our “bigger” events (30 Hour Famine) to go to a marriage retreat with his wife. It was a great decision.

    -Get a mentor who will love you and be tough with you. I have two mentors, one I’m still getting to know, but every time we talk, he asks me how my family is…and not just on a surface level. It’s tough but very valuable!

  10. Phil Bell October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    I am blown away by the comments so far. This is a brilliant example of youth workers coming together, being authentic and helping each other out! This is just a small snapshot of what we experience at SYMC! Keep the comments coming!

  11. Jody Alvis October 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    As I read David’s story my mind was flooded with memories of how my husband and I first struggled with our boundaries for ministry, relationship, and family. Our ministry is very relational so in turn much of our time was devoted to other people and making sure all their needs were met.

    It’s difficult to raise a family and nurture your relationship when you spend the majority of your time at church working. here are a few ideas that have worked for us……

    1. When my husband started in ministry full time he was told to figure out a day during the week that was to be his “day off” which meant no “church” work unless it was an emergency. This was to be his day to rejuvenate and refresh. This also ended up being our “date day” since all 4 of our children are in school full time. We would take the day to reconnect and talk about what was going on in our lives (inside & outside of church) or go golfing and just veg. I found that this helped to relieve some of the stress that was going on around us.

    2. Saturday was family day, there were no interruptions then either unless there was an emergency.

    3. We also have a weekly date night, it doesn’t always involve going out and spending money, it’s has been as simple as once the kids are in bed we shut off all electronics, phones, t.v., x-box, etc and talk about our days, our future, what to do the next few days, months, years, bounce ideas of each other. We have to be very intentional with this as it is easy to push it off for something else

    4. Be sure you are spending time praying together, reading your bibles together.

    5. If people in your church/youth group have offered to help you out in some way (babysitting or helping with shopping I strongly urge you to take them up on it.

    6. I urge you to find a mentor with in your church (hopefully your senior pastor, an elder, or even someone in a similar position at a neighboring church. I know this has helped my husband at some of his more stressful times as well. Your wives won’t always be able to make it better for you as much as we would like to so having a mentor is a great thing.
    I am just as involved in my husband’s ministry as he is even though I am not always able to be there with him. I make sure to be his biggest supporter while still being honest with him.

    • youthworktalk October 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

      Jody, What great wisdom you have given! I so appreciated your practical steps! Great stuff!

  12. Mr Bill October 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    I echo what @Darren Sutton says – I feel your pain David but I agree.
    Your wife is your first ministry and if she is hurting, then your family and ministry will hurt as well. Minister to her as your first priority and watch her countenance change – and when that does – watch out forces of darkness – because David, you will be energized!
    When my relationship with Jean is right, I’ll take hell on with a squirt gun, but when it’s not, ministry is extremely painful & frustrating!
    Said a prayer for ya’ David.

  13. Paul October 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Like everyone else, it is about boundaries. But for me, it’s about why I wasn’t setting boundaries. The problem wasn’t just the church I served. When I found myself working 80 hour weeks regularly with a toddler and a newborn, wife at the ragged edges and my personal life spent, I knew there was something more to it than expectations.

    My problem came from a deep-seated father wound that gave rise to a ned for impressing my sr. pastor. I was getting my value from his impression of my work. My problem would only be solved from getting value from myself (my created identity in Christ).

    David, I don’t know if you are in the same place, but I hope that this gives you peace. Counseling wouldn’t hurt either (it helped me tons).

    • youthworktalk October 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

      Paul, Thanks for your honesty. There are so many of us, (me included) who are working hard to keep others happy because of a wound from the past. It’s so important that we all seek ways to heal and grow ourselves. Thanks for your transparency!

  14. Dan October 5, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Two words: leadership training. It’s time well invested. You may not be the one in control of everything happening, but the jobs get done, the church is equipped with leaders, and you don’t have to micro-manage it all.

    One of my biggest weaknesses is sticking to my schedule. I often need a phone call from the wife reminding me that the office can wait to see me tomorrow, but my family can’t. If I can’t guide my family well, how am I to ever guide God’s family well?

    • youthworktalk October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Dan, absolutely! There is a direct correlation between the way we take care of our family and how we take of the family of God. This is great 1 Tim 3 stuff!

  15. Eddie Witkowski October 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    1) See if your wife wants to participate in the ministry. Some of the best times I’ve had for my wife is doing ministry together. She knows I love to see her heart for the students, and we get to do things there that we probably couldn’t do outside the church.

    2) My students know that my wife is… my wife. There’s no problem if I kiss her in front of them if we’re separating or anything like that. It seems a little obvious, but I think it helps a wife who is feeling left out, like she’s not on the back-burner.

    3) Run your schedule by your wife. Too much is too much, and even just having the approval of your wife will help things at home.

    4) Delegate. You need to delegate some of your work to other people. Develop a team of great youth workers. Talk to your head pastor about the stress that it’s causing you in your personal life, and professional life. There is such a thing as burnout, and working on overdrive 24/7 is definitely a way to get there!

    5) Start a leadership team inside of your youth ministry. Then, get those students working on the inside amidst their peers. They’ll help crowd control and things like that, and make your life a little less stressful. Also, then you’ll have a core set of students to help you measure out the activities that are really hitting home, so you can get rid of the stuff that’s taking up your time, and not really making a difference.

    Hope these ideas help. Blessings to you, brother.

    • youthworktalk October 5, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      Fantastic points Eddie! Thank you! I am loving all the wisdom in these comments! Great stuff!

  16. Chris Mikesell October 13, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Thanks for writing this. As a young pastor without kids it’s good to have some of these practices in hand before my life really takes off

  17. Shamichael Hallman October 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    David, pull away and take a vacation with your wife IMMEDIATELY. Find someone who can keep the kids for a few days and get away. Leave the phone, laptop, and anything else connected with the ministry AT HOME. There is nothing that will happen over a weekend that will make things that much better or worse at your church. Take some time to get away and rest, relax, and let your wife know that she is first. You must do this…you must do this SOON. Don’t talk about church while you are there.

    When you get back from your vacay…find at least 3 people you can train to help you. Start with whatever area of the ministry is currently bogging you down the most. Perhaps it’s administrative stuff, maybe it’s programming. Whatever it is train some people to take that over and TRUST them enough to let them handle it.

    Are you coming up with your own lesson plans/sermons? If so, consider getting one that already has a teaching plan and sermons laid out for you. There are many good ones out there..simply youth ministry, lifeway, youth specilaities. Using one of these DOES NOT MAKE YOU LESS OF A YOUTH PASTOR. If you can find something that meet your needs, that’s more time you can spend doing something else.

    Lastly, take a sabbath..EVERY WEEK. There simply has to be one day every week where you completely unplug from ministry. On that day, spend some time resting, reading…or whatever relaxes you. Spend some time with your children and wife together, and spend some time doing something that will help your wife during the week(preparing meals that will last for the week. washing dishes, folding clothes, cleaning house, etc).

    Im praying for you brother. We all face those challenges. But you can make it through this. Im praying for marriage as well.

  18. Phil Bell October 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Shawn, You should be a youth pastor coach! This is excellent advice! Love it! I hope that some younger youth workers can read this and take it to heart! Thank you for your comment!

  19. Marjorie October 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    1. Remember that there will always be seasons of intensity in ministry, marriage, and family life. Learn to prioritize – family first. It is so easy to say this, and so much harder to do. But take time every day to pray that God will guide you and you would be wise enough to heed His call.
    2. Rest is VERY IMPORTANT. If God (who created everything and is all sustaining and all powerful etc.) rested on the seventh day, how much more do we need that day of rest? Take one full day where you refuse to answer email, text messages, phone calls etc. and focus on you and your family. Unless it is a dire emergency (one of the youth is dying) hold fast to this.
    3. Value your wife as a prayer partner. As cliche as it sounds, the couple that prays together stays together.
    4. DELEGATE. This is the one that is hardest for me. It is good and necessary to have a successful youth ministry to delegate and utilize your volunteers to their fullest potential. Volunteers want to be involved – they want to make a difference and do more than just show up once or twice a week. Getting a strong core of volunteers whom you trust is essential. If you are lacking the volunteer department, PRAY that God will lay the need on hearts of your congregants.
    5. View your family as a blessing.

    Personally, I need to delegate and pray for volunteers.

  20. Nathan J. Anderson (@NathanAndersonJ) October 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Definitely spouse and family are the primary ministry. When I was in seminary I intentionally didn’t start studying til about 10pm every night. Pulled plenty of late-nighters, but my schooling didn’t greatly affect my family then.

    It changes a bit though once working in a church because so much time is spent with people. I think David needs to learn to say ‘No.’ Not sure how his delegation skills are, but if he could train and empower other leaders that could take some stress out of his life.

  21. Jeremy Holbrook October 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    my first question is: what color of shirts were your children wearing this morning? Don’t remember? then we need to start focusing on our true ministry of our family.

    second, i’d wonder “why” the position has become so demanding. Does David strive to work the long hours to accomplish everything because he’s seeking to give first fruit excellence, or because he’s striving to work up the ministry ladder? If it’s the later, then that’s the first place to start. If it’s the first mentioned, striving for excellency, then I’d focus on the issue of what is a “win” in your ministry.

    Every time we say “yes” to something ministry wise, we are saying “no” potentially to our family time. And if we’re not the spiritual leaders in our house, we can never be one elsewhere. (loved the book What Matters Most by Doug Fields”)

    One of the biggest concerns of evaluating this scenario, is to NOT read that there have been others from the church NOTICE the long hours, the exhaustion in Karen’s face, and the striving to achieve.
    It reminds me of the “hi how are you doing?” “great, you?” response we always give one another in passing. The hardest part, in my life, of being a pastor is the loneliness of leadership myth. We must find a community of likeminded believers that we can open up and be truthful with. Perhaps a mentor, a counselor, or just an open conversation with the pastor/boss/overseer/committee/advisory team would help.

    How could the situation ever get better if it’s not communicated?

    On a youth-ministry level; trust a leadership/volunteer/ministry partnership team. I remember being a volunteer and felt unvalued because our youth pastor was more of a lone-ranger than a team-player. Not only will youth ministry become stronger, but passion will increase when others have the opportunity for ownership.

    But most importantly, trust the Lord. Seek his voice, He has an answer for every situation or circumstance. Focus more on “being” the man He has called you to be, rather than focusing on just “doing” the work for Him!

    and if this is a true scenario, you’re more than welcome to e-mail/call me (and i’m sure others would agree) and we’ll form a friendship/accountability group to help each other stand firm for the things that matter most!

  22. Greg October 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Craig Groeschel really put it best in his book “Weird” when he says “You have to say no to the good to make room for the Great.” You can’t do everything, so why not just focus on the Great instead of trying to do it all. Others are gifted by the Holy Spirit to work in the Kingdom. Why pretend we are superior and can do everything the best. We need to be realistic with what we have been gifted with by God. A complete priority shift must take place. That is easier said than done, but with clearly outlined expectations of church membership/staff that can be realistically met it is possible. Whatever role David serves in, Family must come first. If the ministry gets in the way of being the Father God calls us to be then the Church job must be given up. It’s a simple as that. My profs from seminary always used to say that family must not be sacrificed on the alter of ministry and vice versa. There is a balance there that must be met. Scheduling is huge in trying to achieve this balance. You are given office hours when the “office is open”. You must schedule time with your children and wife as well. Set aside time everyday where there is nothing except family time. Emergencies happen, but with the right balance your wife will understand when you need to run to the hospital or a deadline hits without notice.

    In other words, when at the church office be there. When at home, be there. Get your work done so you can be the Father you need to be and the Husband your wife needs you to be. Man up!!

    I had to learn this reality, balance to roles of ministry and family man. My mantra is “No.” You can always come back and say yes after you had time to think about activities that will interfere with family time. Family First! With God at the helm guiding the way it will be like second nature in no time.

  23. Ben Zabel October 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    I would say that David needs to have an honest conversation about his life falling apart with who wet at church could help him reorient his schedule and create the space and time needed for him to care for himself an his family. And honestly, if the church is unwilling to work with him to do some self-care, then he might need to look for another job. This is not the ideal, but may save his vocation, marriage an family! If he does this, he should learn from his experience and have these conversations up front with any church he is moving to.
    I am fortunate to have the freedom to shape my programs and schedule. I have weekly hours expectations given to me. If I am over one week then I am intentional about being under the next week. I’ve also given my wife the freedom to tell me when I’m working too much.

  24. Kevin Holloway October 20, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    I believe if you put your spiritual life, and family first it is possible to survive. That might mean sitting down, and helping the people you work with understand how important those are to you, and ultimately to how well you do your job. Standing firm on what you believe, and what is important to you, can help you remain focused on your calling. When I started in my Youth ministry position years ago, I tried to be everything to everyone, and soon found out I couldn’t do it. I had 4 kids, and a wife who needed me. My years of construction work helped me learn that I had to leave the “job” at work and go home to my family, or I would work all the time.
    Youth ministry is the same way, only you have to work when construction workers are home in bed! No matter what hours you work (late nights, weekends, ect.)keep track of the hours. Find out what is expected of you, and when you reach your limit, go home! Some weeks we have to work more hours, then next week make up for it. When I go on Camps, or Mission trips, I take “comp” time the next week. If you position doesn’t allow that, then that should be a sign to look elsewhere. Yes we are called to Youth ministry, but if we aren’t healthy, how can we minister to anyone?
    I believe I have been able to sustain myself, my family, and my ministry because I stood strong on my priorities, and spoke out about them when I needed to. Kevin

  25. Joe Usher October 20, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    A couple things.

    Set bounderies.
    How many nights? How many hours? email, phone. Etc.

    Make up to your family when you have a busy season. When you family knows there a Disneyland vacation coming up in a month they have something to look forward to and can endure.

    Delegate. Know your weaknesses and pass the buck.

  26. Sierra Field October 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Follow the example of Christ in His ministry. First of all, He devoted Himself to prayer. All too often, we become self-reliant to the point of idolatry. Make sure that your own relationship with God is active and growing by separating yourself daily from any and all distractions.
    Secondly, invest in your wife spiritually. As Jesus had his elite 3 (James, John, and Peter,) your wife is your right hand and number one supporter. This means praying with her, talking about what you are both learning in your quiet time, and helping in her responsibilities however possible so that she too can escape the distractions and seek God. Do not forget the spiritual leader you are to your children! Even if it is as simple as praying with them as you tuck them into bed at night, do not neglect their need to learn about God from you.
    Thirdly, you need to delegate. Not every activity needs your particular oversight. This may mean that the ministry die down for a while. Until the church is willing to invest in their youth, very little will be accomplished. By focusing on your home and family, you are obeying God’s command for your life as a husband. By requiring partnership with members of your church, you are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of more people than when you were doing it on your own.
    I am not married, but I understand how consuming ministry can be. With trying to juggle a job and be a spiritual leader for the teens, it is hard not to let one falter while I obsess on the other. You cannot serve two masters, which is why we must make Christ our focus in every thing we do. When we do it all for Him and follow His example, He will be glorified.

  27. Seth Rempel October 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    As a husband to a wonderful wife, and a father of two beautiful girls, I can relate. Ministry is tough! I grew up in a missionary family where mom and dad always did so much for people. But they were always there for us. It wasn’t always easy for them and I know there were seasons for them where they really wanted to quit and give up what they were doing. But they remained faithful to their calling and learned to set up boundaries. God always blessed them for that and their ministry continued and grew because of it.
    As hard as it is to balance family and ministry, we have to learn to say no. We have to schedule a day off every week. There may be some occasions where you can’t take a full day off. But to tell those around you that this is your’s and your family’s day. They will learn to respect it.
    Also, as I am learning the importance of it (don’t have it perfected yet)…it is important to schedule things.
    Evaluate where you are spending your time each week. Track your time for a month. Every 30 to 60 minutes. Find areas where you are not using your time as best you can. Delegate tasks. There are generally people around us who want to help.
    Make sure to schedule your family into your schedule. If you are gone a few nights a week, make sure you schedule a couple nights where you are at home disconnected from the outside world.
    Also schedule time to spend in God’s Word, just for the sake of being in the Word, not for a lesson or advice.
    It’s not easy. There will be trials and tribulations. Don’t give up. There are brighter days ahead, but the devil doesn’t want you to get there.

  28. Nikki May 15, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    WOW. This is some heavy, yet, great stuff. Def. hitting home for me.

    Here are a few suggestions/ advise I would give David. I am no way an expert, my husband and I are learning first hand after relocating into the area we minister in what it means to set boundaries. WE have been on staff with this urban ministry for 6 years now and things are starting to get crazy.

    With that being said my first suggestion for David would be STOP everything and set boundaries, healthy ones for you and your family. Weekly scheduled date night, having transparent, honest, confession of how overwhelmed things are for him. listening and asking his wife how he is doing as a husband, his wife also sharing her concerns, dreams and frustrations. Lines of communication would need to stay open in order for this mariage to survive. Set boundaries on the amount of time spent on the phone talking about ministry, NO MINISTRY TALK ON DATE NIGHT! No answering phone when at home with wife and kids. remembering EVERYTHING IS NOT A CRISIS SITUATION. Learn to allow others to carry their own burdens for a a sec. FIND people in your community ( body of believers) you can be 100% transparent with about how your marriage is holding up as well as people who aren’t afraid to WOUND you as a friend and brother and sister in Christ. so important! spending consistent time with your OWN KIDS.. your children will resent GOd and ministry if they see you are being more of a hero with the kids in your youth ministry then you are with your own kids. Ministry FIRST begins at HOME! oh, what a hard lesson!!!

    I cant really relate to this story, but my husband and I have talked to many couples and heard their stories of having to deal with simular situations. God is using their experience to teach us how to guard against going down the same path. Because of what we are seeing and hearing, we are now afraid in a healthy way I believe. We are really on guard in protecting our family time, we are learning to SAY NO to additional ministry opportunities, we have starting to cut out whats not needed and allow others to step in and serve. WE DONT HAVE TO BE THE ONES DOING IT ALL THE TIME! we are learning how to dialogue more as a couple in areas we are frustrated in due to ministry and how it effects our family. We are investing in hobbies, so we can have that time where we are pulling away from ministry and resting. We are hanging out with friends that wont sit and ask us for hours about the “ministry” but friends who want to know how WE are doing in our family and our marriage.

    This conference sounds amazing! I hope I win! LOL! if not, I’m sharing this with my hubbie and I hope we can attend anyway. SUCH A GREAT NEED FOR ALL THOSE IN MINISTRY!! Thanks for the opportunity!

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