Priority #2 – A growing & healthy relationship with their family.
As I sit here thinking of how to address this, my heart breaks for the leaders who I have seen sacrifice their family on the altar of their ministry (as Jim Wideman would say). And there have been times when I have been just as guilty.
Friends, you simply can not do this. You will regret nothing more than looking back after a long and “successful” career in ministry only to realize you lost your family along the way. It would be better for you to get out of ministry than to do this.
Rarely does this happen on purpose. Few of us would ever say that our ministry is more important than our family. But, all too often, our calendars do not reflect that belief. It’s important that we check ourselves on this on a consistent & regular basis.
Here are a few ways to make sure we keep our family a priority amidst the demands of our ministry:
- Manage your marriage. Not very romantic sounding, is it? But the idea of managing carries the thought of being intentional. Plan for it’s success. Handle challenges with timely & focused attention. Make it a priority. You know what you’re supposed to do – do it! And if you don’t, that just became your #1 priority!
- Understand the importance of your child(ren). I’ve always reminded myself that if I am wildly successful at leading children’s ministry, but fail to guide my children to a life-changing relationship with Jesus, then I’ve failed. Seriously, why are we willing to pour ourselves out for other people’s kids only to neglect our own, or give them the leftovers of our time & attention?
- Maintain your physical health. This is part of making your family a priority? YES!! I have come to believe this with all my heart. I’m not talking about being fanatical, but just eat right, make sure you exercise & do what you need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This will enhance your ability to make both of these first 2 priorities work, and may, in fact, help you keep them a priority for longer!
We’ll talk about the others priorities in coming posts but, in reality, if we don’t get these first two down, the rest will always be a mess. I challenge all of us to consistently step back and see how we are doing in these two areas. And if you find yourself at a roadblock you can’t find your way around, seek counsel from another ministry veteran – we don’t have all the answers but we’ve made enough mistakes that we might be able to help you!
These are just a few ideas for these first two priorities, but there is so much more that could be added.