The Ride of Parenting and Ministry

by Misty Phillips

Ah, the ride of parenting. Fasten your seat belts, young parents in ministry. It has ups and downs, twists and turns. The Mister and I spent a good portion of a decade welcoming our four kids into the world while doing kids ministry. (An entire decade of music was a blur to me. I heard I didn’t miss much.) Like a coaster ride of screams of both terror and glee, I was seated in the first row. (I think I did take a brief nap sometime back in 1999 while the rest of the world was partying.) I learned that part-time ministry is never part-time. You don’t close shop at 5 p.m. to go home for the weekend. You live, breath and work this 24/7!

If you are on the current coaster ride of juggling ministry to families plus ministry to your own family, I first hereby send you a virtual high-five! And in sharing from the school of hard knocks (ouch), please prioritize home.

Remember that scene in the movie Hook? “Run home, Jack! Run home, Jack!” Err on the side of “being there” in the fight for your family and relationship. It’s so easily missed, but so noticed by your kids and spouse. The enemy would love to help you stay busy doing good things, and lose the best. Proverbs 4:23 says we are to guard our heart. You love your family with all your heart, right? Guard it. No one is above being in ministry and losing focus on what matters at home. It must be guarded. We get on the coaster ride and find it hard to get off. We burn out. Statistics prove it.

A big first step this year may be to give away ministry to others. Let them lead too! You are not an owner, but a steward of the ministry you lead. (Stop and reread that last sentence three times.) You are a conduit, not a superhero. Give leadership away so others can use their gifts too. Home is where you fill shoes no one else can fill. Prioritize your family as you plan your ministry goals.

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The Orange Group is a gathering of leaders who are passionate about engaging churches and families to influence the faith and character of the next generation. Contributors include some of the most widely respected thought-leaders in children’s ministry, including Reggie Joiner, Sue Miller, Kendra Fleming, Jim Wideman, and Bre Hallberg. New blog entries, podcasts, webcasts, and video downloads are available every week to help you keep leading yourself and growing with your team.