You may or may not know this, but I have spent the past 15 years serving with my wife as a volunteer on my ministry team. For the past year she has moved from a volunteer role to a staff position on our family ministry team. It does make for some interesting dinner conversations! It’s been a great experience for us, mainly because Chelsea is now functioning in her calling fully. My brother also serves on our church staff as our kids pastor and is doing an incredible job. We hired both these leaders because they were the best possible people for the position. Over the past few years, I have learned a ton about what works when serving with family. Here are a few tips when managing serving with family in the church setting …
- Leave Church at the Church Office // You have to make sure home is a safe place to just be family. If you are not careful, ministry stress can creep into home and that is never good. My wife and brother know they can block off time at the office to talk ministry rather than at a family get-together!
- Be Willing to Fire Family or Don’t Serve with Family // This is a hard truth and a needed standard. Don’t work with family unless you are willing to part ways if things do not work out. Just like any hire, sometimes family hires don’t go well. This rule protects the ministry and the family part of the relationship.
- Treat Family Like Any Other Staff or Volunteer // Just because they are family does not mean you can treat them differently than other leaders. Hold them to the same standards of your other staff and volunteers!
- Give Family Freedom to be Themselves // When serving with family, always give them room to grow and become the leaders God has made them to be. You will be surprised at what you see sometimes. Let them grow!
- Don’t Throw Family Under the Bus // Don’t give family the bummer assignments just because you are scared of what other people will say if you give family a good opportunity.
- Have Fun, It’s an Honor to Serve Together // To serve Jesus as a family is a great honor. Have fun, love God and serve people together as a family.
If you have served with family as staff or in a volunteer role, what are some principles you have discovered?