This is a post that I struggle writing because there is no way I am getting nominated for “Dad of the Year.” I am learning on the go the same way all the rest of you are as parents. The question I am wrestling with is, can I be a good pastor and dad?
I ask the question because I know every pastor, minister and lead volunteer out there wonders if they are giving the best they have to the ministry they lead at church and the ministry God has given them at home. I think the answer to the question is YES, you can be a good dad and pastor. I believe this because I have been mentored by some guys that I have watched balance the weight of parenting and ministry. As I have watched these guys balance the two, I have come to believe that all of them had to make some hard choices that set them up to be good dads and good pastors simultaneously. I am discovering for myself a few choices I have to make if I want to balance my call to serve others and invest in my children at home.
- Establish Traditions: Eat together as a family certain nights, go on dates, eat lunch at school, create a movie night, just make sure you create and calendar traditions your kids will remember.
- Take Vacation Time: You have vacation time, so have the courage to use it. Make sure that you take time to totally shut down and have some adventures with your family. Make some memories, your kids will be so blessed by that time with them.
- Work Hard and Play Hard: Work hard in your ministry then make sure and come home and play hard with your family. Be present when you are home and strive to be engaged with what is going on at home.
- Invest in My Marriage: You can’t be the dad your kids need if you are constantly struggling with your spouse. Model a healthy marriage for your kids to see up close.
- Pray Intentionally for My Kids: Whatever you want your kids to become, pray intentionally. Praying for and with my kids helps me to fight for them spiritually.
- Be a Dad Even at Church: It’s OK that your kids enjoy the fact you are a pastor at church. My kids get my attention even when we are in “work mode” at church.
- Say No to Church Sometimes So I Can Say Yes to My Kids: Your kids need you to say no many times so you can say yes to being with them and being a parent. No is a powerful word that will help you be a better parent. Saying it is really the only way to find balance.
- Keep Striving to Be Better as a Dad: Every day is a new day to get better. I have to keep working on being a better parent and not be bound my mistakes made yesterday.
- Get Used to Apologizing: My kids need to hear me say I’m sorry when I am wrong. Yep, I make mistakes and it’s gonna be OK. Being an authentic parent means I simply have to be real with my kids!
- Fight for the Heart: As I fight to help my kids succeed in life and follow Jesus, I also have to fight to have a healthy relationship with them. Rules and expectations without relationship are worthless.
Is balancing ministry and parenting hard for you also? I struggle with being fully present at home … playing as hard as I work. Which one is hard for you? What are some things you would add to this list?