Healthy Balance Between Family and Work

Balance of work and familyNext to my relationship with Christ is my responsibility to my family. My God-ordained calling as a husband and father trumps my calling as a pastor. I have the greatest job in the world, but it is not comparable to the incredible opportunity I have as a father of 5 beautiful children and a husband of the coolest (and hottest) wife in the world! God has called me to pastor my home before I pastor families and students within our church.

Unfortunately, I have had to learn this (and am still learning) the hard way! Almost four years ago, one of my best friends confronted me out of love. I had become consumed with work and was running from one youth ministry event to another without spending time with my own family. I was so wrapped up in doing God’s work, that I missed being the husband and father my family needed. Following one of our biggest youth events of the year, I was faced with the reality that I had failed my wife and kids – not the most comforting emotion to work through!

God is constantly reminding me what it means to be the pastor of my own home! Let me share 4 keys to creating a healthy balance between family and ministry.

1. Be Present – It is easy to be physically present without being emotionally or mentally present. Our devices and gadgets make it simple for us to be somewhere without actually being present. Our kids need more than a physical presence. They desire us to be actively involved in every aspect of their lives, even if they say otherwise. They need our emotional, relational, and spiritual encouragement. At the same time, I understand that our jobs need us to be present. As a pastor, my presence is often required at odd hours of the day and week. In order to create a healthy balance, we must be intentional with our time, striving to be emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually present at all times!

2. Develop a System of Accountability – We cannot get through life on our own strength. We must give people access to our lives, enabling them to challenge us when necessary. Whether it be in a one-on-one or small group setting, we all need a ‘check up from the neck up’ every once in a while. If the quality time with my family diminishes because I am consumed with my pastoral responsibilities, I need to know there is somebody who is willing to challenge me out of love. I understand we all go through extremely busy phases at work and at home, but neither should overshadow the other for a long period of time. Accountability is a huge key to developing a healthy balance between family and work.

3. Be Honest – Some of the hardest conversations I have ever had with my wife and children were in regards to my pride and selfishness getting in the way of the growth of our family. Our kids need to hear that we are not perfect and that we don’t always have all of the answers. They need to hear us admit we are wrong, apologetic, and seeking forgiveness. I often try to defend myself instead of allowing God to break my pride. In the long run, the health of our family will drastically increase when we admit we messed up and are honest about our failures. There is nothing natural about us apologizing to our kids. It takes major steps of humility. Too often we shove our mistakes under the rug, but we are so quick to call out the mistakes of others. We must dig deep into God’s grace and realize our kids to need to see us vulnerable and broken.

4. Live a Life Worth Imitating – In I Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, ‘Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.’ My desire is to be the Christ-like parent that I would want for my grandkids and the Godly husband I would want my boys to be for their future wife. I also pray those around me see Biblical character and integrity shine through my work ethic and leadership skills. When we prioritize our lives around a relationship with Christ, others will see the incredible impact we have on our families and workplaces. In a world full of poor role models, we must step up and live lives worth imitating for the cause of Christ!

We cannot take the responsibilities God has blessed us with lightly. We must understand the importance of creating a healthy balance between family and work. But we also need to know that, as much as we would love to be, we are not perfect. It is in these moments, we must fall flat on our faces and beg God to pick us up, humble us, and mold us how He desires us to be! It is only through His strength and love that we can experience a healthy balance between family and work!

Steps Towards Living as a Family on Mission: Part 2

Lord of the Sabbath_T_nvFirst, checkout Steps Towards Living as a Family on Mission: Part 1 from Monday, March 3rd!

3. Family Meetings – Family meetings with 5 children can be very interesting, but are extremely important to the dynamics of our family. It is significant to include your entire family on important decisions – giving them ownership and responsibility in the decision-making process. Whether it is a weekly or monthly meeting, it is good to get everybody in the same room to talk through life, liberty, and the pursuit of family on mission. This can be an exciting, high-energy time together or serious conversations in regards to important decisions. The biggest key is to be intentional when getting everybody together.

4. Serving Together – Each of us has our strengths when it comes to serving in the community or local church. But what if we were to find a specific area where our entire family could serve collectively? Maybe this is within your church’s children’s ministry or at the local soup kitchen. The key is to find somewhere where the majority of your family is able to serve together. With young kids this can often be extremely difficult. In that case, it may mean baking cookies and passing them out within your neighborhood or making a meal for the local fire station. Whatever this looks like, it is important for our kids to understand how to show the love of Christ to others.

5. Worship Together – I understand why churches keep children and adults separate during Sunday morning worship services, but I wish there were more space created for our families to be able to worship together. It is important for our kids to see a true heart of worship. So often I have experienced community groups that completely segregate all ages. In other words, the kids go in one room while the parents attempt to study the Bible or watch a video. I understand the purpose behind this, but what if we changed our focus, brought the entire family together, and studied God’s Word collectively? Imagine the impact this could have on our kids when they are older!

Again, don’t miss hear me. I believe there is a time and place for children and adults to experience their own worship service, but I also see incredible value in the entire family worshipping together. I understand how chaotic it can be to have kids in a worship service, but what a beautiful picture that paints for the future generations! Jesus talked a lot about bringing the children unto Him. He did not want the kids in a separate room, but instead, right at His feet! What if we created space for our children to sit at the feet of Jesus, right alongside the entire family?

From daily rhythms to worshipping together, it is important for us to catch the vision of living as a family on mission! I will repeat what I wrote yesterday – I am nowhere near perfect when it comes to implementing these 5 steps, but God is challenging me in incredible ways to become the father and husband He has called me to be! Intentionality is huge in regards to all 5 of these areas. If we are not intentional with our time, energy, and resources, it is going to be difficult to maintain purpose in our mission as a family.

I hope these words bring encouragement to you! I would love to hear some of the practical things your family has put in place to strive after living as a family on mission.