"You Can't Go Where God Leads You and Stay Where You Are".
I've been in full-time ministry for 30 years. I remember when I accepted my first full-time position as Minister of Music at an East New York church in Brooklyn. I was extremely excited about getting an opportunity to do what I was passionate about and get paid for doing it. My excitement lead me to work long hours. I averaged 70 hours per week at the church -- Day time office hours; after school instrumental music program; rehearsals, meetings, and worship services during the evening hours; Graded Choir rehearsals on Saturday mornings; and of course worship on Sundays.
Our children were very young (6 and 9 years old). One of the ongoing points of tension between my wife and I was the amount of time I was spending with the ministry. My take was, she just doesn't understand what God has called me to do. God has called me to minister to His people and I can't let nothing get in the way of that.
As I look back over my life in ministry, having spent that kind of time "doing ministry" is one of my greatest regrets. I put the secondary ahead of the primary. While I was focused on the needs of everyone else, my first ministry - my family - was lacking. I once heard it said, "No amount of success in ministry will ever make-up for being a failure at home".
I'm writing this blog while taking some much needed time away with Brenda. Our children are grown and married now. How I wish I'd made more time for trips like this when they were younger. So, here's a bit of advice - don't let this moment pass you by and:
1. Don't allow ministry activities to take priority over your family. Your children will grow-up with or without you - it's better if you walk with them while they grow.
2. If your pastor does not value his family he/she certainly won't value yours. If ministry and family conflict you have a decision to make.
3. The older you get, the more important family becomes. Family keeps you grounded. Family will love and support you no matter what.
4. Schedule special time with your spouse so that when the children grow-up and leave the nest the two of you aren't strangers.
One of the lessons the Apostle Paul taught young Timothy regarding the qualifications of a leader in the church was "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If any man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?"
As you go and grow in your ministry, keep things in perspective. Make your family a priority.
Monday, 22 April 2013 18:51