Today I had an interesting article in my inbox. It was addressed to men in ministry...obviously not me. However, being the nosy wife that I am, I read on. You know, maybe I'd find a point I could lovely share with my man...not that I would ever meddle like that or anything :ahem:
Here's what I read:
(my commentary will be in italics from now on)
Lead Your Family Well
I was lying on the floor pushing Thomas the Tank Engine around his wooden track and realized my two year old son had been speaking to me for the past 30 seconds, but I hadn’t listened to a word he had said. Instead, I was too preoccupied thinking about the church—precious moments gone, never to return.
Can any other church planters, pastors, or ministry leaders relate? I thought so.
All of us know the tragic stories of wives and children of pastors and planters that grow up to hate the church. The greater tragedy is that I believe most of these stories should never have to be told.
Instead, the stories exist because the leader of the home is failing to lead well.
3 Challenging Truths
Here are a few truths that I hope will challenge you to lead your family strongly while being a church planter or pastor:
1. The church can get another pastor, but your kids can't get another dad.
Like it or not, we only get one shot to raise our children. I talk to fathers all the time who lament their absence during their childrens' formative years because of working too much. Even though this is often true for pastors, it shouldn't be. Our biblical credentials for ministry deal mostly with how we lead our families and our own character, rather than how effective we are in ministry. And remember, no one reaches the end of their life saying "I wish I had spent more time working on my blog." Be the exception, not the rule.
(Wow! How sad! Cody is an amazing dad and I can honestly say he won't be lamenting over lost time with our kids! In addition to time together at home, he loves to have them tag along
to see and do ministry with him! The boys love going to the hospital with daddy, Cloe loves her special time after church on Wednesdays hanging out during guitar lessons and all of our kids love the little "extras" that go on at the church building!)
2. The church can get another pastor, but your wife only has one husband—and she needs a good one.
Oftentimes our wives take the brunt of the beating of our ministries: they hold us together, they hear us complain, and they hear others complain about us and experience the angst of how to handle it in a gospel way. Take it from someone who has greatly failed before in this area: do as much as you can to set clear boundaries between the church and home, and frequently check up on whether or not she enjoys being a part of the church. If she doesn't want to attend the church where you are the pastor, then it is a problem you need to deal with.
(I've got a good one--an amazing husband! There are many times I wait expectantly for complaining, but it never happens. There are many times I'm amazed at the godly thoughtfulness in the way he handles hard situations--ones I would have blown because of my sin nature wanting to rear its ugly head! There is no where else I would want to attend than the place where Cody is serving! Although he's not the "preacher", he challenges me to dig into God's Word, to be an educated worshipper of the Almighty God we serve!)
3. A day off is not just a good idea. It is essential.
"Monday Funday" is as special as a 1910 Honus Wagner baseball card at our house. It is the day we play outside, eat Chinese food at a mall, and don't talk about the church. Our church knows about “Monday Funday” because I mention it in sermons, schedule around it, and unless someone is bleeding out in their kitchen, I do not violate it. My ministry and family are too important. Pick a Sabbath, keep it, and fight for it. Your soul and your family will thank you.
(This has been something Cody has been fighting for our family for a very long time. Our Mondays have become sacred. It might be as simple as a request to pick up donuts or as big as a day trip to somewhere really fun...we're together, just the five of us. It IS special; I love it! I can't say we don't talk about church--because we love Willow Creek so much that it's just constantly apart of our conversations. However, we don't lament the trials or focus on the busy-ness that lies ahead. Family time is special and all of our children get giddy when they see Cody still sleeping on Monday morning...not so good for sleeping in! The little squeals of "Is this your day just with us?" usually fill the room!)
Never forget: The first flock you lead is not the one that gathers on Sunday, but the one that lives at your house.
Are you leading them well?
For more on leading your family well, check out Pastor Mark Driscoll's free e-book Pastor Dad.
As I read this article, I was filled with pride for how God is using you to lead our family. You far excel at each of the points listed. You lead our family to love God and to seek to make Him look good in all we do. Thank you for being sensitive to God's leading, obedient to Scripture, eager to serve, and for leading our family to the glory of God. I love you very much! After Jesus Christ and my salvation, you are number one on my thanksgiving list! Thank you for leading well!