Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: #10 Choosing to Cheat

01 Aug

Choosing to Cheat, by Andy Stanley, is not a book you’re going to typically find on a Children’s Ministry leader’s bookshelf… and our families suffer for it.

The first position I took as a Children’s Pastor nearly killed my marriage.
Because it was my first shot at the “big show,” I felt a need to impress everyone who came onto our campus with our amazing kids’ program.  That meant I had to be the first one to church every Sunday and that I had to have everything in my ministry area ready to go before our facilities staff had arrived (that way, I could help them unlock the rest of the campus and talk with them about how early I had arrived that morning) .  I also had to be the last car to leave the parking lot every work day… this was a visual sign to everyone, showing that, as they were leaving, I was still there – working longer and harder than anyone else on staff.  My drive to succeed and have success in ministry had some tangible results.  Our program was the buzz of the church.  People wanted to be involved in supporting the kids of the church.  The Senior Pastor, to meet the needs of the growth we were experiencing, had existing office and library space demolished in order to build a large group space for our church’s kids.  Times were exciting.
Life at home was not nearly as exciting.  I often came home exhausted from work.  My wife and I had no time for making friends in our new home town… in the entire time that I served in ministry at that church, I never stepped foot in any of my neighbor’s homes.  My wife was left on an island while I rushed head-first into full time ministry.

This book opened my eyes to how much I was pouring into my ministry, at the expense of my family.  Simply put, you don’t have enough time to throw yourself into your career 100% while still putting 100% into your family.  There’s only so much of you to go around and, at one point or another, you will have to choose to spend less time on your ministry ambitions if you value your family.

This book is a quick read and it can make a lasting impression on those of us in ministry who feel like we can do it all and do it well.  With another addition to our family expected by the end of August, I’ve been reminded to pull this book off my shelf and pour through it again.

If you’re in ministry and haven’t read this book – go get yourself a copy.  In life, you’re going to have to cheat – don’t give your church and your ministry what belongs to your family.


Posted by on August 1, 2009 in Book Review, Kidmin


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7 responses to “Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: #10 Choosing to Cheat

  1. Stacy Dover

    August 1, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Very good points…I can imagine how hard it must be for those in ministry. It’s a good lesson to learn! Looks like you caught on quick!!! It gets more difficult the older your kids are, too! They want to see you at everything they do — from school to sports 🙂


  2. Liz Perraud

    August 1, 2009 at 9:02 am

    My best answer to that challenge for all people in children/youth ministry…family-based ministry (as in involving by calling lots of volunteers to spread out the leadership, and benefit the kids with lots of adults in their lives). Mark DeVries’ book (Family-Based Youth Ministry) describes it well. The LOGOS model practices it.

    You are a blessing, Anthony…to your church community, your family, and the greater kidmin community! Exciting times ahead with your new little one’s arrival!


  3. Summer Henry

    August 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for sharing.. I may actually get this book.. or borrow it from you, sounds great.. I too struggle with this, even though I dont have a job, I take my relationships and volunteer duties very seriously. Its all about priorities I guess!
    I think you do a great job at your current position and you make it look so easy to balance the two, family and church. So it must be an awesome book. Thanks for finding the time to get Christine off that island and letting us be your friends.


  4. Yolanda Miller

    August 1, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    kudos to you for recognizing the rookie mistake that i’d wager the majority of pastors/directors/ministers never, ever correct in their entire careers. i’m fortunate to be married to someone who gives it a pretty decent effort and i’m glad to see you are doing the same too!


  5. jonathan

    August 2, 2009 at 5:55 am

    I’m very familiar with the message of this book, but have never read it. I’ve always been grateful for the “secular” job I held before being a pastor. I really think it helped me establish good family and marriage habits before I could screw everyone up in my family by working at a church and picking up bad habits. Make Sense?

    I’d rather be known as a Great Husband and Dad and a Pastor that just tried real hard, than the other way around.


  6. Sam

    August 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Like JC i have heard Andy Stanley (who I have a man crush on) refer to this principle often. I didn’t know it was a book. I ordered it last night. Thanks for the heads up.



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