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.