on ministry as a family...

>> March 27, 2009

Gotta say I love all the comments these last posts are getting!

Since discovering that we are going to bring a life into the world, my PH and I have been doing a lot of talking...

How does this affect who we are?
What does being "a family" mean for our ministry?
How can we grow through this amazing journey of becoming parents?

For us, it's sparked a whole new evaluation of how we minister, what we value, and where we focus. We've spent hours talking about our own characters - what we want to apply and discard from our childhood experiences, and forming concepts of the kind of family we want to be. We've been married and ministering together for 6 years, and this all flows over into our concepts of reaching other people and meeting their needs, too.

So I'm curious - were you in ministry when you became parents for the first time? How did entering the adventure of parenthood challenge your approaches to ministry, if at all? Did you feel any different ministering as a family rather than as a couple?

6 comments:

Laura March 29, 2009 at 7:03 PM  

I am a new reader and really love this blog! I am a PW of 4 years with two little girls.

We were on our internship when we had our first child, so we were never in full-time ministry without kids.

My approach to family and ministry is that I try to focus on two things--raising my girls to know and love God and to be real with people about our family and how it fits into our ministry.

For example, there was a time when my daughter competely embarrassed me at the children's message. She lifted her skirt up, rolled back and kicked her legs in the air and wouldn't stop picking her nose (all in the same 10 minutes). Instead of thinking that my kids always have be perfect children because they are PKs, I understand that they are still children and they are going to pick their noses in front of the whole church. Do I like it, no? Do I act like my kids could never possibly act like that because we are a pastor's family? no.

We raise our girls to be responsible, kind, Christ-centered children, but we don't put outrageous expectations on them that are unhealthy for our family or for our congregation.

dpm March 29, 2009 at 7:20 PM  

I know that my PH is very intentional about making his family his first ministry. He detests the way the older ministers he knows have neglected their families for the sake of church duties and responsibilities.

There are things that I would like to lead out in church--mostly women's Bible study groups. But, because I know how much work is involved to do it effectively, I also have come to understand that it's not my season for that and my primary responsibility is to my family. I can't do it all.

When I read Laura's comment I chuckled because, it's so hard, at church when your child throws a tantrum or screams or cries. I feel like all eyes are on me, moreso than when I'm anywhere else.

Laura March 30, 2009 at 12:45 AM  

My husband actually makes his staff and himself keep track of their work hours. They have a minimum number of hours that they must work, but if they go over those hours (which they often do), they start to accumulate comp time. That comp time can be used like vacation time. Sometimes my husband comes home for an afteroon after long hours at the church.

But he makes sure that he and others aren't burning themselves out and not neglecting their families. I am thankful for his ability to monitor his time. Rarely do I feel like church duties are overshadowing his time with our family.

Cindy Beall March 30, 2009 at 8:29 AM  

We were in ministry when we had our first child. It was a tough transition. I did everything with my husband...very involved. Our son came along and my focus shifted a bit. Had to...can't go draggin' a baby to every youth event! It was also hard because I was slammed by Post-Pardom Depression. I had to quickly become the one people ministered TO.

KLee March 30, 2009 at 9:54 AM  

My husband was a children's minister (1st-5th grade) in our church for about a year and a half before we welcomed our daughter into the world. I was ministering with him before she was born--every time the doors were open, even helping him prepare for teaching and events, and teaching a class myself. Once she came into our lives I had to put the ministry on the backburner. My new ministry was to be a mommy. My daughter and I are still involved, but not as much in the planning as we were before.
I will say that we have been able to meet many young families that we would not have known if we did not have a baby-via Mom groups, other preschool families, etc. You can look at this time as a way to meet new families (if you don't already know them) and as Cindy said, have other families minister to you.

Anonymous,  March 30, 2009 at 10:36 AM  

We had been in ministry a while when our first child was born. It definitely affected the drop everything and go attitude we'd had in ministry. But we also made sure that we kept a similar pace. Our son learned to sleep anywhere and become flexible! And those we ministered to learned that we aren't going to be at EVERYTHING like we use to, and sometimes we are going to leave early now. It's a transition for everyone.
When we had our second child we started introducing a family day. Now Mondays are our family day. We don't do church business, we don't do e-mails or phone calls. That's the full day we devote to our kids. And then in the evening it is our date night.

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