The Role of Family Leadership

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How can we distinguish between our commitment to God and our commitment to ministry so that our family does not get overlooked?

How can we place a value on the importance of our families? Many of us know we need to make decisions based on our priorities. The top three should be God, family, and then work. A quandary that plagues those in ministry is how to distinguish between our commitment to God and our commitment to ministry so that our family does not get overlooked.

My wife and sons can recall stops for a hospital visit while leaving on vacation. They can remember having to cut short a Thanksgiving holiday because of the death of a church member. My dear bride can well remember years of Saturday nights at home because I wanted to make sure I was ready and rested for Sunday. The price of ministry is high for our families, and I am so glad mine graciously embraced it. They also have modeled it. I cannot tell you what the presence of my wife, my sons, and their wives meant to me while I have journeyed to Houston.

How can we keep from overlooking our families? One guideline is to dispel the myth of our invincibility. I had to learn how to do my work. Someone else can learn it too. Second, we need to consider our example. If we model the lifestyle of a workaholic, how can we blame our church members for being too busy at work to serve the Lord through His church? Third, we need to consider our health. About ten years ago I began to develop heart trouble. A dear friend, a deacon in our church, said to me, “Pastor, we love you and your wife. But if something happens to you, we will let Frances stay in the parsonage for a while. Then we will call another pastor, and she will have to move out. No one else can take care of you. You have to do that yourself.” Fourth, we must ask how important every ministry opportunity is. Who else could do it? Is it worth sacrificing date night with my wife? How clearly does it fulfill my role? Don’t sacrifice your family on the altar of success. 

Written by Dr. Alan Woodward 

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