It's a problem even the best pastors struggle with. How does a pastor or church leader balance being intentional with discipling his/her own family while leading a thriving church? For some of you reading this, this may even include a full-time job outside both the church and the home.
In our connected world, a pastor is called upon from every conceivable angle. From hospital visits, funeral preparations, meetings, community outreach, school work, and intimacy with the spouse, the calling owned by the pastor can be overwhelming. With all these distractions it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Here are a few tips to keep that from becoming a reality in your context;
Work alongside, not against
Most of us are prone to think we have it all together. For those who are married, we praise God that He has provided a spouse who can see through our facades. In the context of ministry, your spouse is the strongest ally you will ever have. Do not neglect praying together, seeking the lives of the lost together, and being intentional to begin the discipleship process in your own home.
We are joined together to those who often strengthen the weak parts of ourselves. That's why we love them, right? They bring to the marriage and to the ministry a unique perspective that isn't gained solely on one's own. In every season, both the highs and lows, make sure you and your spouse are moving in the same direction.
Great leaders don't lead alone
So you're not married? Gather yourself together with the elders or leaders in your church in order to begin formulating a plan for doing ministry, and subsequently a large part of life, together. Don't think that God has gifted you alone to run every ministry and program the church formulates. You can't! Even if the days were longer and more of them filled the year, you can't do it alone and you weren't meant to.
If you're having a hard time finding people to lead with, train them. Bring them alongside you, and let them shadow you as you pour out yourself for the flock. Let them see the love you have for the people of God, the doctrine contained in the pages of the Bible which moves them to worship, and all the small things you do. It may ignite a passion in your congregation to begin to trend in the direction of organic leadership.
Don't forget about the others
Remember, pastor, that you're the one everyone is looking to for drive and strategy. Don't forget about the volunteers running the children's ministry or cleaning the bathrooms every weekend. The faithful men and women who, week in and week out, are cleaning up baby vomit and others garbage. Give them more opportunity to serve in areas they are passionate about. Give them a platform by which they can see that their voices are heard.
There is likely a whole host of those serving, whether it be in a small group setting or a more official setting, who feel like they've been left out in the cold. These people are passionate about ministry and want to see the church grow and flourish in their community. Spend time getting to know them and grow them.
Whether you’re in rural, USA or in the midst of a major city center you’re not meant to go it alone. It’s a fine balance, that of life and ministry, but you’ve been uniquely called and equipped to lead the people of God to the praise of His name. Give your flock a glimpse of what it means to lead well and they will want to lead well alongside you.
If you need help finding balance, or simply want to speak to someone who knows what that tension feels like, we invite you to call our Pastoral Care Line at 1-844-4PASTOR. You can speak to one of our Pastoral Counselors who can testify to the weight that comes along with the call to ministry.