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Pastoral Tip: Don’t Let Ministry Overtake Family Life

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Jamie and Aaron Ivey in a studio at Focus on the Family
Jamie Ivey, left, is host of the popular Christian podcast, “Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.” Aaron Ivey is the worship pastor at Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas.

In this week’s Pastoral Tip, Aaron Ivey offers advice to fellow pastors on how not to let the ministry overtake your family life.

Aaron is the worship pastor at Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. His wife, Jamie, is host of the popular Christian podcast, “Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.”

Last year, they wrote a book together titled, Complement: The surprising beauty of choosing together over separate in marriage.

In addition to their work in ministry, the Iveys are parents to four children.

Here’s what Aaron had to say:

“Every pastor knows that ministry can overtake your whole life. It can become something that is so overwhelming—that can feel so urgent all the time—because you have people who are genuinely needing and wanting a shepherd. There’s this constant battle I feel like pastors have of not overextending themselves to the neglect of their own family.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how charismatic I am, or how intelligent I am, or how trained up I am for ministry, if I come home and I’m not a good father to my sons or my daughter, or I’m not a loving husband to my wife. It is so easy to try to become a perfect pastor to your people, then go home and be so exhausted from pouring out that you’ve got nothing left to give to your family.

“One of the things we do—besides having weekly date nights—is we have family nights. We have nights that are reserved. Nobody else gets that time. People I’m discipling don’t get that time. Our team doesn’t get that time. It’s just our family, and we make it fun.

“I can be a better pastor if I don’t give up all of my life to every single person in our church. I’ve seen pastors do that time and time again, and then they lose the thing that is most important. And that is the family unit at home that you’re called to minister to first.”

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