Building the church but breaking our families?

Family in tall grass

Sabbatical reflection 2: As a pastor it is biblical and wise to put my family first. There are many men who could be called to pastor the church where I am but I am the only man at this time called to love and pastor my family in the unique and intimate way that only I can. Jesus said He would build the church and called me to love my wife and children and minister out of the overflow of that. This must have a significant impact on how I use my time… what I say yes and no to.

There seem to be an increasing number of stories of pastors who have reasonably “successful” ministries but families who are falling apart because they spend more time leading the church than their families. Ultimately the family and the ministry will suffer if that is the case.

Whether I am part of a “successful” ministry or not I will leave to others to decide on but it does worry me that I probably spend more time leading others than my own family. Part of that is because I really love what I do working as a leader and pastor. And part of that is that while I love my family very much it is often easier to lead people in the church than my family for many reasons.

But as I reflect on 1 Timothy 3: 4 – 5 it seems that Paul is adamant that if a man is to be an elder and has a family he cannot manage the household of God if he can’t manage his own household. Paul doesn’t say the elder must manage his family perfectly but well and in such a way that they follow him. Now if for me it is easier to lead others than my family then it means that I am going to have to put in extra time and effort in order to lead my family well. And that actually will be good for the church because it seems that Paul is, in a way, saying that those with families must lead the church well out of the overflow of leading their families well? If that is true, and I believe it is, then I need to reschedule my life to spend more time leading and loving my family and learn to say no to some other things that may be on other people’s agenda for me so that I can lead my family and the church of Jesus better.

I also remember hearing a leader at a conference say something that made me realize while there are many other men whom the Lord could use to lead and be the vessel through which He builds the church where I am while I am still alive, while I am alive there is only one me through whom He will build up my family in the intimate and unique way that only I can.

So please pray especially for me and all pastors and church leaders that we would lead our families well and out of the overflow of that lead the church well.

But also please pray also for all Christian husbands and dads and single moms that they would all lead their families well and minister from the overflow of that to the world.


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