By Bob Hostelter
It’s one of the most frequent questions I field, and it’s always asked so sincerely, even desperately: “How do you balance ministry and family?”
My answer: I don’t.
In fact, I think the very question reveals the problem. There IS no balance. It is NOT an either/or issue. There’s nothing to balance. And thinking that there is is a problem in and of itself.
I say to young men and women considering or embarking upon ministry, “Your family IS your ministry. Your marriage, your children—that’s where your ministry BEGINS and ENDS. Never allow yourself to think that your family is somehow in conflict or competition with your ministry. If you do, the devil will play you like a fiddle, and you may very well lose both in the end.”
What is your ministry? To preach? Then let your home be your primary pulpit.
To love the church, and to love lost souls? Then practice and perform those offices at home more than anywhere.
Is it to teach? Then let your children be your first and best disciples.
Is it to care and show compassion? Then do it first and foremost for your spouse and children.
Is it to pray? Then spend yourself in the prayer closet FOR your family and WITH your family.
Is it to facilitate the gifts of others? To train others for ministry? To build a community of faith? Then do it first for your household, and then (and only then) for the household of faith.
There is no place for balance between family and ministry. If you neglect your family for the church, then you are an example to neither. If you lose one, you lose the other. If you are not taking care of your family, you have no business leading the church (1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12).
So don’t balance anything here. Instead, make your marriage and family the first recipients of the grace of God that is in you, and the calling with which he has called you.
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