When God called me to plant a church almost a decade ago, I was scared, doubtful I could do it, and my wife was a little shocked and nervous, but on board to follow the Lord on this journey. One of the greatest concerns I had was my family suffering. At that point in our lives we did not have children, but it was becoming a big desire in our lives. I know planting a church would be a huge undertaking and would call us to sacrifice.
I had seen and heard the horror stories of the overworked pastor/church planter and the pain it caused in their marriage and ultimately led to the end of their ministry. I knew that was not God’s desire, so I made a commitment to myself, my family, and to God that I would give 100% to the church plant during the day, but that it would not become my new wife at night and every weekend.
I told my wife about this commitment and my life coach. My wife was a massive support each and every day and my coach kept me accountable. There were times I said no and chose to not take the speaking opportunity or the invite to something because I knew none of that mattered if I lost my family because the church would ultimately fail. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying, there are times you need to be there, there are times you have to go at night, there are times you need to help someone, but you must empower others and fight against creating a culture needy on you. This is poor stewardship of your leadership and the development of other leaders.
Over the next six and half years, we experienced a great move of God where He incredibly blessed our church plant and God allowed us to also start a church planting network. Today, as I take inventory and look back at how God worked, I know that choosing my family at night and on the weekend was the right choice and God blessed it! The choice to stop and be with my family humbled me, which is hard for me and let God be God in my work.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Is there clear communication between yourself and your spouse about your schedule?
- Are you managing your time during the workday so you can be free at night?
- Are you creating a culture in the church where everyone needs you?
- Are you empowering your small groups to meet the needs of those in their group rather than a staff person meeting all those needs?
- Will the church you serve set the culture and expectations or will you create the culture that is life giving to you and your family?