If you are in bi-vocational ministry and have a family then your family is also in bi-vocational ministry. The pressures you feel they feel also. They are on the same journey you are on. Never isolate them as though they do not understand or not a vital part of the ministry family. They do or at least want to understand, even if it is from their individual and unique perspectives. Include them in the ministry as much as possible even while granting them the flexibility to have their own lives as well. Every attempt should be made to not give anyone in your immediate family a sense of abandonment. It is of vital importance that bi-vocational ministers include their family as equal partners in the many decisions of life that affect them.
Your spouse and your children may not share the same calling you have. Hopefully they feel the connection to your calling, but in many cases they may actually resent it. It is imperative that you do not force compliance, conformity, and uniformity upon them. Instead you must lead them with love as you also learn to listen to and relate to them. If you do not, then there may come a day that your children leave the church and harbor bitterness or resentment against you and the church. There may also come a day that your spouse serves you with divorce papers. Why? Because they needed a dad or a husband when all you could give them was a calling they never came to grips with.
- Make sure that birthdays, holidays, special events, and vacations are focused on quality time with them.
- Leave the church at the office, just as you should with secular work during these times.
- Don’t allow insensitive church members to interrupt your family time.
- If you are going to succeed in ministry in the long-term, do not lose your family along the way.
- Playing family fun games, supporting your wife and kids in their spheres of interests and such should be considered part of growing your ministry.
One last area to consider is the welfare of your family. You have a responsibility that should not be neglected. They have needs and those needs are your responsibility as a husband and father. Intimacy, food, clothing, shelter, teaching, and so forth, should be considered areas of accountability for a minister toward his family that rank just as high as any other ministry tasks and responsibilities.
By: Dr. Fred Childs