Pastors, Families and Priorities

Being a pastor is a high calling. It can be both an enjoyable and fulfilling career. One of the challenges of being a pastor is that there are many bosses, whether official or not. A congregation can make a pastor’s time good or bad based on how they feel the pastor is doing. The pastor may feel the pressure, either from the congregation or from their own inner-drive to put everything into their job.

This would seem to be the right thing to do as they are working for God and no amount of effort will every be too much. Even a 60 hour work week may feel like too little. Certainly the congregation will seem to appreciate it even if God is silent.

Unfortunately, the area that will suffer in this pastoral drive is the family. The spouse and the children will have to go without as that is their sacrifice for the sake of ministry. But is that what God wants?

The truth is that there is much more in the Bible about the role of a spouse or a parent than there is about the role of the pastor. God is very interested in how we treat our families and it is something that we dare not sacrifice on the altar of ministry.

One of the roles of a pastor is to equip their congregation to be good parents or spouses. How can pastor do that by teaching but without living it? The pastor must lead by example.

It is also important to realize that a person will not always be a pastor. They will either change careers or retire. The family will last much longer. It is not acceptable to ignore the family at one stage and then try to rediscover the family at another stage.

So if you are a pastor, I strongly encourage you to reflect deeply on your priorities. Focusing on your family is not a distraction to your ministry, it is your most important ministry.

If you are interested in more, I recommend Andy Stanley’s When Work and Family Collide.

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