Is It Possible to Balance Ministry and Family? (Part 2)
Catch up by reading Part 1 HERE.
Instead of fighting for balance, strive for health.
You may not find anything about fighting for balance in Scripture, but you’ll certainly see many examples of how to lead a healthy family and a healthy ministry.
Striving for health is a much different concept than fighting for balance.
Striving for health means you’re always being intentional with family and with ministry.
Being intentional doesn’t mean always devoting the same amount of time and effort to each. Again, there will be many seasons during which your family will need more of your time and effort than your ministry will. When you give more time and effort to your family, you can still be very intentional with the time you have to devote to your ministry and vice versa. This really is the key. Devote the time and attention your family and ministry need along the way. By being intentional with the other, you can remain healthy in both.
Striving for health means you have to set clear boundaries for both family and ministry.
These boundaries may change through different seasons, but they’re essential for health in your family and your ministry.
Boundaries will look different for different people, too. Someone who is striving to be physically healthy will set dietary boundaries. They may also set boundaries around exercise and sleep. Doing so is essential for them to have optimal health.
Your boundaries may be something as simple as not taking phone calls in the evenings or making sure your day off is actually a day off. Whatever these boundaries are, make sure you talk them over with your spouse if you’re married. You’ll also need to make sure you communicate them to those in your ministry—just make sure that when you do, you don’t communicate in a way that says “I don’t have time for you.”
Striving for health also means taking time to regularly evaluate your health.
Because life and ministry bring different seasons, you must stop frequently and evaluate how healthy you are in each area. Again, this is different from trying to fight for balance—you’re looking for health. If you fail to stop and evaluate, you can slide into an unhealthy pattern and sabotage both your family and your ministry. There’s a reason people go to the doctor regularly to make sure they’re healthy. This should also carry over to the calling God has placed on you in your family and ministry.
Striving for health is harder than fighting for balance.
One of the reasons you’re continually fighting for balance rather than striving for health is that it’s easier to measure balance. It’s easier to stand back and look at how you’re spending your time and determine whether or not you’re “balanced.” But, I’ll say it again: How much time you spend on something doesn’t necessarily tell you much about whether or not you’re healthy. Measuring health takes good communication, honest and frequent evaluation, and being very, very intentional.
Striving for health brings joy in youth ministry, and fighting for balance brings guilt.
Living and ministering from a healthy place really does bring joy. When you’re serving from a place of health, you’ll be able to enjoy your ministry in a way you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. If you’re always fighting for balance, you’ll always be coming from a place of defeat. This will inevitably leave you feeling guilty. If you’re fighting for balance, it won’t be long before you’re looking for another position at another church. You’ll convince yourself that “this church” demands too much of your time—they don’t support you and your family as they should. You may find yourself becoming bitter toward the church. When this is the case, it’s impossible to succeed with your family or your ministry.
If you desire to be in youth ministry for the longer haul—if you desire not to survive in youth ministry but instead to thrive in youth ministry—then you must stop fighting for balance. Instead, strive for health.
JODY LIVINGSTON is a Youth Ministry veteran of sixteen years, and currently serves as the Youth Pastor of Kennesaw First Baptist Church, where he has served for the last six years. He helps equip and encourage Youth Pastors through his blog and podcast THELONGERHAUL.COM. His passion is helping Youth Pastors create a ministry of longevity that they truly love. He is the grateful husband of Sarah and the dad of Emma, Anna, Lizzy, and Jack. He is a pastor, speaker, lover of vintage VW’s, and the owner of one “mostly white” VW Beetle. You can find him on twitter @JODYLIVINGSTON.
Jody and his wife shared more of their personal journey on this topic in a recent podcast and it’s a great way to continue the conversation past these blog posts. Check it out HERE.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.