Why We Choose to Lead As A Family

March 1st, 2017

I choose to lead with my wife and family, when I lead my ministry, especially in the area of family and parent ministry.

I know in some ways we are weird.  While my wife is not a paid employee of our church, she is very involved in what I do and how I lead. Throughout the years my two children, even while they were still too young to be members of my youth ministry, were around and active in being a part of my ministry.

I was recently part of a church for the past 2 years (before moving on to a new church) where this was not the norm and even more so, was considered completely unacceptable. It was such a strong stance with the senior pastor and leadership, that they would come and check to make sure that my children were not around during my “work hours” of youth nights, activities, and events. I was even encouraged to discourage my wife from being involved as well. It was a weird place for us, needless to say.

This week, at our new church, we had a staff and spouse gathering to talk about the future of our church including new campus, land purchases and ministry vision. As he talked, the senior pastor referred to his wife and family often when talking about ministry. As the night went on, he intentionally spoke to each pastor AND his wife from the front, affirming them in their work and calling together in ministry.

It might be how I was raised, growing up in a pastor’s home. We believed that we were called as a family to my dad’s ministry as a pastor. I grew up being an active part of what my dad did and I have seen the benefits of having my own children involved in what I do. Some might debate this or disagree, but I think particularly when it comes to having a strong ministry to families and parents it is a good thing. The movement in churches and in youth ministry is to more family-oriented ministry and parent ministry inclusiveness….Orange, Sticky Faith, D6 and so on! It seems rather odd to me that if we are going to lead and buy into these philosophies, why wouldn’t I include my family?

I know not everyone who reads this is married or a parent and I am not saying you cannot minister to families or parents if you are single. I am simply sharing why we personally choose to lead as a family. However, should God lead you in the future to get married, I would suggest you have an honest talk about how much and whether your spouse and/or family will be involved in what you do.

Here is why we choose to lead as a family…

1.    Lead by Example. 

Both good and bad, you have the opportunity to share, live and lead as a family on mission together. Your successes and your failures allow you to lead well and earn the right to be heard.

2.    Married to the Job.

Ministry can easily become a threat or a way to cheat your family. The needs and time demands of ministry can easily lead to feelings of “us vs. them” when it comes to your family. If you are serving together as a family, the mindset changes. Instead of you being away from the family, they are going with you as you all serve together.

3.    Battle of the Sexes. 

Involving your spouse in your ministry creates in your ministry a better gender balance and a more well-rounded ministry. God created us different and for a reason. Ministries and churches too often have a tendency to appeal more to one gender than another based on it leader. Allowing your spouse’s voice to part the of the conversation also give permission for the opposite gender to feel included in what you are doing.

4.    Training Up Your Children.  

No matter what your own personal children choose to do with their lives, you should want them to see it as ministry.  Having them involved in what you do in full-time vocational ministry now, opens their eyes and hearts to serving later. Your children serving with you in your ministry to families and parents becomes a teaching and discipleship opportunity for them as well as for others.

This may not be a “one-size-fits-all” idea, based on your family and spouse, but I would strongly encourage you to consider it. Even if it is only in certain ways and certain times, include your family and spouse in what you do. You might just be surprised how it will change your own home, the homes you ministry to, and even your church as a whole.

dan.DAN ISTVANIK is the 5th to 8th-grade pastor at Victory Church in Lancaster, PA. He has been working in youth ministry for over 20 years serving churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia. Besides serving in the local church setting he is also the youth ministry content writer for Parent Ministry.Net, along with being a contributor to a variety of other great youth ministry resources like Youthworker Journal, Group Magazine, Download Youth Ministry, and more. Additional he shares daily Jr. high/middle school ministry specific resources, and hints  on his own blog “The JH Uth Guy” at: JRHIGHUTHGUY.BLOGSPOT.COM

This post was previously published by jrhighuthguy.blogspot.com.


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