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Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY

October 13, 2009 4 comments

I was asked recently how I go about balancing work and family. Fair question…especially considering my profession. Preachers are notorious for paying attention to everyone but their wife and kids.

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So, what are some things I try to do to avoid sacrificing my family on the altar of my ministry? Here are a few things that seem to work pretty well most of the time.

  1. Thursday is date day or date night for Heather and me. Either we send the kids to the babysitter for the day or we get a babysitter for the evening.
  2. On Saturday I don’t start reviewing my sermons before 8pm, and I try not to think and stress about them before 8pm, either (although Heather can generally tell how far along I am for Sunday by the mood I’m in on Saturday). I’m working on that. I think it’s getting better, but you might ought to ask her.
  3. Now that we have a new addition to our family, I don’t want Haven to feel like she has half her old daddy. So Monday afternoon is going to be Haven and daddy time. I’ll pick her up from preschool, take her to lunch, let her sit in the big chair in my office, and let her tag along for whatever visits I make that day. I think she’ll like it. I know I will.
  4. Sunday is tough no matter what, but I try to go to class with Heather, go with Heather to pick up Haven from class (and soon Pierce, too), and sit with the family until it’s time to preach.
  5. On the days I go into the office (M/T/W/F), I try to be home around 5pm.
  6. Vacation Sundays are to be used for vacations only…not extra speaking engagements. Vacations are great opportunities to bond and build memories as a family. They’re pretty much sacred in our house.

These are a few of the things I try to do to balance work and family.

What are some things that help you balance the two? I’d love to hear your strategies.

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PASSION OR PROFESSION

October 7, 2009 3 comments

My wife Heather and our newborn son Pierce each spent four days in the hospital last week. During those 96 hours, I observed (and critiqued) a dozen or more nurses. I was told by a doctor that the nurses in the NICU (where Pierce spent his 4 days) are notorious for being unbelievably exceptional. I could not agree more. They took such good care of our little boy, which made his mom and dad very happy. As far as Heather’s care, all but one of the nurses were super efficient and caring. The one exception was a nurse who all but refused to give Heather a dose of her pain medication, threatening to cut off medication through the night if this particular dose was given. What unnerved me more than her inefficiency (it took 3 conversations for her to grant our original request) or her laziness (had she bothered to look at Heather’s chart not a single conversation would have been necessary)… But what bothered me more than her inefficiency and laziness was her complete lack of sympathy for another human being (who also happened to be her patient) in pain.

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Upon reflecting on our experience as a whole, I actually was impressed that this one nurse was the lone exception to an otherwise wonderful experience in a hospital. I was blown away by how incredibly caring the other nurses were to Heather and Pierce. Although these nurses had their own lives, their own families, their own problems, and their own stressors, they remarkably didn’t allow those things to get in the way of offering my wife and child the utmost of love and care. They were true professionals, to be sure. But I got the sense that they were more than people dedicated to a profession; they were people with a passion–a passion for serving people. They did their jobs so well because their hearts were in it.

So, in the end I found myself wondering how people would critique the way I fulfill my ministry. Is it a mere profession for me, or is serving God’s people my life’s passion? Is my heart in reaching out to those who stop by our building looking for benevolence? Is my heart in sharing God’s truth each week to an audience desperately in need of a word from God? Is my heart in spreading comfort and joy to the sick and shut-in I visit?

These, I’m convinced, are questions worth asking. While I hope to be a true professional, I never want my ministry to merely be my profession. I want my ministry to be my passion. Thanks, Jackson General Hospital, for reminding me of this important lesson.

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