Does Your Family Love Your Ministry Job?

I had to go back to work, and I could tell my son didn’t understand because, in his mind, I had been at work all day while he was at school. He asked me, “Why do you have to go back?” I told him that not everyone could meet with me during the school day because of their jobs. He still didn’t understand but trusted my intentions. It’s hard to tell your kids no, especially when it has to do with work.

The balance of work and home life can feel like a dance. Ministry guru and family man Doug Fields once told me, “When you say, ‘yes’ to something, you are saying, ‘no’ to someone else” You could compartmentalize work and home life, but that’ll only lead to more tension. If you want your family to embrace ministry life, then you need to:


When my kids walk into the parish center, I want to make sure they are known. I’ll introduce my boys to all my coworkers and lead volunteers. Build a rapport so they know who they can talk to and how they should speak to them. It’s also about my kids having fun when they are with me. They get special treatment and know:

  • Who has the secret stash of candy that they can access
  • When to be loud and explore
  • Where they can play and be a kid at church

Giving them free rein doesn’t mean they are entitled and don’t follow the rules; it’s a way of showing them what’s important to me. In addition to kids, your spouse should know who they can reach when they can’t reach you and vice versa.

Before you set your kids loose to make sure your pastor gives the okay. A healthy parish staff is one that knows that family and ministry life always intersect. If there isn’t that flexibility, there is only so much access that you can give. If you are a pastor, make sure you create a family friendly environment, but set ground rules so that your employees know what is appropriate and what isn’t.


You love your job, and that is great, but that love may cause you to make decisions that put your family second when they don’t need to be. If you are married, make sure you give your spouse the ability to speak wisdom into your life. That might mean:

Reviewing and sharing your calendar with them

Articulating to them the importance of each meeting, program, and obligation that pops up

Trusting that they are going to have an honest and helpful perspective into your decisions.

If you are engaged, in a relationship or have dependents, it’s crucial to have conversations over what’s essential and what isn’t. While your kids might not have the same wisdom and understanding that your spouse may have, it’s vital to allow them to voice their displeasure. The key is to listen to their feelings about your work life and giving them the ability to say, “We’d rather you home then go to work.”


As a public figure, it’s hard to hide the personal life. As a youth minister, I share stories about my life that include facts about my kids, spouse, siblings, and parents. There are certain things I want to share that they might not want out there, and I have to respect that. At the same time, people are going to take notice of my actions in public as well as online. What I say and do might receive specific scrutiny; therefore, I need to be more aware of what that can communicate.

Before you share your family in your ministry, make sure they are aware and again give them veto power. You don’t want your spouse or parent caught off guard over something they only thought a few people knew. It can create hurt feelings and worst, mistrust. At the same time, talk with your loved ones over what is appropriate to share and what should remain private. Clear communication is essential to a healthy balance.


Flexible schedules are great but can be challenging to maintain. If there isn’t clear communication over what, why, and when you are doing something, it can create confusion. While your family doesn’t need to know where you are 24/7, they should have a general idea.

Make sure your family has a general idea of your schedule. Sit down with your spouse or significant other and review your calendar. Let them know what’s negotiable and what needs to remain a priority. If they know what and why you do what you do, they’ll be more willing to work with it.

Your ministry life will get mixed up in your personal life because ministry is a relational career. People are drawn to you and your family. Create a framework that protects them and gives them a clear idea of what you are doing. Not only will it build trust, but give you the support you need to follow through on God’s calling.

Where do you find tension when it comes to balancing work and family life?

Similar posts

Get notified on blog posts, updates and all things MYM

Be the first to know about new happenings from Marathon Youth Ministry Inc, from blog posts, to webinars and professional development opportunities.