Balancing vocational ministry and home is a constant struggle. It seems that one suffers while the other thrives. It’s not an easy balancing act, but it can be done.
To make the most of your time both at home and in ministry, plan to get help, maximize your resources, and eliminate non-essential activities that don’t nourish your soul.
Consider these ideas:
1) Avoid wasting time at the church office. There are some things that need to be done at the office, but much of ministry happens away from the church. In an ideal world, the office may be a great place for productivity, but in a church the office can sometimes be a distraction from targeted focus.
The average pastor likely has a series of interruptions throughout their office time, from phone calls to people simply popping in wanting to talk. These kinds of interruptions are a natural and healthy part of ministry, but they cannot be your weekly priority.
To minimize office distractions, make the most of your time at church by keeping regular office hours, encouraging people that need to visit to make an appointment, and calendar regular meetings with staff (if you have any) to create regular rhythms of conversation and collaboration.
2) Make the most of home time. Are you spending your time wisely at home? Are you getting things done and spending quality time with your family?
You might already have all the time you need to have a balanced life if you’ll just use your time to do things that are important to you.
3) Delegate and equip at church. Some pastors have a hero or messiah complex and struggle to delegate and equip others for ministry. Your church doesn’t need you to do everything. Encouraging congregants to step up and lead in different areas will prove a great blessing to the church. Perhaps a lay person is gifted in music and willing to pick the weekly song and lead congregational singing. Perhaps a team of people should be working to promote the next outreach event, or even plan the next sermon series. You can get more done each day if you make the most of your resources. Get the help you need.
4) Delegate and equip home. Are you, your spouse, and children all sharing the load at home? When I worked in Christian camping ministry I used to have a boss that often said, “Work hard – Play Hard!” In the context of ministry and home life this may mean all the chores and weekly shopping being by Saturday so the day can truly be a family day, or hiring a lawncare service to cut the grass so you don’t have to on the one day a week you have with family.
5) Maximize productivity. It’s not just about not wasting your time, it’s doing things intelligently. Is there a quicker way to accomplish your tasks each day? What could you be doing more efficiently?
6) Say “no” more often. Odds are that you have activities and obligations in your life that are actually optional. “I want my spouse to go to another evening committee meeting!” …Said no pastor’s spouse EVER. Sometimes balancing needs to tilt towards the family – and that means saying no.
7) Telecommute. After 2020, it should feel obvious and natural for your church to be comfortable with the pastor working from home. Balancing work at the church and working from home is hopefully an option to you. You’ll save the time you’d normally be driving (unless you live in a parsonage next to the church). You’ll have fewer distractions, too.
8) Make the most of your drive time. Can you make some of your pastoral phone calls while driving to visits? Perhaps you can hone your ministry skills by listening to a great podcast.
9) Make the most of your time at home. Do things as a family. That doesn’t mean sitting in the same room staring at a digital screen. Go to the park. Take ride to the ice cream parlor. Play a game. Many clergy spouses and PK’s (pastor kids) live with a sense of unhealthy resentment and abandonment because the church is always pulling pastors away.
Take control of your time at church and at home, and see the benefits both in your ministry and family life. While it’s not easy, you can find a balancing point in your life.
WEBINAR: Strengthening Marriages for Couples In Ministry
PASTORS: Interested in further exploring relational health and how to strengthen your family? Join us for a free webinar on Tuesday March 23rd at 10:00AM (CST).
Dorrie Presson from The Enneagram Coaching Center will help lead us in learning about the benefit a tool like the Enneagram can have for ministry and clergy couples.
We will discuss:
- An overview of the Enneagram
- The importance of prioritizing your relationship with each other
- How our own personalities can help or hinder healthy and Christ-like marriages
One lucky couple will even win a certificate for a free date-night!
Sign up today! To register, just select the March 23 meeting below and provide your name and email. We look forward to seeing you for this exciting event!