The Minister’s Family

Among the greatest blessings any minister can have is that of a supportive and understanding family. On the other hand, a minister’s family can be a major source of distraction, set back and discouragement to ministry. To avoid the latter, it is incumbent that the Pastor gives attention to the following:
Do Not Take Family for Granted
In the book, Manual for Ministers (SDA -1977), it is observed that “The family tie is the closest, the tenderest and most sacred tie on earth.” As such the minister stands to gain great blessings from a dedicated and supportive spouse. However, such results of support and dedication are not automatic. Instead, it is required of the pastor willingness and commitment to do his/her part. Essentially, he/she should give priority to his/her family; and that involves time, helping with home chores and assisting with the children. To devote all of one’s time to “ministry” to the neglect of spouse and/or children is unbiblical, to say the least. The Apostle Paul explains, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (NIV, 1996 [electronic ed.], 1 Tim. 5:8). Therefore, I advocate that there be a balance of time between church work and family time.

Balanced Time for Ministry and Family
It goes without saying that a day consists of 24 hours. Likewise those 24 hours come and go waiting for no one. Therefore, it is important that pastors plan for essentials each day; and that includes spouse and children, as they have real needs. The practice of taking a day off is good and healthy. Of course, it is hard to say which day should be designated, as it depends on what is best for you given your circumstances. Consider also that the use of one car, while lending to some form of inconvenience, may allow for added communication and time with each other, except that leaving home earlier may be required. Eating together as well as exercising together, grocery shopping and viewing selected television programs together, etc. may also add to the strengthening of the family. Now I am not advocating that a pastor gives all his/her time to the family and neglect pastoral responsibilities; no, it is all about balance.

Avoid Unrealistic Expectations
You will find, in some instances, that some members will subject you and your family to some unrealistic expectations. For instance, they might think that your spouse must be involved in some department in the church and, in some situations, be exactly like the previous minister’s spouse who played the piano, sang in the choir and assisted with the social committee. Unlike your predecessor’s spouse with grown children, you may have young children who require much more attention. The same concern applies for crusades that go nightly and may extend beyond the children’s bedtime. It is crucial that the pastor does not allow members to place unrealistic demands on his spouse; and neither should he, as her role with child rearing is a ministry of itself. On the other hand, with proper planning, the pastor’s spouse with a young child or young children can come out from time to time.
It is good for a pastor to remember that he/she is human, and the practice of being addressed formally, especially at home, should be discouraged. Unfortunately, this may have been picked up from the practice of a senior pastor and/or his wife. Sure, in some church settings titles may be appropriate, but in the home and car, it ought to be first name or that special term used. This practice allows for family to be family and to grow closer together.

Be Your Family’s Pastor

Always remember that your first flock is your family. Minister unto them and play the role of priest in interceding for them daily. Thereby you will be faithful to God and the role he has given you.