Monday, June 4, 2012

Pastors who work too hard

I hosted a ministerial meeting for Grace Brethren pastors in my office. Last year I converted my study to a coffee shop. Glass tables, stools, and a couple of plush chairs adorn my workspace. Candle light and floor lamps provide ambiance. For this meeting I even dragged in the small refrigerator, serving as a mini-bar for pastors: OJ, bottled water, and creamer.

Finding balance between ministry and family life was the theme of our conversation. We made use of Andy Stanley's Choosing to Cheat (renamed When Work and Family Collide). Stanley's thesis follows: "When you love your work and do your family, life spins out of balance. We are to love our family and do our work."

As the conversation unfolded, it was apparent that pastoral work is not one day (or one hour) a week. Most pastors drink church like a cocktail. The minibar in my office was more than a metaphor. These men were busy. Thirsty. So were their families.

Later that week, I had a chance to share about our conversation with Joe. My family regularly collides with Joe's at the park. At some point he learned that I lead a church. Joe does not attend church, but formerly taught at at a Catholic church. Joe observed that I spend a great deal of time with my children. I explained that I take Fridays and Saturdays off (apart from a random event) to give proper time to my wife and children and better rhythm to my week. He affirmed my priorities. "That's good. They're your first flock." I agreed.

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