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Youth Ministry 101: Balancing Family and Ministry

One of the things I enjoy the most about my ministry is teaching college students. I teach a course each fall at Word of Life Bible Institute entitled, “Developing a Biblical Philosophy of Youth Ministry.” I think it is imperative that we help students to think through their “principle centered” philosophy before they move out into a church ministry.

At the beginning of the course I take a survey. The answers to their questions serve as discussion starters at strategic points of the week. Here is one of those questions and some insights on the subject.

Question: “As a youth leader committed to ministry, how do you find time for family and/or your spouse?”

Answer: This is not a new question but it is an important one especially for students who are looking to set patterns for life, ministry and family. It obviously is about managing time but I want to suggest four concepts to consider.

1.  Priorities – establish your priorities early and base them on Biblical guidelines and not experience, emotion or enthusiasm. At the risk of sounding like a cliché or a sermon outline, I suggest that God, family and ministry is a good order to implement. If God is first in the lives of the husband and wife then as they grow closer to Him they draw closer to each other. Family is important. The church can have many teachers or leaders but your wife has one husband and your children one father.

2.  Plan – Have a plan to facilitate this equation of God, family and ministry in your life. Plan your personal devotion times. Plan family times and plan ministry. There will always be times when one takes precedence over the other and realize that family and ministry time has its own seasonal demands.

3.  Accountability – Make sure to have an accountability partner who is not afraid to ask you the hard questions and who is willing to confront you. Let your accountability partner know your goals for each of these three areas. True accountability means asking specific questions not generic ones. (Example: How many days this past week did you do your Quiet Time? NOT, are you in the Word?)

4.  Check Up – Have a family and ministry time where you come together to check up on your progress or the lack there of. These should be open, transparent, non-intimidating times of conversation about your lives, ministry and family resulting in change.

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