One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
We talk about how we are out doing great things for God. Yet it’s rather arrogant to think that He needs us. What I really learned was that God did not care what I did for Him. Rather He cared who I was and what I was to become. Was I to become more like Jesus, or just do lots of stuff?
Parties, concerts and extra services during the holidays that keep the pastor out beyond his regular hours can easily result in less-than-jolly feelings in the parsonage. Here are some suggestions to ease that burden.
Alan always wondered if he had his dad's approval. As a result, he attempted to earn his father's respect at every turn. However, a man will seek to receive from sexual escapades the intimacy that he never received from his father. Alan was one such man.
A disabled classmate. The death of a family pet. A nearby homeless shelter. These can be used as lessons to help a child understand and embrace the sacredness of all human life.
This will probably get me in trouble, but ... I think it's possible that children shouldn't be allowed in church, at least not until they've been trained. I don't mean that typical genteel parental kind of training. I'm talking more like kid-to-kid warning and wisdom.
I knew there was something special about Mister Rogers. We welcomed his values and demeanor in our home since our firstborn was old enough to toddle down Sesame Street.
Grief is hard enough for grown-ups, but when a child's heart breaks, the load can seem unbearable. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to keep our kids from feeling the heartache of grief. However, we can help children cope and even grow in the midst of their pain.
Some believe the unwritten rule that pastors' families simply must settle for less quality time than other families. Unhealthy marriages and parent-child relationships result and, ultimately, unfulfilling ministries is the natural byproduct.
A father’s greatest influence is not what he teaches his children, nor the pride he instills through great accomplishment or recognition. It is who he is, the presence he shares, the time spent with his kids, the love for his family he models, the values and priorities by which he lives, the commitment he makes to his God.
My story may not surprise you. It may even sound familiar. I could spend six or seven hours effectively listening in our counseling ministry, then arrive at home distant, distracted and deaf.
The final 63 days of each year can accurately be called the "holiday season." Many of the "big" holidays occur during this time of the year. We start with Halloween and Thanksgiving, then conclude with Christmas and New Year’s Day. It's a kid's favorite time of year! But what are holidays?
Both spouses have jobs in more than half of ministry homes. How can they keep their lives in balance? In most ministry couples, it is the minister's spouse who is asked to be flexible. But more often, it is easier for the minister to adjust his schedule.
Ever since I can remember, Christmas has been my favorite holiday. When I became a minister, I continued my love affair with the month of December. For my children, however, it was another story.
Thursdays were my day off. Save for a member's severe sickness or death, I would let nothing pull me back into that church office. When at the church, I focus on finishing tasks such as preparing lessons. If I fall behind, I go in early on my regular workdays rather than saving the work for my day off.
The apostle Paul warns that if we do not care for our own, we're worse than unbelievers. The commandment to honor our parents is not only a lifelong responsibility, but also a privilege.
Not all legacies are bad. The one my father and mother left me was exceptional. The impact for Christ on our entire family was striking. And I thank God for it every single day!
A parent's job is NOT to make sure a child has a smooth or comfortable life. I believe kids should be allowed to experience the consequences of their decisions, but the stakes get higher as they get older.
One of the most effective targets in our battle can be found in the home of the pastor. The Enemy said it himself: Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. So take aim now at the pastor's marriage.
The autumn months can take a tremendous toll on ministry families. If your family's schedule has you spinning, learn how to catch your breath.
Confusing, isn't it, that kids brought up in a loving, Christian home choose to rebel against their parents, or worse, against God? After all, they've had Jesus' love served up in huge helpings. Many have enjoyed the luxuries of a deep Christian heritage — some since the day they were born. Yet they still turn their backs on truth.
I wanted my family to have a part in my ministry -- not just to be onlookers whose mother and wife had been "stolen" by the church.
If you are drowning in debt, here's a plan to get back on firm financial ground. And for all you doubters out there, repeat after me: No situation is impossible.
Facing the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy is difficult for any family. For pastoral families, those challenges take on a broader and deeper dimension because of who they are.
As parents, we all have the best intentions of spending plenty of time with our families. But amid our hectic lives, it becomes difficult to notch out that time. But we must.
I was the preacher's kid. Our family moved every couple of years, so I was always the new kid in church and in school. I was always accepted for a while, until the "new" wore off. Year after year, church after church, what I saw began to take shape in my mind as "Us against Them." This made me realize, early in life, that the pastor's family would always be a target for anger and frustration.
After listening to PKs over the past 19 years, two common things stand out that these family members wish their parents knew. Communication is important, and they appreciate their Christian homes.
If you want to make your kids famous due to your well-honed pulpit pontification, then at least have the decency to reimburse them for the free publicity you give them. Call it the price of embarrassment.
For most of my adult life, I gave faux smiles and was dangerously passive for the same reason a squid squirts ink: I wanted to hide-at home where it was difficult to lead, at work where it was hard to excel and at church where I feared being authentic.
In most ways, parents in ministry are like any other parents. They want the best for their children. They pray and hope their offspring grow up honest and faithful. And they live with the knowledge that, even in the "best" homes, children may rebel.
Many couples who enter the ministry find themselves at odds with their extended families, especially as the number of ministers who are first-generation Christians or in second careers increases. What can you do when your extended family doesn't understand why you're in ministry?
My wife was a pastor’s wife for more than 30 years. During those three decades she exhibited a myriad of emotions and feelings as she went about her role as a wife, mother and involved laywoman.
A healthy attitude toward work is supposed to be developed in childhood. Unfortunately, because many parents have tried to protect their kids from a difficult life, they haven't encouraged this godly trait.
Pastors' families need time off from church for normal family activities. Parents in ministry must instill the following principle in their homes: Family life will always revolve around God, but not always around the church.
Many husbands and wives don't feel loved, even in their own homes. One of the best ways to guard against this is to develop an affectionate marriage.
Pies. Cakes. Potlucks. Picnics. How can the minister even consider staying healthy?
When my girls reached their teen years, I realized that health and intellect weren't the only areas that needed protection. Spiritual dangers lurked in humanistic curricula, dehumanizing music and peer pressure.
Something happened this morning. A family friend visited our offices. And that experience jolted me into a realization about my family and myself.
We asked many questions when my husband was stricken with a chronic, debilitating disease. One was whether we could remain in ministry.
Pastors, alleviate yourselves from thinking your staff members are the primary spiritual educators of children. Train and teach parents to build God-honoring families.
The more you are aware of what your step-grandchildren are dealing with in their new life, the more understanding and resourceful you can be to help them get through it.
You can't stop gossip from circulating, but you can take steps to protect your family from the damage.
When your public words match personal deeds, you can help your children learn to stand up for truth.
For Pastor Kevin Moore, just thinking about taking a missions trip to China was a stretch, but he knew this would be a great opportunity to create global awareness in his children and teach them how to be a ministry team.
There is not much material to help the PK, the "pastor's kid," the one who has to learn how to swim in that bowl regardless of their personality, time of day or age. An adult PK provides ten practical and personal suggestions for ministry parents.
Having free time with the family can seem like a rare treat. Here are nine ideas to help you make the most of it.
In the heat of an argument, I uttered the word divorce. Larry didn't flinch. Was he thinking the same thing?
You already know the dangers lurking on the Web, but have you considered how that all-you-can-eat cyberfeast might affect pastors' kids? The Internet possesses a quality that reaches out seductively, which allows for, in the words of a teenage pastor's child, "privacy. You can talk to your friends or listen to music or go shopping and just relax without [anyone] watching your every move and getting ready to gossip about you."
The journey is difficult with a child with severe disabilities, but God's plan is perfect even when our circumstances aren't. God can calm each of our storms if we let him.
It's a plain fact: If you're in ministry, you'll be criticized. It's the name of the game. If we don't have a plan to deal with criticism and handle the pain, then our ministries and homes can be placed in jeopardy.
If your marriage or ministry is in danger of meltdown, you and your family may benefit from a restoration and counseling retreat center. Ministers and their families can turn to a growing number of retreat centers, counselors and other services aimed at the unique needs of those in vocational service.
Compared to foreign missionaries, my lot was comfortable — even cushy. So what if it rained and the kids made messes? Spring would come eventually, the kids would one day be grown, and this mission would be accomplished. Now was my time to serve while I still had the opportunity.
One in four ministers will be fired at some time during ministry. One of every three ministers is serving a congregation that forced the previous minister to pack his books, empty his desk and turn in his office keys. How three families learned there was life after termination.
"You know what they say about preachers' kids!" What? What do they say? And who are "they" anyway? Whoever "they" are, they better not say anything about PKs in my presence.
Some changes of ministry strain the family more than others. Transitions tax people in any occupation, but vocational ministry, with its fuzzy boundaries between duties to church and family, can make a heavy burden even more unwieldy.