Webster's Dictionary defines boundary as "something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent." Sounds like pastoral ministry, right? Hardly. A call comes at 2 a.m. alerting you that Mrs. Smith was just rushed to the hospital. Or, on Saturday afternoon, you are about to go out with one of your sons or daughters for a rare dinner together at Mickey D's when you see one of your parishioners driving up the road and, sure enough, turning into your driveway seeking help. Despite your best intentions, you feel destined to a life in which you will never again have free time, privacy or anything that resembles those things.
Does pastoral ministry have to be this way? The answer is a resounding "No". Granted there will be times of interruption, sacrifice and living out of your comfort zone. That comes with the territory. But that doesn't mean you cannot maintain some level of normalcy in life and be a pastor at the same time.
Developing and maintaining boundaries in your ministry, by the way, is not easy, but it will definitely prove beneficial, especially from your family's perspective. We'd like to recommend just few ideas on developing boundaries in ministry (although the list could be pages long).
It would be wise to ask yourself several questions as you perform the various aspects of your ministry, whether it be counseling someone from the opposite sex, involvement in visitation ministry or even the amount of time you spend at the office preparing sermons.
We hope these questions will challenge you to honestly evaluate where you are in life. Perhaps it is time to make a change. We have several resources through our Pastoral Ministries department that can provide help in dealing with some of these boundary issues:
Pastor To Pastor Tapes
Pastoral Care Ministries
Check out our listing of ministries designed specifically for pastors and their families. Consider taking a break and getting away for a weekend or week and seek God about any changes He would want to make in your life.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
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.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.