Family Balance for the Church Leader

As a church leader, it's very easy to get so absorbed in the importance of your work that you end up neglecting your family. How do you balance your ministry life and your family life? You've found a great place to find some resources to help you do just that! Have a question about this area? Feel free to post it in our forum.

imageDo You Have Mad Church Disease?
"Mad Church Disease" releases in just a few days. My friend, Anne Jackson has written a wonderful book about the conflict, stress, and struggle that church leaders face. The book is her personal journey to make sure that her personal ministry is different. After a ministry-stress related hospital stay, someone on her church staff asked Anne this question: "Does working at this church interfere with your communion with Christ?" Anne says that this one question really allowed her to turn her life around. Thinking that there were many other church staff people dealing with the same issues, "Mad Church Disease" is the result of listening to hundreds of stories of ministry conflict, abuse, and struggle. If you've ever dealt with these types of things in ministry, this book really will help you come to grips with ministry's sometimes dark side. Today, I'll share just a little snippet from the book... I hope you enjoy...

imageClifford Williams:  Christian College Professor, Hobo
Faith and Fumbles writes, "Clifford Williams is chair of the philosophy department at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, and a hobo. If that sounds like a strange combination, it is. But then, Williams is an unusual fellow. A devoted Christian, he’s also a top-flight philosopher, having received his graduate training at Indiana University. But he’s not your run-of-the-mill, pie-in-the-sky thinker. Williams works to make “thinking” accessible to everyone—as a means for grounding them, for improving their faith, and even for preparing them for the reality we all ultimately face but don’t wish to discuss: death. It is this effort that has led him to pen a number of excellent books on Christian spirituality. When he’s not teaching, he’s actively involved in researching, writing about, and sometimes practicing the hobo life—a life once common in the 1930s, but today a near-forgotten piece of Americana. .."

More On Family Balance for the Church Leader
imageResearcher:  The Better Your Walk with God, The Better Your Sex Life

Yes, folks... they actually research this. Not sure how they qualify their research, but none the less, they do, somehow. Here's the premise: The closer your walk with God, the better your sex life. Although I wonder if it's the other way around: the better your sex life, the closer you feel to God. Regardless, here's part of the article and findings over at WorldNetDaily...

Contrary to popular notions of Christians as sexual prudes, 15 years of study have convinced a psychologist and professor that "knowing" your spouse "in the biblical sense" can be scientifically verified as a fulfilling and spiritual experience.

Dr. Chuck MacKnee, who teaches psychology at Trinity Western University, a school associated with the Evangelical Free Church near Vancouver, Canada, began studying sexuality in Christian couples in the 1990s at the University of British Columbia.

MacKnee told The Vancouver Sun that while many people assume biblical writers used the phrase "knowing" a person as a bashful way of saying "having sex," he believes the writers and translators were tapping into the uniquely intimate sense of knowing God that can be found within married, Christian sexuality. imageWays to Show Love to Your Family

Recently, I corresponded with a friend who had pastored for many years. He now finds himself going through a divorce, has acquired a new girlfriend, and a really distorted and tainted view of ministry.

Your family relationship is the most important relationship you have in your church. If things are not right at home, it will damage your leadership, distract your attention, and possibly (as in the case of my friend), cost you your job.

That’s one of the reasons that I was happy to find a collection of practical ways for pastors to love their wives and families. It was compiled by several pastors, and posted at 9marks.com. Here are some I hope you’ll consider this week:

• Come home at the exact time you say you will be home; and prepare your heart to serve your family, not be served.

• Share with your wife and kids some of the good things that are going on in the church, and then thank them for helping to make that possible. imageWhat are You Willing to do to be Happy?

An interesting article from Oprah.com. (I can see the watchdoggies having a heyday with this one... MMI is now quoting Oprah. Whatever.) Anyway... here it is: "Are you truly happy? Where you live, what you do and how much sex you have just might be the answer! The biggest complainer Oprah knows is her makeup artist Reggie Wells. After a recent "Oprah Show," he agreed to take Pastor Will Bowen's complaint-free challenge. Reggie wears a purple wristband, and every time he utters a complaint, he has to change the wrist he wears it on. How did he do? Oprah says Reggie "complained so much that he was getting whiplash from changing [wrists]." imageAre You Burned Out?

This tool can help you check yourself for burnout. It helps you look at the way you feel about your job and your experiences at work, so that you can get a feel for whether you might be at risk of burnout... imageWhy Church Workers are Prime Candidates as Porn Addicts

Wow... an interesting cover article in this month's Christian Century about pornography. Here's a paragraph that struck me: "What makes a person vulnerable to pornography? Addiction is prevalent among people who have high-demand but low-structure jobs and who spend a great deal of time at their computers, initially for work-related reasons, but also for social connection and entertainment. He points to three elements that foster sexual addiction: loneliness, anger and boredom." Houston, we have a BIG problem... imageReality Check… Are You Burning Out?

Pastorblog.com has a list of some symptoms that may lead down the road to burnout in ministry. I thought it was a great list (originated from David Yearick). Take a look at this list and see if you have any of the beginning signs of ministry burnout...

Family Balance for the Church Leader Resources imagePastors In Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry

Why do pastors leave the ministry? Several common issues emerge from the research of Dean Hoge and Jacqueline Wenger: preference for another form of ministry, the need to care for children or family, conflict in the congregation, conflict with denominational leaders, burnout or discouragement, sexual misconduct, and divorce or marital problems. Of these factors, which form the basis for the central chapters of Pastors in Transition, two are especially important: conflict and a preference for specialized ministry. A close third is the experience of burnout, discouragement, stress and overwork. As the authors explore these factors, they provide significant insights into what can be done to help people stay in ministry. imageEat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading

The bestselling author of "The Message" challenges believers to read the Scriptures on their own terms, as God's revelation, and to live them as they read them. imagePracticing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders

Based on his extensive experience as coach and mentor to many thousands of Christian leaders across a broad spectrum of ministry settings, Reggie McNeal helps spiritual leaders understand that they will self-select into or out of greatness.