Healthy Ministry Doesn’t Just Happen

Family walking together

The heart of Care for Pastors is to see every pastoral family thriving in ministry. Thriving means that the Pastor and his family are exhibiting healthy spirituality that honors Christ and impacts the kingdom.

It is our belief that healthy ministry flows from a healthy marriage. You cannot have a healthy ministry if your marriage is in shambles. This is one of the reasons that the apostle Paul included it in the list of qualities found in the life of a pastor:

“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” – 1 Timothy 3:2-7

Notice how many times the apostle refers to the home life of the qualified man.

What do healthy priorities look like?

  1. Healthy priorities reflect biblical priorities. God established the home before He established the church.  In the model priority list, God is first, my spouse is second, my children are third, and my ministry is last.
  2. Healthy priorities carve out personal time alone with God. If this is priority is neglected, it will show up in all other areas of my life.  A friend of mine once said to me, “I find it sad that so many of God’s servants neglect time with the Father in order to serve HIM.” Even Jesus was aware of His need to spend time with the Father.  (Luke 5:16)
  3. Healthy priorities respect the sacred relationship of husband and wife. Healthy marriages require maintenance. This means time spent together intentionally investing in the marriage relationship, building oneness of spirit. Too many of us have poured our lives into the ministry and when we finally get home there is nothing left for our spouses. Our emotional and physical tanks are on empty and our families get the leftovers. My spouse and my children deserve quality time intentionally set aside for them.
  4. Healthy priorities honor the commitment of being a father before being a pastor. You will never regret time you have spent with your children, going to their games, sharing their lives, and listening to their struggles. I suggest that you set an appointment on your calendar to spend time with your spouse and your children. If someone requests to meet with you during a time that you have committed to your spouse or children, your response should be, “I’m sorry, I’m not available at that time. I have a previous commitment.” You should say this confidently and unashamedly. I have found it valuable to share this priority with the church. You can say something like this, “In an effort to keep and model biblical priorities, my spouse and I have made some time commitments to each other and to our children. We appreciate your support and request your prayers as we seek to honor this biblical priority in our home.”
  5. Healthy priorities enable us to choose the “best” over the “good”. There will always be opportunities in ministry that are good things. These good things will inevitably conflict with your priorities. Healthy priorities empower us to say “no” to the good things so we can say “yes” to the best things.

Pastor, you don’t have to face this alone. Care for Pastors exists to support, encourage, counsel, and pray for you. We are a safe place to turn when you are overwhelmed by the unique challenges of pastoral ministry. Reach out to us.

About Robert White

Dr. Robert White was raised in central Florida and completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. After college, he completed the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. For more than 40 years he has served as pastor of churches in Florida and in Massachusetts. He served as adjunct professor at the Orlando Extension Center of Luther Rice Seminary, teaching Bible and Theology for 15 years. He taught classes for the certificate program of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served on the New Work Council of the Greater Orlando Baptist Association and the Pastor Support Team of the Ridge Baptist Association. In October 2016, Dr. White joined the counseling staff of Care For Pastors. He currently resides with his wife, Kaye, in Leesburg, Florida.

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