You are a ministry leader, whether it is paid or volunteer, whether you lead a class, small group, or simply help serve the breakfast at an event; you encounter people and are called to be Christ to those people. In these moments, and beyond, you are a ministry leader.
In times of ministry it’s easy for the charity switch to turn on, but the most difficult moment of ministry leadership can be when you return home. My wife is amazing and while she doesn’t have a specific role on the Core Team (except when we ask her to speak), she leads the ministry of supporting her spouse. This role and reality should not go unnoticed, but often does. For every married ministry leader out there, there is another person who stands behind them. Often times this is a person who is at home putting the kids to bed or making other sacrifices so that the ministry leader can thrive.
While I am grateful for these people, I often fail to acknowledge this reality and somewhere on the drive home from the parish, my charity switch turns off. “I don’t want to do the dishes; I’ve been ministering all day,” or “I just want to watch TV and relax.” Wow, is this the same person who just an hour earlier was telling the teens that they should live every moment seeking opportunities to share the love of God with others! There have even been times when I didn’t pray with my spouse at the end of a ministry day because I was too ‘prayed out’. (I know, break out the pitch forks and torches).
The most difficult moment of ministry leadership is continuing that leadership to the people who matter most. If God is calling us to play a part in the salvation of teens from our Parish, then God is most certainly calling us to play a vital part in the salvation of those who live in our homes. So how can we bring our role of ministry leadership more fully to the home, especially after a long ministry event?
- No music or phone on the drive home. Allow the day to unpack itself in silence and use that time to prayerfully recharge so you can give to your family and live as the domestic church.
- Say a prayer in the driveway and think of one immediate way you can be Christ to your spouse within 3 minutes of walking in the door. This not only transforms the day, it can transform your marriage.
- Be a generous giver of gratitude. Let your spouse know that ministry would not be possible without their support. Here is a fun way to do that as you pull into your neighborhood.
- Incorporate the family when possible. Some youth ministry programs flow from an evening Mass and start with a meal. See if it would be possible to include your family in the opening meal / snack time of the youth event at least once a month. This will bond your family, allow your spouse to see the ministry that is taking place, and give the teens a witness of a loving family seeking God together.
One of the devil’s primary forms of attack is on the family. Families of ministry leaders must be top on his list. We must be intentional about letting our ministry to others flow from our primary ministry to our family and not the other way around. Let’s pray for one another as we continue to be bold builders of the Kingdom of God. And to the spouses out there: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! So many cups are overflowing because of your YES in supporting your spouse as a ministry leader.
Comment below with your tips on how we can stay filled up for our family after pouring out as a ministry leader.
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Great observations Chris. And you are so right. A constant struggle for me. Thanks for the insight.