Much of the focus of our lives involves all aspects of our ministry. It seems all of our energy, attention, and passion is directed to our all-encompassing work for the Lord. After 17 years of marriage, we have to come to the realization that there are other things in the world besides ministry! Yes, we said it! We have learned that we must watch and give attention to our health, our marriage, and our family.
Please know, without these things in their proper order, we have no ministry! We often work tirelessly for God's people, while we let our bodies become flabby, our bills slide past the due date, and date night with our spouse slip by. The past 8 months or so we have come to realize the importance of these things and tried to put them in proper balance.
Our personal physical health was never really a focus. As parents of young children, we never missed a doctor's visit or a dentist appointment, yet we never focused on our own personal physical health. Yes, we desired to be better stewards of our bodies, but it seems that Dairy Queen always won out. Please know that your health can determine your length of ministry, the quality of your ministry, what type of provider you can be, and can limit your role as a parent and as a spouse. So 8 months ago we joined a gym as a family and yes we still go regularly. We decided to really be careful about our eating habits. Do we still have pizza nights?? You bet, we have kids!! We have also woven the topics of "good health" and "taking care of our bodies" into our family devotions.
Most ministry marriages get little attention. Faced with the enormity of spiritual needs, regular marriage maintenance usually gets pushed down the list of priorities. Let us remind you that your marriage is the most important earthly relationship you have. We should not strive just to stay married, but really be in love with each other. Please remember that marital decay and infidelity begin with inattentiveness and a casual approach to your marriage. Make it a priority!!
As our 3 kids get older, we see our time with them is quickly passing. Let's make sure they are a priority. Let's make our family time fun and creative. We use great creativity and imagination with our youth ministry, but sometimes fail to give that same level of effort at home to our own kids.
Enjoy the life routine. We live for vacations, birthdays, weekends off, and we LOVE Christmas. But don't forget to enjoy evening meals, family TV time, walks in the park, and sitting on the patio as well.
Our kids need to know that they are not just one of the youth group kids. You don't want your kid's fondest memory with family to be when the youth group went to beach! Integrate them into the family ministry purpose. They need to feel part of what you are doing. Approach the ministry as a "family call", not just watching mom or dad do ministry, but doing ministry together.
Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianNeugent