Providing well for your family is a major component of loving them–and hard work is key to being able to provide well. For some reason, however, too many pastors have gotten it into their heads that ministry is a soft profession–that it can be done with less effort and intentionality than other jobs.
In a surprising number of ministerial circles, laziness has become commonplace. What a gross disservice to the calling placed on a pastor’s life! As a pastor, you have been called to minister to God’s people with an excellence that reflects His own. You have a higher, more intense responsibility to work hard and do your work well than just about anyone else.
Historically, the three classic professions in Western civilization have been doctors, lawyers, and ministers. That’s right–doctors and lawyers are your peer group. As such, I would argue that they should be your point of comparison when it comes to hard work. Compared to the hours the average doctor or lawyer puts in, you have a pretty good life, right? You don’t have to run to the emergency room for an 8-hour surgery at 3:00 in the morning or spend 13 hours a day poring over briefs. But you should expect to expend the same level of energy and commitment in your work as these other two professions do. Allowing your family to see you working diligently in order to provide for them, to accomplish things in ministry, and to be a good leader is a gift to give them on a daily basis.As a pastor, you have been called to minister to God's people with an excellence that reflects His own. Click To Tweet
A few years ago, I was at a local conference with a pastor friend. From the stage, one of the speakers built the case that, as a pastor, you should be home when your kids arrive from school every afternoon. He laid it on really thick, hitting every emotional nerve possible. After the lunch break that day, I couldn’t find my friend. When I called to see where he was, he told me he had run home to meet the school bus. There was just one problem–his kids weren’t on the bus. Apparently, they had after school activities, so he was sitting around an empty house wasting time. Thanks to the guilt the speaker had associated with work, my friend missed the next session of the conference and some great growth opportunities–for nothing.
Don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty for being a hard worker; you are called to work hard. In fact, according to the Bible, if you can work and you don’t, you shouldn’t eat (see 2 Thess. 3:10). By choosing to be committed to work, you may miss some Little League games, but that’s okay. You don’t have to be at every one. There’s a balance to be struck. As long as your family is in its rightful position in your life, you will actually be setting a strong example for your kids when you do have to miss their activities from time to time. You will be showing them that you are working hard for them and for the Kingdom. You will be earning their respect and teaching them a work ethic that will serve them well down the road.
As you commit to actively loving your family by marking out boundaries to strengthen your relationships, by building hedges to protect them, and by applying yourself to hard work, you will be taking a major step toward renegade living. Average pastors, even well-intentioned ones, allow their relationships with their spouse and kids to barrel ahead with no boundaries or hedges in place. Average pastors buy into the myth that hard work isn’t necessary in ministry–and they suffer the consequences. Renegade pastors do the opposite. In doing so, they reflect the excellence of God to a watching world, enjoy a healthy family life, and leave a legacy of love for generations to come.
– Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson
The above excerpt is from pgs. 62-64 of The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry.
Drawing from Nelson Searcy’s decades of ministry experience, The Renegade Pastor is a relevant, step-by-step resource for church leaders who are ready to step up in surrender to the pursuit of God’s best for his or her life and work.
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