I recently posted 10 ways to take the loneliness out of leadership. Here I'd like to dive into the second: Develop a healthy relationship with your family.
A few years ago a guy in our church came to remonstrate with me about my non attendance at a ministry event he was involved in leading. As a pastor I should have been there!
When I explained that I had a planned day out with my son, we had tickets for some sporting event if I remember rightly, and I saw that as being more important on this occasion. This did not meet with his approval. I will never forget his words back to me.
"If you look after God's family, God will look after your family, the church comes first for you."
I can't tell you how much I disagree with that. Too many families have been destroyed through a preoccupation with ministry instead of family.
Our advice as pastors, to men and women, is to ensure they do not neglect their families for the sake of their jobs, yet too often as Pastors we do exactly that. So to take the lonely out of leadership I'd suggest we start close to home:
- Dream up ways of how you can improve your marriage with the same passion you have to improve the church.
- Plan fun time with your kids in the same methodical way you plan the church calendar.
- Put date night in your calendar in the same unshakable way you put the date and time of your next leadership meeting.
- Develop a vision for your family in the same inspiring way you craft a vision for your church.
- Start saying no to your congregation and yes to your family a little more often.
- Understand that showing up at your child's sporting or school event will bring a smile to your dearest face rather than being just a number at the latest conference.
- Stop trying to please the church board and endeavour to please your wife.
- Answer your family as diligently as you answer the ring of the phone or the beep of your email. (And ignore the latter a little more often)
Often behind every lonely leader is a lonely family.
Take a step out of loneliness and champion the family God has placed you in.