It’s easy to get out of balance – especially when we are doing things for the church or "for God." Whether you are a church staff member, a ministry leader, or a volunteer classroom teacher, you can let things get out of balance. I’ve seen things get out of balance in a couple of ways.
1. Ministry vs. Family – If you are a church staff member or a ministry leader (paid or volunteer), you must pay particular attention to the balance between your work/ministry and your family. Sometimes the demands of coordinating teachers and planning events and getting supplies and tending to details consume so much time that your family gets the little left over. (Sometimes family demands can squeeze the time to get work done, but usually that’s not the case.) When I was a preschool minister/weekday director, here are a couple of ways I tried to maintain this balance:
a. Delegate: Find some trusted partners in ministry and give them parts of your ministry to lead and coordinate. Support them and work with them, but let go of the regular work and let them do it. Sure, it will be different from what you would do. But you get some of your time back and they grow as leaders.
b. Detach: Plan regular time to be away from your ministry and be with your family. I planned to be completely away from the office one day a week (not including Saturday). That day, I would put all thoughts of work and ministry aside and focus on family time or personal time. Of course, sometimes things would happen that I needed to do for the church, but my staff and I worked to make sure those instances were minimal and truly times when I was needed.
2. Doing Stuff vs. Discipleship – Now that I\’m a volunteer classroom teacher, I don\’t struggle with ministry and family balance. But I do struggle with "doing stuff" at church rather than growing as a disciple. I must make sure I am finding time to study God’s Word, pray, and learn rather than focusing on teaching or helping or doing. Busyness can squeeze out spiritual growth. Here are a few ways I try to maintain this balance:
a. Personal time with God: I\’ll be honest. Some days I don\’t do a good job spending time personally with God – reading the Bible and praying. And I feel that. But without that personal time, it’s hard to be ready to teach my kindergartners – and I don\’t mean gathering all that stuff. Being ready to teach includes being spiritually prepared. Without a personal connection with God, I\’m doing things under my own power and that can only lead to trouble.
b. Corporate Worship: Worshiping weekly with other Christians is my spiritual boost for the week. That becomes a time to connect with God and my church as we worship Him and learn how to live for Him. Many times I\’m tired after my teaching time with kindergartners. But worship helps remind me why I do that and re-energizes me.
c. Learning with others: Adult Bible studies can be a valuable part of discipleship for us as children’s leaders. And training conferences help us grow and improve our skills. Sometimes I\’ll go to a training conference and not really learn many new things – but I\’m reminded of some things AND I meet and mingle with others who are passionate about helping boys and girls learn about Jesus. I search out opportunities that I can learn and grow…so I can live out what God is doing in me.
What do you see that gets out of balance in your life…and your spiritual life? How do you maintain balance?
So, what would you recommend for a person who has a full-time job, a family, and a volunteer leadership role in the church? I can’t take a day off (not counting Saturday) during the week, since I have a secular full-time job. How do I balance full-time work, additional ministry time, and family?