Tag Archive: boundaries

Keeping Your Kids And Your Call To Ministry


Brian, they don’t care what happened at work. They don’t care that you’ve surpassed your 7,000 word allotment for the day, or that you could have worked three more hours and still left things undone. They care about you spending time with them.”

This is often the speech I give myself as I pull into my cul-de-sac after work.

In a two part blog, I wanted to give some practical takeaways that have allowed me to keep my job, but also keep my family (and in some cases, thrive in both).

Like you, I have work commitments many evenings… But when I’m home… I need to be completely there.

I believe God has given me the chance to be involved in important work each day, at my church. But it’s those three hours in the evening that require me to offer my best time, in a much less public setting. It’s the time between ending work and kissing my last child goodnight.

The implications:

  • From 5:30 -8:00 p.m. I avoid working from my phone. It’s still on, should someone need to call me – but I’m not checking emails. (This is easiest if you turn off your phone’s email alerts.)
  • Before getting to my house, I often stop down the street to write my last emails from my phone. That way, I can enter the house and not send last-minute emails in front of my kids.
  • People have to wait for my email response. Whenever I can, I return emails quickly, but not during this timeframe.
  • I’ve already had to have spent time one on one with God. I know I won’t give my best time to my family or church unless I’ve already given God my best early in the day.

Driveway Prayers

The internal monologue I mentioned above is usually followed by a prayer. It’s my driveway prayer. It simply asks God to help me give my best to my wife and family for the next 2-3 hours – and I sit in my driveway until I feel God providing me peace about that commitment.

I’m not perfect…

… Sometimes urgent ministry needs interrupt those 2-3 hours

… Sometimes I squeeze in a quick look at my emails while my kids are consumed with another activity or my wife is engaged elsewhere

… And sometimes, my preoccupations with ministry induce me to say “I’m busy, pal” to my four-year-old boy when he says in his raspy voice, “Dad, play dinosaurs with me.”

I believe God created me for a purpose. Part of that purpose is the ministry in His local church. And part is loving my family fully with my mind, body, and heart’s attention.

My ministry work gets 8-12 hours of my day, at least five days a week. But with God’s help, my family gets my “best” hours that week.

 Practical Takeaways:

  • Have your spouse give feedback on what or who is getting the “best” part of your day.
  • Commit to an email, social media fast during a set time so you can focus on family.
  • Become a driveway pray-er.
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Hard Conversation Pointers for Members and Staff

face to face

The Latin term for confrontation means – “to turn your face toward; to look at fully.”

For many people, confrontation is something they do passively while walking away from another person, or a reply they make to a tweet or email. But as leaders in the church, we can’t afford to confront cowardly (or sinfully).

In their book Boundaries, Face to Face, @DrHenryCloud and @DrJohnTownsend suggest that “boundary conversations” are “motivated and driven by love, and also are focused and have an agenda.” These are two important components of a confrontation conversation that has boundaries.

It’s critical for church leaders to have hard conversations well. If not done well, such conversations may contribute to festering sin, and might also create a chasm between you and the person being confronted. If that happens, it will make it difficult for you to worship together and do church life together.

Before you decide to initiate a hard conversation like this with someone, determine two things:

  1. Is this something you can overlook? (Proverbs 19:11) Many would-be confrontations can be stopped at this point. Ask yourself – is this person doing something that is wrong, or is it simply something I don’t prefer? If it’s the latter, choose to overlook.
  2. Are my reasons for the conversation motivated and driven by love? In other words, is it driven and motivated by a greater good?

If you’ve determined the offense should not be overlooked, and the confrontation is motivated by love and the greater good, then make the choice to confront the person within these boundaries:

  • Determine your agenda. Be specific. Deal with the most pressing issue, and then stay on agenda. Non-focused confrontations deal with too many issues and instances, and rarely get to resolution.
  • Call the meeting at a time that gives you the best chance for success. Try to be flexible, and adjust to their timing if possible. If they’re not a morning person, than avoid breakfast meetings.
  • Pray… for the other person, their receiving of the message, your attitude, and for God-honoring resolution.
  • Prepare your delivery. Most experts agree you have somewhere between 30 seconds and three minutes to set the tone of a conflict conversation, and that tone is determinative of the outcome. Prepare well for that thirty seconds.
  • Know your desired outcome. Know what equates to success in this confrontation. Allow room for the other person to speak into this, but know what you hope to achieve.
  • Make sure you get to the last 2%. This is the hardest part of the conversation. This is the part that may take people aback. But the last 2% is the reason for the conversation. Say what you need to say. Make sure it’s delivered clearly. Without it, you’ve just engaged in a hard conversation that was all preface.

When you’re done, ask yourself these questions:

  • Did I say anything un-becoming as a Christian?
  • Did I stay on agenda?
  • Did I say the last 2%?
  • Did I listen well to their response?
  • Did we mutually determine a next step to deal with the issue?

Happy hard-conversating.


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