Many times couples feel as if marriage is in conflict with ministry. The attitude seems to be: “If I really give to my marriage what all these books and counselors say I should, my ministry will suffer. Marriage is important, but my ministry is for God, and he deserves 100 percent.”
This type of thinking translates into the resolve that “I will respond to anyone who calls at any time other than my spouse. Even if I have promised my wife or husband that I will stay home, if someone else calls for my attention, my wife or husband will just have to understand that God’s work comes first.” My wife and I facilitate a Celebrate Recovery Ministry at Heritage Church here in Wichita Falls. We have worked on this ministry for almost 4 years and we both are pulled away from our marriage from time to time.
When any couple in barks on a ministry and take on the responsibility of trying to help others, it should be approached as a team effort if at all possible. That is what my wife and I have done. Your marriage is also a covenant with God, it need to be God, marriage then the ministry because the ministry is about helping others and no one should come before God and your marriage.
If your relationship with God diminishes and your marriage diminishes there is no way you are spiritually focused enough to help others. Perhaps the bluntness of the above statement makes it seem like something that you would never say. However, this type of thinking can creep in subtly. Others will see behaviors that may indicate distance from God. Your spouse will pick up things and experience feelings related to neglect if there is wedge driven between you. You may not even see it coming until it’s too late.
The reason for this error is a misunderstanding of how marriage and ministry fit together. Many couples believe and live as if marriage and ministry do not fit together. They view these two areas as being in irresolvable conflict and feel that one must be subordinate. Frequently, this translates into a severe neglect of the family, because “serving the Lord” is more important.
Those having this attitude define service to God as “those spiritual things that take place outside the home.” Back to my “covenant with God” statement, in my opinion anything that may try to create chaos in a family, in a marriage is not of God anyway. Besides I know my wife is receiving rewards and blessings through the ministry, so is our marriage. Other couples believe that marriage and ministry ought to fit together, so they run back and forth between the two.
The fit is never comfortable or easy, but they enjoy some success from their juggling efforts. The theory, a neglect of the home, is clear disobedience to God’s standards for those who oversee his church. Paul tells us that “an overseer must manage his own family well” (1 Timothy 3:4). Obviously, a pastor cannot manage his home if he is never present. Those who try to take on both equally are prime candidates for burnout.
Celebrate Recovery Meeting can also be found at FallsPointe Church on Kemp Blvd Monday’s at 7pm and Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church at 300 5th street Thursday’s at 7pm, both also here in Wichita Falls. Our meeting at Heritage is on Tuesday’s at 6pm.If your home church is offering ministry’s that are family focused, as a ministry director myself I ask that you be as supportive as you can. Same for your pastor, be as supportive as you can. The people in ministry as well as their spouses sacrifice so that they can help others.