Balancing ministry and motherhood is something that I’ve tried to manage for the six years that I’ve been on-staff in Children’s Ministry. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes I feel like I pour too much of myself into my work while neglecting time with my children and vice versa. Instead of thinking of it as either-or, I have tried to intertwine the two. Here’s how:
I involve my children in my ministry. This won’t work for every family (my children are teenagers) but my children actually enjoy being a part of my ministry. In fact, they call it “our ministry”. They are able to offer great insight into music choices, games, events and resources. My little test group, if you will. Not only does this help me stay relevant and “cool” with the kids at church, but it helps my children feel like valued members of our ministry (which they are).
As a result, I’ve seen them use their gifts and talents. My son has seen me lead Sunday School and is now a teen small group leader for 6th grader boys at our church. He not only prepares his lessons ahead of time but he finds ways to shepherd the boys as well as provide an atmosphere of community within the group. He has also taught me a thing or two about technology (namely how to design a PowerPoint presentation). My daughter is extremely artistic. She has helped design brochures as well as sets and bulletin boards. She has also researched craft projects and has written skits for the children.
I ask their permission before signing them up for events, etc.. I value my children and their need for personal boundaries by not signing them up to help me at events. I don’t automatically assume that they will be present or fill open slots. Because of this, they look forward to going to church and volunteer to serve in various ways.
I value their opinion. When I was presented with a new ministry opportunity last year, I talked it over with my children (and my husband). Because the opportunity would involve changing churches, their opinion was vital to my decision. Talking it over with them and getting their insight strengthened our family and helped them to love, not resent, moving to our current church.
I am aware of negative talk about the ministry. Volunteers don’t show up. Someone may disagree with a decision I’ve made. Someone may complain about this or that. But my children don’t need to hear that. It’s not their burden to carry.
As often as I can, I take them along with me when I travel for work. My children are unsung heroes of my ministry, so taking them along with me is a reward for them. Those trips have been some of the best times we’ve had as a family.
I value them by leaving work at work. I love Children’s Ministry. I love to read about it and talk about it. But I also love my family time and try to protect that at all costs. Saturdays and Sunday afternoons are reserved for family–movies, good conversation, a delicious meal, a road trip. Just good, quality time to connect.
Although I love Children’s Ministry, motherhood is my most important ministry. But having my children integrated into my ministry is the best of both worlds! I could not imagine ministry life without them! 🙂