Children Keeping You out of the Ministry, Part II

by Rhonda on October 27, 2011 in Ministry, Servanthood

Juggling ministry and children can be challenging, especially if we are trying to meet unrealistic expectations as shared in an earlier post here.   According to the scriptures, our first and foremost ministry is the care of our families and home, but does our ministry end there? Just as there is no room for the neglect of my family, there is also no room for a “my family only” mentality.  Yet too many times ministry is focused on our own self fulfillment, rather than on loving our neighbor.  We get a little bit confused when we forget Scripture teaches us ministry based upon our context in life, not outside it This was reaffirmed by a letter I received this week.  This middle aged woman shared how she struggles with the guilt she feels because she has to say no to church ministries.  Yet she has the care of three new children she adopted whose father has died and are left with a grieving mother who no longer cares for them.  I believe Jesus would be pleased, don’t you?  Oh, women, encourage these mothers, letting them know that they are in fact serving the Lord.

One of the marks of the Proverbs 31 woman was that she reached out her hands to the needy.  Isn’t that beautiful?   In our world we are surrounded with needy people.  I think of the elderly who have no children, the widow, the orphaned child.  How about visiting nursing home residents in your area–the faces of your little ones will surely light up theirs!  The new mother who needs a meal or is struggling with cancer and needs a little help w/her home–take your children over and clean her house.  One of the blessings in my life is being able to help my widowed grandmother with my daughters and sons alongside me.  This is how we teach our children that God put them on this earth to care for and bless others.

Another virtue praised in the Christian widow in I Timothy 5 was that she washed the feet of the saints, showing hospitality.  Your home can become a hub of ministry opportunities.  You may have lots of little children and the only hospitality you have the energy for is inviting someone over for a slice of store-bought cake and a cup of coffee.  As your children grow,  they can actually help get your home ready to invite others in and can even help prepare part of the meal.  Again, you are teaching your children how to bless others.

I don’t have time or space to post here the many ways our family has found to minister without sacrificing the raising of our children.  Involve your children, teach them by your example to watch for ways to bless others.  We have had countless families and singles in our home.  We have ministered to widows for years.  We have mailed letters to war veterans, thanking them for their service and seen them touched that someone cared to say thank you.  My husband uses our home to counsel couples on a weekly basis most of the year and our children provide the babysitting for those who come.   We have taken mission trips together and done work projects at church together.   My point is not to hold up our family model as the only way to do ministry, but rather to say we don’t have to neglect one area of responsibility(our families and homes)to do the other “one anothers” God has called us to.  Ask God to give you wisdom and show you how to minister to your families and those needy around you.  It brings glory to Him and isn’t that why you and I are here!

 

Rhonda blogs at Walking with Sarah.com

 

 

 

Rhonda

Rhonda and Herb have been married for 28 years and together they have four children, aged 27-13. Herb is a certified nouthetic counselor through NANC, which provides many opportunities to see marriages and families strengthened for the glory of God. Their family is currently involved in planting a family integrated church in Northwest Indiana. Rhonda seeks to encourage women in their roles as wives and mothers through mentoring and writing. She blogs at WalkingwithSarah.com.

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{ 6 comments }

Ruth October 27, 2011

Thank you for this post! My husband is preparing to candidate at a church in a couple weeks and I was already beginning to dread how to answer the questions they may have about what ministries and responsibilities the pastor’s wife will/should have. This post was a tremendous encouragement to me.

Iva October 27, 2011

Thank you for this excellent post! Nursing home ministry is something my parents did with their large family. People LOVED our music and childish faces. Later on, my older sisters took us younger sisters and began weekly, regular visits in nursing homes. Now that I have children, I find that they are a way into older people’s hearts. They can (and will) ignore us adults, but the children are irresistable.

TMichelle October 27, 2011

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this. I have one 2 1/2 year old and another on the way. It took us a long time to have children and now that we have been blessed it is not easy to navigate how to continue to serve others. I am thankful for this encouragement and the ideas as well as the “permission” to put first things first which may mean taking a break for awhile.

Everyday Mom October 27, 2011

My children and I are trying to do one small service project a week–even something as simple as making pictures for someone in the hospital. It really has helped us be outward focused. I am very involved in the youth program in our church. Though my children aren’t old enough to attend, they see me interacting with high school kids. I remember seeing my parents do this as well and it forever served as a positive example to me. I know God will use them in whatever area He’s called them–I believe He is using them already.

Breana November 2, 2011

Wow! You have no idea how much I needed to read this! For months now I have felt extremely guilty for how to “do it all”! I am a stay at home mom of 4 children and I love it, yet sometimes I feel guilty for being busy at home & not having time to do other things! Thank you for reminding my main ministry is IN the home!
I love the idea of using your home as a ministry AND involving your kids! I can’t wait to talk with them more, when we are preparing for people to come over… especially when they have children who my kids can help watch & provide relief for the parents!
I really hope you might consider writing a post of more detailed ways! 🙂
Thank you so much!

Alexandra June 4, 2012

Good post! I can definately affirm you do not need to neglect your primary responsibility, which is your family, to be a blessing. Our children are nad 11, and for the past two years my husband has been the youth sunday school teacher at our church. Most Sunday afternoons he brings home sometimes up to 20 teenagers, from church and the local boarding school where he teaches. In the beginning I was very overwhelmed about the scope of the ministry, and often felt inadequate in my role but now that we are two years down the road I’ll tell you what the kids tell us they miss. They miss the open welcoming Christian home, the fellowship of other teens in a safe and supervised environment, the good old fashioned farm fun of chasing down sheep that need shots and skating on the pond. They miss macoroni with the top crust burnt, and lumpy cheesecake because I didn’t thaw the cream cheese well enough. They never mentioned my piles of junkmail in the corners, the less than pristine kitchen or the toothpaste gunk on the bathroom counter. They often contact my husband after they graduate and tell him how they have appreciated his advice, guidance and support. And yes, some of them have even gotten saved. We went through parenting struggles, job loss, a barn fire and a miscarriage during those years. And I can tell you we weren’t always equipped for the task!
Don’t ever give up your oppertunity to serve because you can’t do it perfectly. It is in our brokenness that Christ shines! 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
King James Version (KJV)

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Our children have learned a lot about serving, and help out gladly most of the time. They have learned a lot about giving to others, and relating to strangers. But mostly they have seen God come through, time and time again. They have seen how God can use them for his glory, and that gives them purpose. Ask the Lord to show you how to use you, the answer may surprise you, and it is sure to bless you…and others!

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