It can be easy to forget how many responsibilities a pastor juggles on a daily basis. As a pastor, he has an enormous responsibility to care for his congregation by nourishing and protecting them with the truth of God’s Word. He is also charged with leading and managing the affairs of the church, while loving the people and caring for their needs.
And his duties do not end when he leaves the office. Pastors may also be husbands and fathers and face many of the same responsibilities to their families as they do to the church.
Both responsibilities demand much of a pastor’s time and energy. Somewhere along the way he must also find time to nourish his own soul by maintaining his personal walk with God.
Trying to manage all the different responsibilities is difficult, yet very important, and the key to success begins at home.
“Your marriage is your first mission field. Keep it that way,” said Eddie Thompson, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) marriage and family ministry senior consultant.
Thompson speaks from experience. He served as a pastor for 15 years, during which time he learned firsthand the pressures of being a pastor. Through the years he has seen too many men in ministry fail to make their families top priority. “The demands of ministry can be overwhelming. It is so easy to give our best to other people and give our family our leftovers,” he said.
The stakes are high for everyone involved. “Pastors who fail to juggle all their responsibilities run the risk of losing their families, their churches, their reputations and their careers,” Thompson said.
The balancing act is not limited to full-time pastors. Anyone serving in the local church, including lay people, can find it difficult to balance their service to the church with their family responsibilities.
Thompson desires to see everyone involved in ministry learn how to avoid that mistake.
As part of his effort to help, Thompson will host one of the 19 breakout sessions during the BSC Annual Meeting Nov. 7-8 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
Thompson’s session, “The Minister’s Juggling Act,” will focus on how people involved in ministry can find the right balance when it comes to serving their families, serving their churches and living for God.
It’s a balance Thompson believes too many in ministry are unprepared for. “Attempting to balance church and family life is a lot more difficult than pastors think it is,” Thompson said. “I think pastors severely underestimate how difficult it is to balance all the things of life.”
All too often pastors and church leaders fail to recognize the warning signs when they begin to slip out of balance by taking on too many responsibilities at once.
It’s a common mistake that Thompson believes can be avoided when leaders keep a proper perspective on their abilities.
“We are not superman. We need to check our cape at the door,” he said. “We are really human beings that have limited energy and strength. We need to make sure we use what we have in a way that gives God the most glory.”