Pastorals (Home, part 1)

This is the third post in a series of posts titled “Pastorals”.  One of the things that I have begun to realize about myself is that I tend to forget things quickly.  My goal in this series is to continually remind myself of the lessons that I have learned in ministry.

brothers_1 One of the truths that young pastors have to quickly reconcile themselves to is that there is simply no end of ministry to be done.  As a pastor your proverbial “inbox” is always full and if for some reason it seems to get low, prepare yourself because an avalanche is coming.  The reason for this is very simple, it is because you work outside of the garden and life outside of the garden is full of pain, sorrow, and need.  As a good shepherd, you must be attentive to the needs of the flock marrying, burying , counseling, preaching, exhorting, and rebuking them. 

Yet with all of the needs of your flock and the never ending stream of ministry opportunities, you must bear this in mind, your family is the foundation for your ministry.  Few things will disqualify a man as quickly and as decisively as a poorly cared for family.  It is true that the needs of your congregation are great, but I must remind you that the needs of your family are even greater.  Paul instructed Timothy that if a man neglects the care of his own family he is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).  It is not enough for you to provide for their physical needs, you must care for all of their needs.  Your qualifications as a shepherd of God’s church are directly tied to your performance as a shepherd of your own family.  What this means is that your church desperately needs you to be a good shepherd to your wife and to your children, so that you can continue to be a good shepherd to the church body (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

Here are a few practical insights into what it means to be a good shepherd in your home:

1) Be home more nights than you are away.  The practical reality of your ministry at home is that most of it will happen at night, because you will usually be gone during the day.  In order for you to be a good shepherd at home, you must be home to shepherd.  It is true that there are seasons of extraordinary ministry, which require you to be gone for 4-5 nights out of the week or even to be gone for 1-2 weeks on a mission trip or similar event; however these must be the exception to the rule.  Strive to make it your rule to be home more nights than you are away.

2) When you are home, be home.  What I mean by this is, turn off your cell phone, leave your books at the office, turn off the TV, and engage in family life.  Technology is a powerful tool that can free us to get far more done than we could otherwise, however it can also be a cruel master enslaving us to its every beep and chirp all the while ignoring our children’s cries to play, wrestle and read.  When you are home, be at home.

3) In order to do numbers 1 & 2, you must be exceedingly diligent during the time you are at your office.  Forsake anything and everything that does not immediately contribute to your goal of shepherding the flock, in order to free yourself to spend the time caring for your family in the hours that you are at home.  Your ability to shepherd your family, is directly related to your stewardship of time while you are away from your family, so be diligent in your use of time and violent in your exclusion of actions, activities, and meetings that do not contribute to the care of the flock.

‘Til Sin is Bitter Christ will not be Sweet,

Drew Buell

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April 13 2009 05:00 am | Pastorals

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