Some people may find it odd to hear that I take my little girl Lillie on hospital visits with me occasionally. After hearing why however, I think you’ll agree – its not a bad idea. Here are three reasons why I take her with me…
- She wants to come. Of course a small part of it is that she just wants to be with daddy, but consistently she passionately expresses concern for the people in the hospital. She wants to visit them and pray for them. Why would I squelch that kind of compassion?
- Ministry and family are not enemies. I’ve heard many stories about how pastors have sacrificed their families on the altar of ministry. Unfortunately, as pastors today hear those stories, they let the pendulum swing the other way and end up making ministry and family enemies of one another – in efforts to protect their families. But ministry and family are NOT enemies. In fact, I think they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ministry happens best when done together in teams. Families are healthiest when they focus on serving others. Think about it. When do pb&j sandwiches go wrong? When there is way too much peanut butter or way too little jelly. When do pb&j sandwiches go well? When you have just the right amount of peanut butter and just the right amount of jelly and they are pressed close together. I think the same is true for ministry and family. As long as I’m giving appropriate focused time to each, I want to get ministry and family as close together as possible. I don’t want them to be competing rivals, but rather close friends. When someone is in the hospital, I don’t have to choose either ministry or family. It can be both – and. I want my kids to get a front row seat of kingdom activity. I want our church to blessed by my family.
- Discipleship is more caught than taught. My sweet little girl learns more than I realize as she ministers by my side. She absorbs kingdom values as she hears me pray and minister to our people. As she listens, she is being trained on to minister to those who are hurting. As she watches, she learns how to express love in a variety of ways. As she participates, she is emboldened as a fellow minister of Jesus. Some day my Lillie may minister in a refugee camp or an orphanage or maybe she’ll grow up to be a nurse. Only God knows. But today, she is certainly in training on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
What best practices have you seen or experience in bringing ministry and family together? Have you let the pendulum swing into an unhealthy area?