Having seen pastors in for multiple generations in both my and my wife’s families, I know all to well the impact that ministry has on families. As pastors we have huge hearts. We are in the game to help people and move them toward a growing relationship with Christ. But if you’re not careful your marriage can begin to crash and burn.
This is something that every church can run into. Whether you are small and you feel like you’ve got to do it yourself or you work for LifeChurch.tv and feel like there is too much to do, you can destroy your marriage if work takes the driver seat too many days of the week.
The quickest way to address this is to immediately write down every task or roll you find yourself completing or fulfilling on a weekly basis. Then assign one of the following categories to that task or role.
1. Only I Can Do This
There are some parts of your job that only you can do. But if your marriage is in trouble, it’s because you’ve put to many things in this category. Be brutally honest! This list should be short. Most things that have creeped onto this list can be delegated if you are willing to let go.
2. Someone Specific Can Do This
There are some tasks or roles in your week-to-week workload that can be assigned to a trained individual. Look for someone competent to help you solve a given problem. For example, "new volunteer followup" was something I felt like should be on my plate but I just wasn’t regularly following through. I ended up reaching out to a friend and asking if they could, in a volunteer capacity, help relieve me of this burden. They said yes, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
3. Anyone Can Do This
You may find that a handful of tasks can be assigned to someone without any training. Organize them into a project or into a weekly assignment…and then ask someone to help with that issue.
4. No One Needs To Do This
If you could stop doing something and no one would notice or be negatively impacted….STOP DOING IT!
Once you've categorized your roles and tasks, start brainstorming. Who can you ask to help with these specific areas?
Your community doesn't mind volunteering if they are making a measurable impact. As long as your a great person to work for, a clearly led team can "help hold your arms up" when you start to get tired. (See "5 Ingredients to an Empowered Team")
If you find yourself in dangerous territory and your marriage taking a beating, stop and assess what can go. I’ve found that building a volunteer team can help tremendously with lessening the load, and more importantly, increasing the impact. An individual can only accomplish so much, but a well organized team can tackle big tasks and have an even bigger impact.
As Andy Stanely said in his book "When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family" [link] , you are the only person that can be dad and husband. Put the most effort where you are the "only one that can".