081 - Pastor Balance - Leaders.Church


081 – Pastor Balance

What’s in this Episode?

Okay, the kids and the fam are all loaded up in the van ready to go for the 50 mile trek down the road for the long awaited vacation. I mean, everybody’s ready. And then the phone call comes in, that a longtime member of the church has just passed away, and they want you. What are you gonna do? What’s your family going to do? Well, in today’s episode, we’re gonna talk about exactly that.

Read the Transcript

Jonathan Hardy 0:30
Well, I never faced a story like that, but I will say there have been times where I have faced another situation. And I think a lot of people probably listening to this have also experienced this situation. And that is simply this. You know, there’s been multiple times where I’m in meetings with pastors, or ministry leaders, or people in the church, whatever you might have. And as a result, I’m late for getting home for dinner.

Dick Hardy 0:52

Jonathan Hardy 0:53
I know, can you believe that? You never did that did you?

Dick Hardy 0:55
Never! No.

Jonathan Hardy 0:56
No. Well, so it’s a reality that happens from time to time. And hopefully, for some, it’s not as frequent, but that happens. And if you’re listening, you’ve probably experienced this yourself where you, you know, the meetings going long. The the people have needs, whatever it might be, and as a result, you’re texting your spouse, you’re saying, hey, I’m gonna be late. I can’t make it. You know, you got the kids. In my case, Ashley’s got the kids, she’s home, she’s making dinner, trying to take care of them, bathe them do all that stuff, and,

Dick Hardy 1:25
And you’re still at church.

Jonathan Hardy 1:26
And I’m still at church. Yeah. And in reality, this is the tension we face all the time. And people are always wondering, well, how do you balance ministry and life and family and all this stuff. And it’s just that tension, you have to constantly manage. And we actually talked about that at length inside the leaders.church video series, if you’re a member of leaders.church, you want to make sure to check this out on ministry, balancing ministry in life, that’s what we call it. And so that’d be a good series where you and I actually talk a lot about the family dynamic of us, as you were raising me and how we navigated that ministry-wise. So if you’re a member, you know, make sure to click over to check that one out. But then also, even if you’re not a member, you could also check out Episode 39, where we talk about six best practices for pastors to grow the relationship with their spouse, because when you’re in ministry, it’s so important to make sure you’re carving out that time for one another, as a married couple, and you want to make sure to do that. But for today, we’re going to be talking about how to balance the family relationships with the demands and the people in the church and the demands of ministry. And so hey, you’re the old guy here. You’ve had a little bit experience. I’m just judging based on those gray hairs.

Tip #1: Avoid the “Us Vs. Them”

Dick Hardy 2:38
Yeah. Right behind me, buddy. Very first thing I say to pastors is you have to avoid the us versus them. And this is as important for the pastor’s spouse, as it is the pastor. Because the reason that first story we talked about in this episode went positive and not negative is because of the spouse. The spouse said, “we get the privilege of being with people at times like this.” And rather than saying, “kids, here we go again, the church is creeping in on our time.” No. So spouse and pastor always present with your children, that it’s a great privilege to… it’s both/an. We get to have a great family relationship, and we get to have a great church. Avoid the us versus them completely.

Tip #2: Determine First Thing’s First

Dick Hardy 3:38
The second thing is determine first thing’s first. We have an episode, one of our earlier episodes, episode three, Seven Ways for a Pastor to Stay Mentally Fresh. The very first thing in your relationships is your relationship with God. That is central to what we’re about. So all pastors sure we get that, we do, but you’ve got to remember that first. Your next is your relationship to your spouse and your children. Now, that doesn’t mean that okay, you know, God, spouse, children, someplace down the line, I’ll get church because we all get it. If we’re employed by the church, we’ve got to give it our best. But if you look at churches, pastors that go upside down in relationships, they begin to get confused with God’s personal calling to that relationship, Father, to my case, son with the calling to serve in a church, and those are two very different things. But when you can keep those things in order, then you’re best able to balance the relationships between family and church because you kept first things first.

Tip #3: Communicate Priorities to Others

Jonathan Hardy 5:01
Yeah, no, that’s good. The third thing is to communicate priorities to others. So you’ve got people in the church, and they need to know what your priorities are. They need to know where you draw the line. And because the reality is people will I mean, they’ll run you ragged. You know, if you let them. You know, hey, can you come to my kids ballgame? Hey, can you come to this work event I have? Can you come to this and, and you know, and then you multiply that by however many people are part of your church, you could be running non stop 24/7 just being and doing stuff with the people in your church. And so that’s where you have to be able to communicate to them, set the expectations, set those boundaries, so that way they know where your priorities are. And if you don’t communicate those to them, what will happen is it’ll result in hurt feelings, and people will feel left out, or they’ll feel like you’re not important to them, or they’re not important to you rather. And it might not be that it might be simply that you’ve got your priorities. But if they don’t know that… and it’s just like in everything. Communication is so key, we have to communicate the priorities first.

Dick Hardy 6:11
Well, and I told you earlier about a pastor who was a very successful pastor, a growing church. And now he had been at the church probably 15 to 18 years when he made this statement. So on a Sunday morning, he gets up and he says, now friends, here’s what we can do. I can either be at all your ballgames, receptions, open houses, events, backyard barbecues, you name it. Or I can come into this pulpit at nine o’clock and 10:45 on Sunday morning, and be prepared to preach the word. And I’ll tell you which one I’m going to do. And it’s not the first one. I mean, he just put everybody on notice that he’s not going to all their stuff. Now. You got to be smart with this. He had strength of leadership in that setting at that time. He didn’t do that on the second Sunday there.

Jonathan Hardy 7:01
Well yeah. After however many years…

Dick Hardy 7:03
He was able to communicate that. And so you got it. You’re sitting there in the congregation saying, “hmm, I guess.” But that was right. That was right. he communicated and set the expectations properly.

Jonathan Hardy 7:15
Yeah. And that might not be in a pulpit setting. It might be just with all the people that are your leaders, or maybe one on one where you tell someone, hey, this is kind of the boundaries we create for our family. And here’s why we do it. I think the why is always very important, because then people are like, oh, I get it. You know, and so that’s something to keep in mind.

Tip #4: Develop the Ability to Say No to Others

Jonathan Hardy 7:35
Then the fourth thing, the final thing is to develop the ability to say no to others. So this really comes on the heels of communication to people about your priorities, you have to then be able to say no, and that’s hard for people and for pastors and those that are very shepherd oriented in their mindset.

Dick Hardy 7:52
People pleasers!

Jonathan Hardy 7:53
Yes, it’s hard to say no. But if you haven’t made the decision to say no, mentally, before the opportunity comes, it’s gonna be a whole lot harder to say no. So that’s what you have to decide now. What are my priorities? What are my boundaries? And you coordinate that with your spouse too. And so that way, you guys are on the same page together, and you establish as a couple what those are, you have to make sure that your spouse is on the same page with you with all these things otherwise, you know, they may be wanting you to say no to certain things. But if you’re on the same page, and you’re saying yes to things, then that’s a slippery slope. And so you want to make sure that you are having those expectations and boundaries in place. And then you have the ability to say no, you have to say no, and it’s okay. Because your job is not to take care of them. Ultimately, that’s God’s job. You gotta help shepherd and guide, but you also have to make sure you stay faithful to your calling, which is you and your family.

Dick Hardy 8:56
Exactly, exactly. Well give us a recap, Jonathan, of that which we just talked about.


Jonathan Hardy 9:01
Yeah, so the four things we talked about are to avoid the us versus them mindset and mentality. The second thing is to determine first things first. Then you want to communicate the priorities to others. And then you want to develop the ability to say no. And when you do these things, this is going to help you get a better sense of that, quote, unquote, balance that you’re trying to accomplish between the family and with the people that you have in the church.

Dick Hardy 9:27
Exactly. You know, and to this end, we really encourage you to jump into the four secrets masterclass that Jonathan created here a couple of months ago. That really has been a an outstanding piece for pastors to help them think through their leadership. And he just delves into exactly four items that will help you in your leadership. And then when we’re talking about the leadership in the home and leadership of the church, so go to leaders.church/secrets, and you can jump in. It’s free to you, it’s about 57 – 58 minutes long. So jump right in and we hope you find it helpful. Certainly, we’d encourage you to follow us on social media as well. And subscribe to the podcasts on whatever platform you’re listening to it. We’d be honored to have you subscribe and rate and review us. And as we go forward, we pray that Church Tips continues to be a blessing to you. Thanks so much for hanging out with us today. Make it a great one, and be blessed.

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