Enable families to take a larger role in church.

Churches and pastoral staffs need to face the fact that two-thirds of all families today have two breadwinners, not one. These families face special problems as they juggle the demands of jobs, family life, and commitments to the church. They simply do not have the flexibility of other families.

Tight schedules allow them little time for dealing with their children’s school problems, sibling altercations, or even a child’s illness. In addition, although they want to serve the church, sometimes such people are too drained by their own concerns to do so. These two-paycheck families, who often feel isolated by the problems peculiar to their lifestyle, need the support and encouragement of the church. Here are some ways the church might help them.

Promote awareness of the two-paycheck family’s time and energy stresses. We are all busy and must make constant choices about priorities, but time and energy for two-paycheck families are constantly at a greater premium. The relentless focus on two paying jobs contributes to this. So does the fact that most of the same work still has to be done at home. As a result, adults from two-paycheck families may consistently arrive at church or committee meetings feeling drained. They need to know that the church understands the level and quality of involvement they can contribute.

• Encourage flexibility of meeting times. The worship committee in one church used to meet at noon; new people on the committee have different schedules, so it now meets in the evening. Noon may be a good time for Bible studies and support or prayer groups to meet. A meeting over a sack lunch after church on Sunday or for breakfast on a weekday sometimes works well. ...

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