Working in ministry can be exciting, inspiring, and exhausting. So it’s no surprise that in ministry’s everyday details there’s often one question that occupies our thoughts and, frankly, drives us to our knees: How do I make family life work in all this?

Marriage. Sermon preparation. Homework. Pastoral care. Activities. Project management. Groceries. Emails. Sleep. Housework. Emergency phone calls.

Time. To. Breathe.

When you combine the responsibilities of ministry life and family life, it seems like the perfect recipe for burnout or breakdown . . . or both.

My husband and I have two amazing daughters, ages seven and nine, and they are our ministry. We’re also pastors; we’ve served in the inner city and in the suburbs. I have written books and sometimes speak at conferences.

As our life and ministry change, and as our children grow, we’ve had to continually explore how to make family life work well. It’s been valuable to learn from friends and colleagues who’ve been trying to answer this question for decades with their children and grandchildren. My longtime friend Sally, mom of three and grandma of one, co-authored the book Family on Mission with her husband, Mike. In this book, they reflect on their lessons learned from 35 years of ministry:

We knew choosing between family or mission was not an option for us. But family and mission was exhausting as we tirelessly tried to keep family and our ministry in separate containers. Over the years we discovered what it means to be a family on mission, a covenant family moving as a pack with a kingdom purpose.

Family on Mission is more than a play on words. It’s the pattern of family life in ministry demonstrated by the greatest leader ...

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