In just three short days I will be married. It blows my mind even thinking about that. Thankfully God has blessed me with a beautiful, loving, kingdom minded, missions focused, hungry for social justice, gospel loving woman to marry. I am truly blessed. Yet one of my biggest fears is that I will let work aka ministry hurt my marriage. I can stray towards being a workaholic, school-aholic, or even a ministry-aholic. I need to guard myself. So its timely that I came across this book called The Pastor’s Family by Brian and Cara Croft…..
Here is the problem:
The pastor and his family tend to face pressures that span a number of professions.” – up at crack of dawn, serve and protect others, witness pain and suffering, work long hours. (pg. 9)
Here is what the pastor needs to do:
“The pastor needs a lot of help to think clearly about his life, priorities, and well-being.” (pg. 10)
Here is where the book comes in:
This is a book written for men who have answered the call to serve the church of God as preachers, teachers, leaders, and shepherds…. How do you faithfully serve the church while serving your family? (pg. 13)
How to balance ministry and family….
Wait I got that wrong, it shold say How to prioritize family over ministry. Prioritizing family over ministry is something they don’t teach you in seminary and the sad truth is that there aren’t a lot of good models to learn from out there. In fact there are tons of stories about the bad examples. Some of the most famous pastors/preachers/missionaries weren’t great husbands: Whitefield, Wesley, Carey, and Barth (just to name a few).
Thankfully Brian and Cara Croft have written a book to help people like me, those are struggling or might struggle to keep family their priority.
The book is broken up into three parts
- The Pastor’s Heart
- The Pastor’s Wife
- The Pastor’s Children
In part one Brian gets to the core of our problem: our hearts. Why do pastor’s struggle with neglecting their families? Its probably because they are seeking approval from others, trying to look good, wanting to be successful, desiring to be significant, trying to keep up with other’s expectations. In other words they struggle with a sinful heart. They (we) look to people and our accomplishments to fulfill our deepest heart desire, at the cost of neglecting our family. Neglect of family shows that we don’t get the gospel. We may be able to verbalize the gospel, but we haven’t internalized it. We haven’t really grasped that we are justified, accepted, and loved. We need to know the Gospel!
In part two Brian and Cara share their wisdom about doing ministry while married. I learned so much about how a pastor’s wife feels. She will probably deal with unrealistic expectations from the congregation, she might have to struggle with loneliness, she might feel overlooked or overshadowed by her husband, she might deal with the pain of having people talking behind her back, and she will also have to balance ministry and family. Thankfully Brian offers some practical tips for taking care of your wife. He tells us to encourage her, disciple her, and pray for her. Basically love her like Christ loved the church.
I loved this section so much that I am going to buy a paper copy and give it to my soon to be wife.
Part three is about kids. I don’t have kids so I will skip this section, but basically there is a chapter on the dad’s role in shepherding your kids, a chapter on shepherding your kids together, and a chapter on neglecting your kids.
- Great discussion questions for the husband and wife
- An insightful chapter into the mind of a pastor’s wife
- Candid reflections on the each of the three subjects written by other people with ministry experience
- A very transparent reflection on dealing with depression as a pastor’s wife
- A section giving advice to guys who will soon become pastors
- There were no real shortcomings… the only thing is that I wish it had a section for young guys who are doing ministry and are about to get married. Basically people in my own position!
This book is timely. I’m just starting out working full time in ministry and I am about to get married. I can definitely see myself going through this book with my wife. I highly recommend any pastor, missionary, seminary teacher, volunteer ministry leader go through this book with his wife. It can only help to strengthen your marriage and make you a more effective couple for the kingdom.
Note: I received this book free of charge through NetGalley and was under no obligation to give a positive or negative review.