Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Blind spots are subtle, not easily detected in the busyness of life. They can be harmful although unseen at the surface, kinda like termites in your house. So let’s expose a blind spot or two that might be lurking in your church.
Here are 4 blind spots your church needs to be aware of as she reaches and ministers to families:
- Busyness bug.
Somewhere along the way we adopted this attitude that more is better. “The more the merrier” puts us on this treadmill of activity. Church leadership adds programs and extra studies to the church calendar because they can. And the sheep will follow along, dutifully giving another night to this or that church “special ministry.” The result: another night – or series of nights – away from the family.
There is nothing wrong with an occasional special study; however, someone needs to look at the big picture and balance what the church in total is offering its people. Leadership should ask from time to time, “Are we tearing away at the family structure with all we are pushing at our people?”
I like to play piano. (Jazz is my favorite.) A piano teacher once told me that “less is more” with chords. I do not have to play all ten fingers on a chord just because I can. When I took a few notes away from the chord it came to life! The sound was so much clearer. A whole new chord voice was heard!
One alternative would be for your church to calendar and promote family night. No church activities, no program, no event – just time with the family. Ideas for what to do on family night can be provided of course, but the body of Christ sometimes needs to let the family be the family.
As a church sometimes less is more. Sometimes the ministry can “sound” clearer when the calendar is not jam-packed with stuff. Proper monitoring of the quantity of activity we offer our people is critical.
- The preying church.
Volunteer leadership is often scarce in churches. Many times there are more slots to fill than people. So we spread people thin… too thin at times. When someone agrees to take this role, then that role, it is tempting for the church to pile on more and more for the yes person. Burnout is often the lasting effect on such a person, thereby affecting the family.
This is not intentional, preying on the yes person. Churches rely heavily on volunteer leadership and understandably so. However, the fallout is real. I’ve seen marriages deeply affected by over-commitment of people who can’t say no. The individual has a responsibility but so does the church to not exhaustively involve one person in leadership.
Let’s be a praying – not a preying – church. Expose this if it has happened in your church. The training of others can be the antidote for this blind spot.
- Celebration famine.
Some churches often miss the opportunity to recognize milestone moments in its families. Major family moments like births, baby dedications, graduations, college transitions, weddings, and wedding anniversaries are all markers in family life that can be celebrated by the church.
I especially love celebrating 50th wedding anniversaries as a way to both honor older adults but to also honor marriage. Sometimes interviewing these couples provides the best opportunity to celebrate and to teach on God’s faithfulness over the years.
Avoid the celebration famine. Let your church be the one that celebrates family as a way of building up and encouraging the church.
- Staff grip.
Often the grip a church has on its pastor and staff is way too tight. Accountability is necessary of course but micromanaging is another thing.
Be gracious with your pastor and other ministers. Pay them a good salary as well as providing adequate time off for retreats and vacation time. Encourage your pastor and ministry staff to take time off. If necessary, insist on it.
The benefits? For your staff, their family life can grow. Ministry families carry an extra set of burdens and stresses on them and their families need special attention. Give them the time they need to recharge and replenish those relationships. The benefits for the church? When a pastor or minister’s family is healthy, it will provide a multitude of blessings for the church including a pastor who will guard and promote the healthy families in the church.
God established marriage and families as well as the church. The church is the bride of Christ! Celebrating families can bring honor and glory to God. Let’s remove the blind spots so this can happen more effectively.