Archives For Family

I Love You More Than Ministry

Ryan Egan —  February 14, 2012 — 6 Comments

Marriage and Ministry Blog Tour

“If you have to explain to your wife and children why you were gone again, and the explanation is ‘because of ministry’ – something is wrong.”

The words above, paraphrased from something a friend and pastor said during a short message I was able to hear last month, rocked me.  They didn’t rock me because I was necessarily falling into this problem, but because I knew I had that potential.

Ministry has the opportunity to consume.  This can be a good thing, in a way, when we are consumed with an overwhelming desire to see souls saved and those under our leadership equipped and encouraged.  However, it can be an incredibly dangerous thing when we are so consumed with ministry that it consumed our thoughts, time, resources, energy, and mental well-being.

For those of us who are married, and especially married with kiddos, being consumed with ministry becomes even more dangerous.

I’m not a pastor (yet?), so I can’t even begin to imagine the toll ministry takes on the marriage of a full-time pastor.  However, even the limited amount of time I spend as a volunteer leader in the church has sometimes created strain on my own marriage.  So how can this be defeated?  A few ways come to mind for me:

  • Always be consumed with God and His Word.  This is one thing where consumption will never be harmful. I have a long way to go hear, especially in modeling it to my family.
  • After God and His Word, be consumed with your spouse.  Invest in your relationship.  Ask if ministry is taking a toll on your marriage and be ready to hear, and accept, truth.
  • Show your children that you are consumed with God and with your spouse.  Then, love and invest in them.
  • Show your congregation that you are first consumed with God, your spouse, and your children.  Model a Biblical portrait of family ministry before church ministry.  Your ministry to your family is one of the highest ministries you can have.
  • Take a break.  This is completely acceptable and even necessary.

I love ministry.  But I love my marriage even more.  God, give me the strength and wisdom to keep it that way.

Question: How have you worked with your spouse to prioritize how your relationship is balanced with your ministry?

I spent the last three years working as the social media specialist for a prominent homeschool curriculum publisher.  I expected to have rewarding work.  I expected to do well at the job.  What I didn’t expect, was the immense amount of respect I would gain toward homeschool families and the immense amount of encouragement I would receive from them.

Let me tell you what homeschoolers aren’t:

  • Unsocialized – Kill this stereotype immediately.  The majority of homeschoolers I interacted with were easy to talk to, easy to work with, and had kids that could hold intelligent conversations with adults while still being able to play with infants and toddlers.
  • Behind the times – There are some incredibly tech and web-savvy people homeschooling their children.  To be honest, many were utilizing way more technology than the average family does.
  • Boring – In a word….no.  Many of these families do more in one year than many families do in an entire lifetime.
  • Lazy – Many people think that homeschoolers don’t work hard and just want to let their kids slide through education.  That is SO far from the case.  You would not believe the organizational skills everyone has and the immense concern for making sure their children are properly educated.

Let me tell you what homeschoolers are:

  • Smart, educated, and well-rounded.
  • No-holds-barred passionate about their family’s core values.
  • Hilarious
  • Resourceful
  • Pioneers
  • Loyal

I am so thankful that my eyes were opened to the benefits, values, and highlights of homeschooling.  If it’s something you’re considering, while it might be a fearful leap, you will not be disappointed and there is a vast support community available to you.

And, since I’m no longer with the company and I can say with integrity that this is a true shout-out to these people I’ve met and not a tactic to drive business, I wanted to thank some specific people for some specific things that they did for me while in the homeschool community:

  • Kris – Thank you for being brave and asking me to support you from the very beginning.  You paved the way for many good things to happen.
  • Amber – Thank you for showing me just how important real relationships with people, not customers, are.
  • Jenn – Thank you for your friendship, your support, your vision, your innovation, and your confidence.  Your friendship means more than you know.
  • Stef – Thank you for your no-nonsense approach to everything.  Don’t back down.  Ever.  (And thanks for constantly making me laugh!)
  • Jolanthe – Thank you for being a pioneer in the homeschool world and showing people what is possible for one single mom to do.
  • Erin – Thank you for your constant inspiration to raise your boys with godly values in a mostly God-less world.
  • Cheryl – Thank you for your patience and the stress you endured because of trying to get the 2:1 conference off the ground.  I truly hope you succeed beyond your imagination.
  • Linda – Thank you for your friendship, advice, joy, and being one of the best co-workers I’ve ever had (even though we were hours away!)
  • Ashley – Thank you for showing me what investing into a relationship can do.
  • Jamie – Thanks for your quiet, encouraging spirit and incredibly inspiring photography!
  • Meghan – Thank you for your confidence and trust in me during the early Hip Homeschool Moms days.  I’m so glad your efforts and reaping such immense benefits!
  • Samantha – Thank you for being so patient with me during technical glitches and vague communication during a homeschool contest!

Truly, homeschool moms and dads (and there are MANY more of you), thank you for teaching me.  You’ll never fully know the difference you made in my life.

Photo of Grandpa, age 90, at my daughter's 3rd birthday partyThis past Labor Day found us racing away from a relaxing visit to the zoo to dealing with the shock, grief, and preparation that comes with the passing of a dear, loved one.  My grandpa, who lived an incredible 91 years, passed away in his home.

Death is something that we tend to fear, the death of others and especially our own death.  I can honestly say that I’m not sure if I fear it or not.  Unfortunately, the thought of death is usually only thrust upon us in times like these, when we’re least prepared for it.  Although Grandpa was old, he was fairly independent and in pretty good health for his age.

My mind is inevitably drawn to thoughts of my own death.  Will I be ready?  Will I be afraid?  I’d like to think that, knowing what I believe, I can be completely free of fear from death.  But I’m not.  I’m afraid of the unknown, for even though Scripture has told us much about what lies ahead, there are still so many questions. Continue Reading…

We’ve been enjoying a lovely week at the AFLC (Association of Free Lutheran Churches) family camp this week.  I’ve been blessed with the privilege to lead worship and it’s going quite well!

Since I haven’t had much time to write or much of a connection I’ll point you to a couple places I’ve guest posted recently:

I’ve been part of Chris Vacher’s Summer Mix Tape here, writing about how God is using Let Your Kingdom Come in our church.

I also wrote on Ashley’s blog here, writing about living intentionally by faith.

What exciting things have you been doing this summer?

Couple holding hands for an engagement photo session

You remember it, don’t you?  You were head-over-heels in love with someone.  He or she was all you could think about and you wanted to do everything you could to make that special person feel incredibly loved.  You loved them so much that you took it to the point of marrying them.  Then life came.  Jobs came.  Kids came.  Arguments about this or that came.  The flame that was present dwindled into a spark and you’ve found yourself wondering how to start that fire again. Continue Reading…