How do you Balance Church with the Demands of a Family?

What’s up guys, Jeff and Jeremy here back with another episode of Five Minute Fatherhood. Today is a fun and interesting question that we actually get a lot, especially we stop talking about family teams and the mission and discipleship. And the question is essentially how do you balance then church with the demands of a family? Now, I can only speak from our perspective with toddlers, younger family and all that. And to me, what I would encourage people with is, man, we love the church, the body of Christ gathering together as the big corporate capital F family of God. But from the volunteering standpoint and from the machine standpoint, I think there’s an enormous amount of pressure from the American church for you to kind of… The ladder of being a good Christian kind of usually ends in you serving or volunteering at the church.

When I think just sometimes that feels a little bit more like a short game, usually because a lot of us have been a part of more program driven churches and volunteering at church just tends to feel nothing more like just kind of serving the programs. It doesn’t feel a ton like discipleship. And now, of course, that’s a broad ranging stroke. I know a ton of churches, speak at a ton of churches that do a great job at discipleship. Hopefully you hear what I’m saying. But what I would say the thing that’s really helped us and actually taken off a lot of burden and pressure from us, is playing the long game. And what I mean by that is to make disciples of all nations. Now, I believe as a family, the primary way I can do that as a father is to disciple my own kids over 20 years, before they get sent out into adulthood.

And then we can then go out and at least, we’ll still be on mission before then, but go out on a different level of mission once we’ve kind of built the team for two decades. And so to me, I just feel like that’s the long game of like I think we can actually make better and more disciples in our city, in our neighborhood, if I am putting the lion’s share of my energy at the table in the home, with my family and with my marriage. I’m not trying to be insular, I’m not trying to not serve in the corporate church, it’s just to me I actually believe the ROY will actually be bigger and better if I do that. If I do that more than just going and serving on a Tuesday night class. And so for me that’s a really, really big deal.

And so that kind of relieved a lot of pressure and burden from us, of like I actually think I’ll have a bigger world impact if I can concentrate on this nucleus over a long period of time, not just serve at a class. And so, if you can do both, I think you go ahead. I think that’s great. Some people are equipped to teach and do that and train and volunteer. But I know for me, once I kind of sat in that discipleship of the family home, at least in this season, I don’t feel like I have the bandwidth or capacity to do much past that. But I do feel like I’m doing, serving the church in that sense by doing that. I don’t know if that makes sense, but what would you say Jeremy?

Yeah, I think that’s a big deal. That’s a really good point. Also, you guys, one of the things that is challenging to figure out and one of things that kind of helped me, there’s a guy named, I think Rob Rienow, he wrote a great book on visionary parenting. He kind of introduces this idea of jurisdictions and one of the things that’s really confusing right now, he points out, is that the church line and the family line is really blurred. We can’t quite figure out whose responsibility is what because part of it is just the family is so weak that the church sort of, it takes up a lot more responsibility. So, is it the church’s job to disciple my kids or is it the family’s job? What about discipling the people that are in my life? Does my family do that as a team or do we take them to church and do that as a full church community?

And so he just talks about how blurred these are. And he’s got a great example in there where he says you would never want the pastor to discipline your child, right? There’s a real clear jurisdiction line that everybody knows. Every father listening to this knows, “Hey, that’s my job. I want to do that. I want to be the one to do that. I don’t want somebody else doing that.” But we’re not clear about… One of the things we do let sometimes other church leaders do is basically cast a vision for my entire family’s spiritual life. And so this really gets to the question of is the church one family or is it a family of families? Clearly it is God’s family, but should we be coming to church as family teams or should we be going to church as individuals that are all trying to become a part of some much larger thing, and to get there, we have to separate and basically dissolve our family units.

So, there’s some big ideas there. I really like serving as a family. And so one of the things that really I want to try to hold the line on is what are things we can do together? And if you want us to sort of separate as individuals, if you want me, as a dad, to abdicate kind of the vision for my family to the vision of the church, those are sort of pretty bright lines for me that I don’t really want to cross. I feel like that might be a jurisdictional mistake. So, those are some ideas. That probably doesn’t resolve everything, but there’s not a lot of pushback coming from the family side into some of the demands or asks that are being made of a lot of people by various ministries and churches. And so that’s just something to think about. How do we as families really make sure that as dads, we are casting a vision for our family and not abdicating that to others.

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