Boundaries & Balance Webinar

The ideas of boundaries and balance are often on the forefront of all of our minds. As life around us seems to speed up and the demands placed upon us increase, how are we to remain in a healthy place, settled, available, and focused on the priorities which the Father has called us to? In this Ministers and Wives Webinar, we look at key questions to ask and suggestions to consider when balancing Ministry expectations with our Family, our Work, and our Self. We also learn from the experiences of Bro. Frank and Sis. Kathy Sauder as they share lessons learned in the area of having healthy boundaries in ministry. (Please note: due to technical difficulties, the speaker videos will not show on the recorded webinar video above.)

Boundaries and Balance Webinar PPT


We’re thankful to be here. Matt is gathered with Brother Frank and Sister Kathy Sauder have joined us and are gonna be a couple that we interview tonight as we talk about the topic of boundaries and balance. And then myself and my wife Katie are here to share as well. Logistics for tonight, we’ll spend just a little bit doing some teaching and talking around a couple of concepts, and then we have some questions that we have pulled together based upon the questions that many of you submitted as you registered for this event. We have some questions that we’ll walk through with Brother Frank and Sister Kathy.

And as always, one of the things we really appreciate about these evenings is the opportunity for further dialogue and discussion. We view these always as discussion starters for your minister team and to continue, Frank and Kathy, thank you so much for joining us. When we thought about this topic, we thought about the concepts of boundaries and balance and ministry and how they so closely align with each other and how they’re so critical as you engage in the ministry that God has given us. Frank and Kathy, how long has it been for you in a ministry of one way, shape, or form? How long has it been? Kathy and I both went to Japan at different times. Later we got married. In the late eighties, I was put into the ministry in Japan, served the churches there and that was just a real special blessing to our young family. Had three boys there all from Japan there for about total of 10 years. Came back to the states, moved to Roanoke, and then a couple years I was in the ministry again. And I’ve been there ever since.

We thank you for taking time on this evening to join us. So as we think about the concept of boundaries and balance, they really go together. It’s hard to talk about one without the other. And, boundaries is a topic we talk about a fair amount. We’ve talked about it in different settings already.

This will be a little bit of a different slant on it. Tonight we’re gonna zero in on just three aspects of it because it’s a broad topic, hard to cover as a whole but it’s very hard to separate the idea of boundaries and balance from resiliency. It’s very closely tied to the concept of resiliency and how can we be resilient in ministry.

2 Corinthians 4 has this verse that’s very powerful. It’s a very simple verse. It’s very powerful. It says, therefore seeing we have this ministry. That’s a fact. There’s a ministry that we have received all of us on the call whether we’re a minister, a minister’s wife, an elder, an elder’s wife. We have received a ministry.

We’ve been charged by God. We’ve been charged by the church that we serve into a role of ministry. But then it says, as we have received mercy, we faint not. We are utterly and completely dependent upon the mercy that we receive to engage in this ministry. It pushes us into a place of stewardship where, in some ways, we are being called to steward the gifts, the resources, the mercy that we receive in a way so that we do not faint.

And Frank as you alluded in your prayer there were boundaries we saw. We see boundaries in the Scripture. You see boundaries with Jesus. There was times when he withdrew himself because of the limits placed upon him in his bodily form and his human form. He withdrew himself for communion with the Father.

There were towns that he went to and towns it seemed like he did not go to. There was times he left a town when there were still people coming that needed to be healed. And you see the same thing continue on with the disciples and the apostles and later accounts. We will always, it seems like, have more opportunity than resources. It’s a tension that we’re gonna have to lean into and talk about. Whenever we talk about resiliency or boundaries, it’s not a problem to be solved. It’s a tension to lean into. And I think you’re gonna sense that as we discuss this and talk about it. And I think what’s really healthy, or at least in my experience, what’s been very healthy for me is to have these discussions and to create opportunities to discuss and to talk through these concepts and to learn from each other.

And then one last point, and I’ll turn it over to you, Matt, inherent within this is an aspect of knowing yourself. Says a few times in the Scripture. Take heed unto yourself to heed to myself. Know who you are. Know your vents. As has been said, know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Know your gifts. Know where things come naturally.

Know where things are gonna be a little bit more difficult. And prayerfully use that in a way that’s stewarding that mercy that we’ve received so that we can engage in that ministry in a way we faint not. Matt, I’m gonna turn over to you and let you kind of take it into those three areas we wanna talk through.

First off here. Just as Arlan has mentioned, we’re gonna look at three different areas that we’re balancing. And there, I’m sure there’s more, but for the time here tonight we have these three different areas. We’ve got the area of work. In our denomination, we all have a job outside of our local church for the most part or have that responsibility elsewhere.

And so we have the work area that we are balancing with family and that it could be our wife and children and if we’re single, a family that we’re in or a group of friends that helps steward our lives as well. So there’s a group that we live among, that we’re responsible to. And then there’s our self, our personal self that we are balancing. And, when we talk here tonight about ministry, we’re really speaking about not only preaching, but all of that goes along with it. It might require some visitation or some counseling, some administration all of that is included in the term ministry.

So we’re gonna just focus on these three, different areas that we are balancing. And, as you think about your balance, balance is a give and take exercise. Even to stand on your two feet, your muscles are continually counteracting one another and shifting and moving yourself from one direction to another to maintain balance. And so we acknowledge that we’re not talking about here tonight how to do ministry without these things. In fact, we wanna cast the perspective is that we’re not asking how do I minister without self fake layer work? We’re actually asking, how do I minister out of myself, family, and work. So the perspective that we’d like to take here tonight is that these three things are not drag on ministry. In fact they’re very valuable for ministry, even though they do require balance and they do require boundary. So listen for that tonight. We’re gonna take each one separate now, and we’re going to have some questions that we could ask.

Considering that particular bucket, we’re gonna try to have some applications, some suggestions, and then listen again to how do we serve and how do we minister out of that particular domain, whether it be work, family, or self. So let’s go first to the family. I think this is what is on top of mind in a lot of us is how do I balance family and ministry and just some questions to consider here. I’m not solving anything, but more or less raising some questions with these. Has there been a neglect effect on our family? Now, what do we mean by a neglect effect? A neglect effect is simply if there has been a neglect of spouse or neglect of children, or in the case of singleness, a neglect of a core support group caused by my ministry.

And then what’s the effect of that neglect? Has it been all negative or has it been necessary? And so what we’re trying to do is raise the question and provide a lens for us to consider and think about ministry. Is there a neglect effect on the family? And what does that look like? Does it need to be mitigated?

Does it need to be thought about and discussed? Now, the second bullet is kind of the opposite. It’s not necessarily a void or a neglect, but it’s actually an expectation effect. So has there been an expectation effect on our family since Dad is a minister, or since Grandpa is a minister or there is some expectation now placed upon the family.

And so this is an effect that influences the family. And so two questions to consider as we move forward. Maybe I’ll ask Frank and Kathy, do those questions hit right? Yes. When I think of neglect effect on a family, I think as men it’s just a basic problem we struggle with no matter what we do.

Men tend to spend more time at their work, which of course demands that they had to spent eight hours a day there, but often when they come home, the children still see Dad enjoying or talking about work more than what he engages them. So this problem, I think, is compounded when it involves the ministry.

Not because the ministry is additional work, but the ministry is God’s work and children understand that God designed the family, so the expectation of the kids is Dad should be invested in the family. But if Dad neglects the family for the work of the ministry and favors that, or he feels like he gets more positive feedback there from the ministry and tends to neglect the kids, it has a more powerful neglect effect, I think, on children than actually a job would be. Yes. And almost unwinds that ministry purpose sense. Yes. Or unwinds what is the gospel? That ministry is about me. Is that what you’re saying? And I think children then can have a lot of bitterness toward church ,toward Christianity because they’ve been neglected. And they’ve been used in a sense, perhaps on the expense of that. That really leads us to our suggestion. Our first suggestion is to wisely wrestle and discuss the priorities of family and ministry. We’re always prioritizing. I think that’s part of what balance looks like, right?

It’s leaning this way, and then counteracting it, leaning this way. But it was given, it was raised to my attention. It’s so true. I have only given one vow. I’ve given a covenant and baptism. Okay? But I give one vow to my spouse. I’ve not given a vow to my job or even to diminish that has bound me in a way before God to responsibility.

And I think that’s really powerful. And as we think about the priority of family to nurture a spouse there, and then the second bullet there really speaks to that expectation effect. And that’s how separating church expectations from your expectation, from God’s expectation. And that can be sometimes a challenge to do for our children. Dad, is this an expectation you have? Is this expectation come down from, and when those get all mixed up, we have that potential. Am I right? And, what we want to do again, is to realize that family is not a handicap to ministry, but in fact, family should be an encouragement to ministry. And so here we want to encourage that minister out of your family, by having them your loudest gospel message, right? So out of my family, that is how I show that Jesus loves that way. That makes sense. Do other people look into my family life and say, Oh, that’s how Jesus lives.

That make sense? And sometimes that comes even difficult children so I take that expectation, right? I take that expectation that, well, my children need to be a certain way on what a powerful way to show Christ’s love, even to the prodigal in a sense. I don’t know if that makes sense or not, but what an opportunity to share the gospel, the family. Arlan, anything to add to this? I really appreciated, and what I heard there is the idea of the discussion being important. Give yourself permission to have a discussion about how are we doing as a family, whether it’s between spouse or with your kids. Let’s be able to talk about this. And, Katie and I were talking about this this morning in preparation, the idea to be proactive in it.

I just really feel like as a family, you are a family unit likely before you became part of a ministry team or a pulpit team. And, so you have core values already that people in your church likely responded and respected, and they’re gonna see that and they’re gonna honor that.

They’re gonna wanna, like Matt said, want that modeled as well and not want that broken down. And so asking yourself with your spouse, constantly going back and forth with calendars, like what’s ahead? Do we agree to this by saying yes to this? We’re likely gonna have to say no to something else.

So as a family unit, what does that look like? What are we prioritizing? And then how does ministry go alongside of that and out of our family how can we show that? Just looking ahead, looking to other venues to kind of share and to balance that is something that I think is wise, especially from a husband, wife team and having that conversation.

I would like Frank and Kathy to speak to as well the differences. The children are, some children get it, and that expectation doesn’t need to be spelled out so much and others don’t get it and come to different conclusions. That’s been my experience that since one of my children gets it, I kind of assume that I must be doing it right well enough that they all get it, and that’s not the case anyway. That is not the case. Is that square with your experience? Yes. Yes, very much. So to your point, discussion is helpful. The discussion is key in giving permission to have that discussion. And I would actually encourage, even amongst minister teams, I think there can be something really healthy about creating the environment where you can have that discussion.

And frankly hold each other accountable cuz there’s probably very few people in the church who are going to understand the unique pressures that you are under as the minister team is going to and looking out for each other a little bit. It can be a healthy thing. Let’s go on to the next one, Matt, if you would.

And let’s talk a little bit about work. Work and ministry, it’s a unique situation that sometimes we find ourselves almost putting on different hats, depending on what the different roles are. And I appreciate what you shared, Frank, eight hours a day, lots of times for most of us is what we are set aside to be in this place of employment.

And we put on our work hat. And then we come home and on the weekends or whatnot, then we have this ministry hat. And, sometimes we can draw too big of distinctions between that and realize that you never stop being a minister and sometimes your job never totally stops. But also realize that there’s a difference in the expectations you have to play as a career self and a difference you have expectations as a church self and sometimes God is using your work experience to grow you in different ways that can then be useful in the ministry. There are things that you will learn in the real life of work that are very powerful ministry components. And so thinking about that and realizing the differences between the work and the ministry self.

Now one piece that I think is interesting to think about, and it came up a little bit in some of the questions that were submitted ahead of time. If you find yourself in a retired spot or if you find yourself in a missions spot or in some type of employment that is very closely tied to ministry, it can be hard to separate out that work and that ministry hat. When do you stop now that you don’t have a work hat? And there’s great opportunity there. But then I think there can also be a balancing act that has to be played where you still can differentiate healthily between the two. So that leads to a few suggestions that is on there.

Let your work be a healthy escape from the stress of ministry. Now, read that carefully and think that through. But there is a blessing that you can sometimes remove yourself from the nonstop stress of ministry into a work environment. Frankly just recently when we entered into the ministry, just recently, an older retiring minister talked to me about that and counseled me in that.

And he said, one of your blessings with my specific situation is that you are tied into a place of ministry pretty much nonstop. But one of the challenges I can see is that when are you ever going to be able to turn it off? When do you stop doing that? And it’s a tension that Katie and I have to wrestle with.

And, I appreciate Frank, what you said. If I’m not careful, I’ll come home and it’ll be about work and it won’t be about the kids or family or whatnot. Matt, any thoughts or any things that come to your mind or Frank and Kathy, feel free to jump in here too.

Well, I’d love Frank, what was your career? Speech therapist. Did you find any sort of relief in that as separated from? Yes. What’s really interesting, I become elder. I have retired, but my boss talked to me about coming back, working two days a week, and I’m doing that now and I do find it that those two days I go into work is relaxing.

Really, yes, it is. It has its own stress, but it different type and so kind of alternating between the two. It keeps my foot in the real world to know that the world is still functioning, is still going forward. I think real world is what I was thinking too, Arlan, you may have dropped that term.

Real world. And I see, people want to know that we’re relevant if we understand the world that they live in. I know as an educator, my students would challenge me on being in the real world. And you know what? They’re right. I can teach mathematics in a very abstract way where it doesn’t really touch their real test.

And that makes sense. And we can do that as ministers as well be so theoretical that it like, seems to make sense to work on Sunday at 10 o’clock. But you know, one day at 10 o’clock is another thing. But, what you’re saying is that real world time. One point with that, Matt, that kind of comes up to this practical point, just this idea of priorities.

We’ve used that term already. How do you balance your priorities? Because some of us will have a tendency to lean the needle towards the work world, and some of us will have a priority and maybe lean the needle towards the ministry world or frankly towards the family world and it’s gonna be a constant tension trying to figure out where do I set my right priorities?

One thing I think that is you can always tell what your priority is by the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night. What is kind of burdening you kind of on your mind right there. If you find that it’s always work or you find that it’s always ministry or you find that it’s always, whatever, it’s probably not as healthy as it sometimes will ebb and flow and flex. Sometimes there will be intense work environments. Sometimes there will be intense ministry environments. That’s what it is.

We even see this fascinating example in the Scripture where Paul took time to be a tent maker, and I just wonder what was going through his head when he sat down there in Macedonia and made tents. I’d have to think there was probably a relaxing component to that, there was a kind of a mindless, let’s make this happen type thing. I think it’s a healthy concept to chew on a little bit. And so there in Nirvana, we say minister out of your career. And I think this can be a very optimistic way to view your career and your work. That’s the place where you apply the Scriptures and where the Scriptures come and the rubber meets the road, you might say.

And out of that career, we modeled the Bible works in real life which I think is wonderfully redemptive. Should we move along, Arlan? Yeah, go for it. Okay. So the next one is the balancing self in ministry. The questions that we might ask ourselves is, am I the agent and the Bible the subject, or is the Bible the agent and am I the subject? Now, this is a little bit kind of play on words, but if you think about as I take a mathematics book, for example, The mathematics book is always the subject, I am the agent. I act on it. I understand it. It might be Shakespeare, it might be a geography book, it might be a history book, but we have that mentality that I study it.

And as ministry, we can very much have that same mindset that here’s the Word of God. Now I’m gonna act on its subject. I am gonna understand it, break it down and we need to do that and it has its place. But when we think about self, the Scriptures now come above us and we are now the subject. And the Scriptures are the agent that acts on us as ourself and that’s a very freeing place to be, I think, when all of a sudden the responsibility of being the agent is now left for the Word to be and I now am inspected by it. And a lot of the words that change. That’s right. It’s, for me, I can totally tell when the Word is open on my lap, which way it is. It really is clear to me.

But it’s a wonderful place perhaps that helps that balance itself. Allow that very freeing exercise that the Scriptures could act on me and not me on the Scripture. So, the second bullet there is what nurtures your spirit, fills you with delight.

This is really speaking to just self care. Frank, what nurtures your spirit fills you with delight? What do you, what self reparative things do you do?

Perhaps the greatest thing that I do that kind of invigorates me or gets me started is, I never used to be a morning person, but I am now because when the kids started coming there was no quiet time except early in the morning. And my wife likes to sleep in and most of our kids would like to sleep in when they were younger.

And so getting up early before the rest of them, making myself coffee, and just spending time in prayer, in Scripture, thinking about the day, meditating on his Word, was just a good way to start the time. I will mention that I had this habit, but the problem is, that’s what it was saying was a habit.

And I can remember one day, one of my kids woke up earlier than expected and invaded my time and I was really upset and I realized, wait a minute, if this is the time I’m digging where God is speaking to me, but I am responding in flesh to my child out of frustration that he’s awake, it’s like this is a whole focus.

God has given me an opportunity to hold the kid on my lap and nurture him a little bit in that. That reminds me when I was just early in the ministry, I had a minister and brother ask me a question. He says, Matt, so you’ve got young children and you are there with your Bible open. You’ve got a child that comes and tugs on your sleeve. What do you do? Well, I thought I read the Word and I stay with the Word and he quickly told me, no, you have Word time and you pay attention for the child. I’ll never forget that. But to your point, all of a sudden we have ownership of that. Sister Kathy. if I could break in, Sister Kathy, what delights and fills your soul and is it different than your husband’s?

Oh, let’s see. It is a little different. Yeah, I too have to take, it has become a priority to spend time with the Lord. Of course, if that falls apart, everything else falls apart. But, I need time to think and to process, so I enjoy going for walks and doing that. It really energizes me and helps a lot.

And, I’m happy to talk with someone to process things through. That helps a lot too. I enjoyed reading good books too. I’m glad that Kathy mentioned that too, because, healthy self are not ultra spiritual activities, right. Deep scriptural meditation and memorization, all of that. Taking a walk, reading good literature enjoying good music. These are things that God has created us and in our frame really resonate with pleasure, don’t they? And are very restorative. So yeah, those are excellent examples. Some suggestions as we think about. Then, let go of your guilt list and grab hold of God as a suggestion. Here I was told just recently, as we were preparing for this, I had a conversation with an elder brother, and he mentioned I’ve learned to let go of my guilt list and he went on to explain, to say, I always have one more person that I really feel bad that I haven’t talked to and haven’t connected with. And an email that, if I really think about it, man, oh wow. I feel bad that I haven’t sent that one yet and I haven’t even written it. And, he just says that he has come to understand that there is always one more guilt item on his list.

And he has learned to let go of the guilt list and to loose those to God if it’s gonna happen, if that email gets sent or if God’s going do it. I don’t know if you could relate to that with that point, Matt, I really appreciate that point. I mean that inherently is gonna require sometimes saying no.

Or saying no to a possibility of something. Frank and Kathy, can you speak to that? In your experience how have you learned to say no? Is there any tips or things or gauges you use to kind of sense when it’s time to say no to something versus saying yes to something. One of the things that Kathy and I did, this was early on in our marriage, when the kids started coming and that, it’s after the ministry then just we got away and we spent time thinking through our family mission statement and coming up with one, and I won’t go into what that is, but in developing it, we set a list of priorities. And those priorities we felt were based on God’s calling and first it is God that called us into an individual walk with him, and we each remember those times when he called us and we responded and repented. And then he called us into marriage and then he blessed us with children. So we were called into parenthood, and then he calls us into the ministry and we always felt that those callings have to be kept in that order. If you lose the first calling, everything else falls apart. And if you lose your focus on your family and it involves in the ministry, you end up like Eli and Samuel did with their families. And so it gave us kind of a priority, a kind of a filter to when to say no, when to say yes. And those are sometimes hard positions, especially when the kids were younger and people would ask, Can you do this? Well, yes I can. But sometimes those things were at a cost with the family, and so we said, No. And at least you could take that request and pretty well put it on whatever level that was, right?

And with each of those callings, there’s a responsibility with what I heard, there’s a responsibility to maintain that, whether it be your own personal, spiritual life, your marriage, your children, ministry. Right? And because they are callings, they do not have to be in conflict with one another.

A calling to the ministry is not, sometimes it’s a conflict with my family or with my wife. If they are callings of God, then they should not be a conflict, but it’s having that balance in knowing what it is. Have you ever, I’m gonna put you on the spot here, one said yes and the other one said, are you kidding? Something that we did too early on is decided that I would always err on the side of the children when we had to make a decision between a couple different things. Frank sometimes doesn’t have a choice. He doesn’t have that luxury to be able to do that. But we decided that when there’s a choice to be made, if I had to choose and balance one or another, that I would go and err on the side of children.

So that was a discussion where you both came up to that agreement. That’s a very articulate thing to say you err on side of. And so if we would come to a place where we do have different opinions, we would filter it through that too. If there’s a place where we do need to err, did that ever send you in two different trajectories?

I’m not talking long term here. Yeah. I’m just talking about this. Oh yeah. Yeah, big time. That I would take off and go and Kathy would be going somewhere else. Yeah. Or meeting a need, be sure. Yeah. There was another thing that I wanna bring now that I picked up at our last Illinois Minster Meeting that was really good. And that was if there are other people that can fulfill the responsibility then defer to them. He gave an illustration of he had made a promise to be with his daughter for an afternoon or something for a meeting in that and got a call to do a VBS. Well, nobody else can be a father to that daughter, but there’s a lot of other brothers that can do a VBS. And sometimes looking at things in that framework helps.

Arlan, Katie, anything to add to, Have you ever said a no and regretted it? Yes, there is one that comes vividly to mind because I’m assuming you’re like most of us, right?

I mean, we all have those experiences, but if you would share, I’d appreciate it. Just for the context. All our children live away from home. We’re empty nesters now. But, everybody was home and they were home just for a few days and Kathy and I had made a deliberate decision that everything that came in, if I got a phone call, it was gonna be, no.

We were spending time with our kids, and someone called and there was a need, and I said, I’m sorry. Can’t come. And then I talked to Kathy about it and God just really convicted our heart that I needed to respond. And what was beautiful though was she has always been the protector of the family, but she sensed, she saw my willingness to commit to the family, but now she sees this need and she is saying you need to do that.

And I called the person back in about 10 minutes, I guess, and said I’ll be there. And, it was the right thing I needed to be there. It was a situation. But that initial, no I was not gonna reconnect. That I said that. And, essentially a result. But I see the situation working out so well because of the conversations you had in this regard, right?

That you’re gonna err on the side of the children. You understood that you were thinking about these filters, this question’s coming in here when I’m already prioritizing my family here. Therefore, the default answer is no, but that doesn’t mean some discussion if that was right and that was changed.

Go ahead Frank. Sorry. No, I was gonna say afterwards I left, I dealt with the situation. I came back home and he provided a good interaction with the kids and the family at that point too. Being open with them and sharing. Anyway, a beautiful piece. Yeah, a beautiful piece to tag along with this discussion piece between spouses and then serving our congregations is that example that Frank and Kathy gave of what nurtures their spirit.

There was a self setting aside of Kathy in order for Frank to have that quiet time in the morning of taking care of children or getting the household ready, that type of thing. And likewise, there was a setting aside for Frank in order for Kathy to get her walk in or to get that good book read or something like that.

So there’s that mutual, what does it take to support my spouse in ministry to nurture. And that would be an example in the self category here tonight. But there’s many in the family where turning toward yourself, turning towards, your pulpit team, that type of thing is a great example of the balance.

That brings up to me, Matt, this next point here where it talks about this rhythm. I always really like that word rhythm, it speaks to this knowing yourself and what is the rhythm of your life. We all at least some are, me, maybe, we get into these patterns and these rhythms and we start to get really regimented if we’re not careful.

And they can be really healthy, or frankly, they can be really unhealthy at times. And so having this sense of what your rhythm of your life is, are you in that rhythm? Having time for communion with God, having time for discussion with your spouse, with your relationships, and realizing that they will ebb and flow, there’ll be stressful times.

But as long as they’re balanced with less stressful times, that’s the key. If you find that rhythm being always at red zone, that’s not healthy. And that’s where you’re gonna start to see some longer term issues in situations. And just like before, the point that we wanna make tonight is that in ministry we minister out of this healthy self and out of our personal self care and our solitude of Christ, let that be the generator of every good work out of our self care remodel.

Christ is Savior and we are not savior. I think that is made most clear in the solitude in this time, and what an important, how can we minister without that as our list anyway. And this very often makes that point.

Arlan, what questions, as you think through. Some that have been offered as we think just about this whole balancing act and including all three of these things. And, feel free to chat in some more questions if they’ve come to your mind as we’ve talked here for the last 45 minutes. But, Frank and Kathy, I wonder if you could just speak to a lot of the questions really balanced around what is the impact you’ve seen on this family that the ministry has brought?

What impact has the ministry brought up on the family? It can be positive, it can be negative. What have you seen and what have you learned and what can you share with us as to how to mitigate that or how to navigate that impact that you might ministry might have on the family?

This Thanksgiving all the kids were able to come home. And, we asked them that question or question similar to that. How did they feel about us being in the ministry and how did that impact them? Did they view that negatively? I was really humbled by the response that they felt that the expectations that Kathy and I placed on the family were our expectations as Dad and Mom, and they did not feel that we felt expectations because there were concerns they had to conform to certain things, and I think that it’s really important for children to know because the family was there before the church ever was, and we always try to make a point of never telling children, you have to do this. We gotta say that the reason why we do it is because this is what, how God speaks to our life, and this is our role as parents and our responsibility to you as children. And I think if we place the expectation, well, we’re in the ministry and you have to respond in a certain way.

Children can have a lot of bitterness toward the church and for Dad and Mom, because what they want, is Dad and Mom, they don’t want me to give a minister answer. They want a Dad answer because that’s their relationship with that’s said though one of our children did say that the expectation thing is very real.

While they didn’t feel it from us, they did feel expectations transmitted through child and the need to be an example. And I didn’t realize that he dealt with that as much as he did. And looking back, if I would’ve been aware, I wish we would’ve had discussions to help him come to a healthy spot with that, to express the expectations he was feeling.

And I wish I would’ve done better job of that. What kind of question, what would be a good stem, or what would be a good question to ask if you were to go on 20 or whatever it would be, how do you think you might pursue that? I’m just trying to think as we all can think of children or like maybe I need to have this conversation with so and so.

Maybe. We’re just out the little, we’re usually pretty open and get right to the point with our kids. So I probably don’t start saying thinking about being a ministry child. I’m just wondering, do you ever feel expectations because of that? I’d probably be pretty direct and jump right into it.

That’s good. Excellent. Each child is so unique. It’s not all of our children said that but some of them did. How did you, in the moment, how did you keep each other accountable to that? I really appreciate the idea of the family mission statement and just being very proactive, but then in the heat of the moment, how did you keep each other accountable to that?

Any thoughts that you can think about as you reflect back? A lot of times it was were in a crisis mode and realized, oops, we stepped out of this filter and this is why we’re here and we need to get back. One of us was just remind the other. It was great to have that there as a tool. Be able to remind each other.

Need to step back into it again. And I think that’s a key piece here too. I appreciate that. Just this idea of how relationships we need to keep each other accountable to that. And that’s the role that in a resiliency type discussion. You cannot have a resiliency type discussion without having relationships with some type, whether it’s a spouse relationship or good friends or family members, or frankly, as I said before, the minister team themselves helping to keep each other accountable to what those priorities and values are.

It’s easy to get off kilter just a little bit, those impacts will compound then. Matt, any other questions you have for, well, I saw somebody chatted in with a very worthwhile question. And that is when Jesus, it would seem kind of turns away from his family there.

You might remember, Jesus, your mother and your brothers and your sisters are here. And then he goes on to say, who are my mother or my brothers and sisters? But these people, right. It would look as though Jesus turns right to the church. Challenging. Very good question, but thanks for being on here, Frank.

Appreciate you taking that one. Is there a larger message Jesus was saying in that moment, rather than being a pattern for how Mom than Dad should treat their kids. I think Jesus is also Savior. That’s one example in Scripture. But the other example that I see in Scripture that kind of provides this tension is that God has chosen all family terms to define the body of Christ.

And he was the one who designed the family. And he designed the family before he ever designed corporate worship. Corporate worship, in the Scripture didn’t come along until Moses and the family is the basic social unit. And I see that as being just very important to God and cannot cheat on nor be neglected.

Yeah. And I think I understand what Christ was saying and what he said is very important for us as a part of a body of Christ, that he cares about us as a body and I care about my brothers and sisters, but I have also my responsibility to my children, and I am commanded of God to nurture them in his ways and my responsibility to my wife.

And I’ve seen people in the ministry. Or missionaries who have neglected their spouse and their family, or the Word to hurtful ends. I thought too, for Jesus, even to make that comment though, really means that he thinks a lot of family because he says you all are that. We don’t know what he did right after that.

He probably went out to eat with his family. He could have, but he was making a point in that moment, a very clear point to everybody watching. That, yes, as special as my mom and brothers and sisters are. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s how special you are. I think he’s borrowing that term in a sense because family was divine and special and God ordained.

He used it to explain and even though it comes off this poo pooing Mom. It wasn’t, I don’t believe. But it’s a tremendous, wonderful question. I appreciate that chat in because I think those are the things we have to think through. So, Matt, we have about five minutes or so left.

I’d like to watch our time a little bit, but I would really love to hear from Frank and Kathy one more time. Just a simple question. Can you share with us just ways that you have seen the ministry bless your family? I think sometimes these talks can take almost a more of a difficult tone or a tension filled tone, right? But where have you seen the ministry bless your family over the years? I’m glad you asked That’s a really good thing. I think one blessing is that, as parents, we often try to find ways for our children to serve. We want them to develop servant hearts and have that be a part of their character in their lives.

And we have so many natural opportunities that we’re just left and called to. We don’t have to go out and find things. We can include ’em in our ministry and so many different opportunities that we have, and that has been a real blessing I think.

And also I think our kids have found the blessing of being, they’ve understood the importance of commitment to the body and to serving in the body, and it’s really been special to watch them now that they’ve all gone out, become parts of other congregations to see them plug in and become active. So I think being involved in the ministry is an added way to be able to get that message across.

They have a front row seat of sorts. Right to footage. You good? I’m sorry, what? That they get to see how the body functions up close. It’s also helped us to have conversations with them that we would not have thought of to have had with them. Times, let’s say where I am preparing a topical study or a VBS, talking to my kids and getting their input. There’ve been the elder forms sometimes asking them what do young people think about this and having them speak into that. And some of those questions I wouldn’t have asked ordinarily to them. And I think in that process they also get a better idea who we are as a denomination. I appreciate that. And I’ve heard before and I know you would attest to this you as well, Matt, the body is a beautiful thing and you cannot outgive the body over and over again.

I know we personally have experienced where the body has been a blessing to ourselves and to our family already. And, it’s exciting to see that. And, I think God is pleased to see just those pieces come together. Any last thoughts, Matt, that you’d wanna share or pieces of best?

I really don’t, thank you, Frank and Kathy. Really, really enjoy this is, it’s been valuable because your contribution, so I appreciate it. Likewise, wanna just thank you so much for being with us. We’ll sign off for the night.