Thursday, August 18, 2011

Marriage and Ministry

Do you believe the health of your marriage to be critical to the success of your ministry?

52% of people in ministry say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family's well-being and health.

45% of people in ministry feel they do not have the necessary skills as a couple to make their marriage last.

42% of people in ministry say that their spouses complain about their work schedule at least once a month.

Those in ministry are as likely to have marriage end in divorce as general church members.

AND YET.....

93% of people in the ministry feel their marriage is seen as a role model.

[Taken from Strong Marriage/Successful Ministry, by Sharon Hargrave.]

Wake-up call?!

No one (NO ONE!!!) is exempt from the hard work of making a marriage work.  Even those matches we think are made in heaven have to be daily lived out here on earth!  We all need someone to come along side us and walk with us and encourage us as we relate to our spouses.  Even those in ministry have this need.

Some simple ideas to encourage and strengthen the marriages around you:

1. Pray for others' marriages.  The blessings will be multiplied back to you.

2. Be a non-judgmental listening ear.  Sometimes you just need someone to say, "Yeah, we've been there.  You're going to make it."

3. Send an encouraging note or card.

4. Volunteer to babysit your friends' or pastors' children for free so they can get a night out!

5.  Or give them the gift of a night in: a delicious take-out meal, movie, popcorn, bubbly, etc. to enjoy after the children go to bed.

6. Pool your resources with other friends or church members to give your leaders a weekend away at a bed-and-breakfast.

7. Remember others' anniversary with a card, gift or call.

8. Look for ways to celebrate marriage and commitment!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Go Out of Your Way

How often do you go out of your way for others? How many times do we avoid a situation where we might be made a little uncomfortable or we would have to rearrange our schedule? I was just reminded again today the importance of reaching out to others. It is amazing how many hurting people, hurting marriages, and hurting families are right in front of us. How many marriages are in a crisis that shows up to church every Sunday hoping for others to reach out. Hoping that someone will take the time to get to know them. We all have the ability to be a listening ear. We may not always have the answer, but we can encourage one another or we can point them in the right direction. I realize we all lead busy lives. But we all need an encouraging word to get us through our struggles at times. My wife and I meet with a lot of couples and they all say the same thing that they wish they had people in their lives that they can be transparent with. To call in a time of need or to just hang out with. As a community of believer’s, I feel we can do a better job of caring for each other. A better job of carrying each others burdens. A better job of loving each other. Not just on a Sunday at church, but on a Monday, on a Tuesday, on a Wednesday, on any day of the week. I know there were times where I was selfish and I put me first before others. And there are times when you have to draw boundaries. But when you go out of your way for others, it lifts up the body of Christ. It builds community amongst believers. It allows us to do life together, to share the good times and the bad times. So I encourage you to go out of your way for others. It is an amazing feeling when you love on others. Let’s get out of our comfort zone and make time in our busy schedule for others. Let’s do what Jesus commands us, to love and serve one another as He has loved and served us.

Mark Soto