5 Ways to Pastor Your Family Flock

Your family is your first church plant. Here's how you can invest in your household as you share your love for the Lord and the joy of His church.

From Your Home to the House of the Lord

Pastoring and shepherding your family is a good proving ground for your calling to pastor a church. On the other hand, if you don’t care well and intentionally for the souls under your own roof, you’re likely not to care for your neighbor’s soul as well.

In 1 Timothy 3:5, Paul seems to share this belief when he says, “If someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s church?”

To Shepherd Them Well

Becoming a pastor to your family is ultimately a test of your credibility and suitability for pastoring a church. Home is the hardest place to live consistently. To live a life that pleases God and displays the good fruits given by the Holy Spirit in your own home is very challenging. Our deepest relationships are with members of our own family. Family relationships produce stress, pain, and joy. These emotions are unmatched in any other arena of your life. And frankly, these are the most critical people you will ever pour into.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to allow the stress of planting churches to distract us from the primary task of being a good pastor at home. Here are a few priorities that can help you shepherd your family well in this work God has called you to.

1. Blend Over Balance

The first concept is to choose blend over balance. There seems to be an agreement that pastors must keep a healthy balance between family and ministry in order to be successful in both places. The problem is that two items as weighty as family and ministry are very difficult to balance. What would happen if you stopped trying to balance the two and started trying to blend them? The more that we can blend family and ministry, the less we will be forced to choose between them.

Why don’t you start imagining family and ministry as two very important spheres in your own life? Find age-appropriate ways to involve your family in ministry and involve ministry in your family, and you will enjoy time with both.

2. Put Family First

A second concept is to give your family the utmost priority in your schedule. One of the unique privileges of your role as a church planter is the ability to leverage your schedule for the benefit of your family. You can align your ministry and family calendars and be able to accomplish the work of ministry. Consider bringing your son or daughter on a ministry outing or including your child in ministry projects that he or she may be interested in. Sometimes that means studying at home and being close by or bringing your family with you on a ministry outing.

Utilize your schedule’s flexibility in order to prioritize the ones who matter most.

3. Utilize One-on-Ones

Thirdly, you should consider spending one-on-one time with family members. It’s common for ministry families to feel as if their dad cares more about the members of the church than he does the members of his family. One way to avoid this feeling and send that signal is to spend one-on-one time with each family member. It doesn’t have to be weekly, but it should be regularly.

On every occasion that you spend one-on-one time with your wife or children, you’re taking the time to communicate the value they hold in your life. You’re communicating that they are special and vital to you.

4. Serve with Zeal

Consider this helpful reminder: don’t do for your church what you are unwilling to do for your family. The sad truth is that many pastors view their home as a place to decompress from the stress of ministry, a place where they don’t have to be the pastor. These pastors may exhaust themselves in service to others repeatedly, yet neglect to serve their families with the same zeal.

The congregation in your house that needs the word of God also needs your genuine love and encouragement. If they only see a stressed dad or husband, they may grow to resent the Word of God and how their family has been called to ministry.

5. Benefit from Joy

Use the benefits of ministry for the joy of your family. Planting a new church can tax your family in unexpected ways. Your wife and children will experience the ups and downs of church planting as much as you will. Because of this shared experience, you should search for every opportunity to use the benefits of ministry for the joy of your family.

Maybe your flexible schedule will allow you to be a frequent visitor at school lunches or allow access to fun opportunities for your family. Consider using that projector you have at church to allow for a family movie night. Or what about those leftovers from a church ice cream social? You can create joyful opportunities for your family by simply taking advantage of the opportunities close by.

Pastor, Don’t Lose Sight

If you keep your eyes open, you will continue to find small ways to bless your family and make ministry enjoyable to them. Laughter and fun will keep their hearts open, and you can help set the tone for that. Since you long for your children to grow up with a great love for Christ and a true affection for His church, you should never lose sight that they are your first church plant. So, tenaciously shepherd your home; you will never regret it.

Adapted from “Your Family Is Your First Flock” from the Church Planting Masterclass. Watch this video and more for free by signing up for the Masterclass today.

Published February 28, 2024

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