Just two weeks ago on September 9th, I became the proud father of a beautiful little girl. As I prepared for her arrival, I was a little nervous but not because of the sleepless nights or dirty diapers. The biggest source of anxiety was how I would be both the husband and father that my family deserved and also the leader that CARE for AIDS required.
We all feel that tension at some point in our lives between our professional and personal responsibilities. I have watched my own dad navigate these challenges masterfully, and I’m thankful to have someone like him to emulate. These concepts were not only modeled for me, but Andy Stanley has provided some language around these ideas that I want to share. This is a promise to my family and a commitment to all of you who support this ministry. If there is ever any question, you will know where my priorities lie.
1. I will choose to cheat the ministry.
Everybody cheats because there is not enough time in the day to do everything. We must remember that someone can and will do the job that we will leave behind one day. In a podcast, Andy said, “Don’t sacrifice what’s unique to you for something someone else will do.” Being a dad is one of the truly unique roles that I have to fulfill. I believe that if I prioritize my family, God will fill in the gaps that I leave behind at the office. However, if I choose to cheat my family, I cannot expect Him to stand in on my behalf.
This discipline is hard for everyone but especially those in full-time ministry who feel an inflated urgency or importance to their calling. “I have seen way too many pastors sacrifice their family under the guise of doing ‘the Lord’s work’ when in fact it had little to do with the Lord’s work and more to do with propping up their own egos.” Let’s be vigilant to avoid “sacrificing our families on the alter of ministry.
2. I will choose our relationship over my reputation.
Justin Warner said, “When you cheer for your kids, are you really cheering for their first name or their last name.” Is your child’s success really about them or about you? Andy talks in his podcast about how we have the tendency to take our kid’s behavior and performance very personally. Whether it is externally motivated from social pressure or internally motivated from insecurity, we can really hurt our relationship with our children if we let this affect how we treat them.
These two points are so important to me because over the past seven years I have seen more than 4,000 parents transformed through the CARE for AIDS program. In the pursuit of this calling to help parents be better parents, would God be honored if I were to sacrifice my own family in the process?
In closing, let me leave you with one final thought from Andy, “Our greatest contribution may not be what we do but who we raise.”