From Leader to Leader – Create Fresh Memories with Your Family

by César De León Ph.D LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference

For many, summer graduations and weddings have been attended and in a blink, the summer season will soon be intruded by a myriad of fall season life and ministry tasks and responsibilities.

Kingdom-builders must be intentional about strengthening the relational bonds with spouses, children and grandchildren by planning memorable relationship building activities and conversations that will be remembered and cherished. If a vacation isn’t in the family budget, no worries. One need not break the bank in this endeavor. Last week, I noticed my son was outside washing his car, I was tired and had emails to catch up on, but I felt impressed to go out and join my son in detailing his car. Last Sunday, before my younger son left for his Portland Campus dorm room, I joined him in the mundane task of cleaning out and organizing his disheveled, post-college, closet at home. Having his parents join him, transformed a mundane task into an afternoon of belly laughter and silly horse-playing that we will all cherish.

The Fuller Institute, George Barna, Lifeway, Schaeffer Institute of Leadership Development and Pastoral Care Inc. have provided the following revised statistics.

  • 72% of the pastors report working between 55-75 hours per week.
  • 84% of the pastors feel they are on call 24/7.
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor’s children do not attend church no because of what the church has done to their parents.
  • 65% of pastors feel their family lives in a “glass house” and fear they are not good enough to meet expectations.
  • 65% of pastors feel they have NOT taken enough vacation time with their family over the last 5 years.
  • 35% of pastors report the demands of the church denies them from spending time with their family.

Find the full list at: http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/

I found the following list of pastor’s retreats and getaways around the country that are discounted (and sometimes free) for pastors and their families: https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/march/free-or-discounted-getaways-for-pastors.html  

Some outdoor family activity ideas:

  1. Planting and/or weeding your own or an elderly neighbor’s garden.
  2. Family Car Washing: after washing own car, offer to wash a neighbor’s car too!
  3. Backyard picnic & fun: Consider inviting a single mom and her kids to join your family
  4. Day-tripping Photo contest- everyone shoots their most inspiring pics and votes later
  5. Outdoor summer reading contest: see who clocks in most hours reading outdoors this summer
  6. Go jump into a lake, creek, pool or river!

Whatever you do, don’t let the summer end without making and executing some family fun that will not only strengthen the bonds of your marriage and family but will also be a blessing to those God puts in your circle of influence.

“All of our powers are to be used by Christ. In forming a relationship with Christ, the renewed man is but coming back to his appointed relationship with God. . . His duties lie around him, nigh and afar off. His first duty is to his children and his nearest relatives. Nothing can excuse him from neglecting the inner circle for the larger circle outside. . . A great good done for others will not cancel the debt you owe to God to care for your own children.” MS 56, 1899 (MCP v. 1 162).

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