Date Nights And Vacations Are Necessary

A healthy marriage can lead to a healthy ministry.

But a healthy ministry doesn’t automatically lead to a healthy marriage.

In fact, the demands of a thriving church put abnormal stress on a marriage and family.

As a church leader, you’re responsible for the condition of your church. But too many families struggle because church leaders take care of everyone else, sometimes to the neglect of the people to whom they’ve made the deepest commitment—people at home.

Kevin Springer says…

“The integrity of your marriage will determine the length and strength of your ministry.”

One pastor says it like this: “If you’re putting your church before your marriage, then one of two things are taking place…

  1. You’re on an ego trip and need to feel needed. I know this sounds harsh, but you have to check your heart to see if you make yourself continuously available to your flock for the purpose of feeling better about yourself (NOT for the purpose of authentic ministry).
  1. Your marriage is in bad shape. You’re choosing to ignore the problem because you fear what people might say about you if you’re “not available” to your church.

That’s why date nights with your spouse are not a frivolous expense. Building this into the personal budget is crucial. You must find a way to make this happen! DON’T BELIEVE THE LIE THAT YOU’LL WORK ON YOUR MARRIAGE WHEN THINGS SETTLE DOWN AT CHURCH. You must be intentional about spending time with your spouse now.

Date Night

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Put it on the calendar. Like most things in life, if it’s a “We should” or “We ought to sometime,” it’s going to be way more challenging to follow through. Make it consistent, and make it a priority.
  1. Get creative with babysitting. Sometimes hiring a babysitter for date night doesn’t seem wise. But it is. If you have to, look for creative ways to cover it, like taking turns with another couple watching each other’s kids.
  1. Dates don’t have to be expensive. Actually, they don’t have to cost any money at all. Trust us, someone in Pinterest-land has done the research for you!
  1. Make double dates the exception, not the norm. You need one-on-one time. Sometimes this means letting other couples down. Better to let another couple down than your spouse.

Just like date nights are essential to the health of your marriage, family vacations are important, too.

If you’re working at a church that can’t survive without the pastor for a week, then something needs to be re-evaluated. In fact, there are plenty of other perks to taking a week off. If you’ve led your staff or congregation to constantly need you, then you haven’t done a healthy job of leading.

It’s absolutely necessary that you spend time with your family. THIS MEANS THAT YOU NEED TO PLAN AND SAVE FOR THIS EXPENSE AND NOT FEEL GUILTY WHEN THE TIME COMES. You may be committed to paying extra on your mortgage, but this doesn’t excuse a Scrooge-mentality when it comes to family vacations (which, by the way, don’t have to be elaborate, either).

Pastor, don’t sacrifice your family for the sake of the ministry. If your church is growing but your kids don’t see you enough, you won’t feel like a success in the end.

Plan and budget for date nights with your spouse, as well as vacations with your family. Don’t let a finance committee, church member, or ministry calendar keep you from spending time on what really matters!