Family Time – Ministry Models

familyfunJoin us Wednesday March 1, 2017 at 1pm Central Time as we discuss Family Time on our Ministry Models Teleconference. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330.

How does a young pastor balance his schedule so he is both pursuing his calling and caring for his family?

Years ago, Ben Leach, who later became president of the Southwestern Union of Seventh-day Adventists, was told by his conference president that each week he needed to take a day to be with his family, that this was not a “Day Off” but essential to his ministry. But he worried that his church members wouldn’t understand and would think he was lazy if he did that. So as he made plans each week instead of putting “Family Day” on his calendar he would write “President’s Counsel!” No that is not a misspelling. If a church member asked if he was available on that day he would look at his calendar and say “No, I’m sorry. I have ‘President’s Counsel’ on my calendar for that day.”

As you seek balance in your schedule here are 3 Ministry Models we worked toward in our family (in addition to having regular family worship and dropping everything to spend an hour with your child or children) that can give you ideas of how to have quality time with your family and still have time for an effective soul winning ministry. Remember that a good MODEL can Make Our Difficulties Easy & Light.

  1. Meal Together Each Day. We made sure we ate at least one meal together each day. We would try to pick a meal when we wouldn’t be rushed. No one could eat in their room and there was no TV or media on. This gave us a chance for positive conversation about the day and what was happening in the life of each person. This was not a time for scolding about messy room, grades, eating habits, etc.
  2. Family Day Activity Together Each Week. We had a calendar hanging on the kitchen wall. Each month I wrote on it who was in charge of Family Worship for each week. We also wrote down which day each week was Family Day. Whoever was in charge of Family Worship one week was in charge of a 2 hour Family Day activity the following week. One week it would be me, then the next it would be Lois, then Jacob, Dustin, Danesa and back to me. If you were in charge of the Family Day activity you could pick whichever activity you wanted and all the family were expected to participate without complaining. I often took the family to a museum or historical site. Lois often planned a game for us to play together or took us to a mall. Jacob always had us play family football with neighbor kids. Dustin came up with a variety of activities. On one of the first Family Day activities that Danesa planned, when she was about four years old, she had us play Follow-the-leader around the house and the neighborhood making funny sounds and movements. The neighbors probably thought we were crazy but we were just having fun as a family! Planning fun, simple, inexpensive activities was great training for our kids for a lifetime and provided us with lots of great family memories.
  3. Family Vacation Together Each Year. Each year we scheduled and held to a week or two of family vacation. We protected this time and often left home to get away from the distractions and heavy involvements of everyday life. We bought an inexpensive camping tent and cook stove from Wal-Mart and spent time at State and National Parks just exploring God’s great creation on our limited budget. While on vacation we still had family worship, gave out literature as we traveled and visited a local Seventh-day Adventist church to study and worship with fellow believers. Being away from home on vacation for a week or two gave me some wonderful, uninterrupted time with my family, cleared my mind and gave me some great ideas for a more effective ministry and served as a model to our church family on the importance of time with family.

Inspired Insights on Family Time

  1. Smile, parents; smile, teachers. If your heart is sad, let not your face reveal the fact. Let the sunshine from a loving, grateful heart light up the countenance. Unbend from your iron dignity, adapt yourselves to the children’s needs, and make them love you. You must win their affection, if you would impress religious truth upon their heart. {Adventist Home 432.2}
  2. Parents, be cheerful, not common and cheap, but be thankful and obedient and submissive to your heavenly Father. You are not at liberty to act out your feelings if things should arise that irritate. Winning love is to be like deep waters, ever flowing forth in the management of your children. They are the lambs of the flock of God. Bring your little ones to Christ. If parents would educate their children to be pleasant, they should never speak in a scolding manner to them. Educate yourself to carry a pleasant countenance, and bring all the sweetness and melody possible into your voice. The angels of God are ever near your little ones, and your harsh loud tones of fretfulness are not pleasant to their ears. {Adventist Home 432.3}
  3. The minister’s duties lie around him, nigh and afar off; but his first duty is to his children. He should not become so engrossed with his outside duties as to neglect the instruction which his children need. He may look upon his home duties as of lesser importance, but in reality they lie at the very foundation of the well-being of individuals and of society. To a large degree the happiness of men and women and the success of the church depend upon home influence…. {Adventist Home 353.3}
  4. Nothing can excuse the minister for neglecting the inner circle for the larger circle outside. The spiritual welfare of his family comes first. In the day of final reckoning God will inquire what he did to win to Christ those whom he took the responsibility of bringing into the world. Great good done for others cannot cancel the debt that he owes to God to care for his own children. {Adventist Home 353.4}
  5. Ministers’ children are in some cases the most neglected children in the world, for the reason that the father is with them but little, and they are left to choose their own employment and amusement. {Adventist Home 354.1}
  6. Great as are the evils of parental unfaithfulness under any circumstances, they are tenfold greater when they exist in the families of those appointed as teachers of the people. When these fail to control their own households, they are, by their wrong example, misleading many. Their guilt is as much greater than that of others as their position is more responsible. {Adventist Home 354.2}
  7. Parents should teach their children the value and right use of time. Teach them that to do something which will honor God and bless humanity is worth striving for. Even in their early years they can be missionaries for God. Parents cannot commit a greater sin than to allow their children to have nothing to do. The children soon learn to love idleness, and they grow up shiftless, useless men and women. {Christ’s Object Lessons 345.3-4}
  8. You have a duty to do at home which you cannot shun and yet be true to God and to your God-given trust…. The gospel field is the world. You wish to sow the field with gospel truth, waiting for God to water the seed sown that it may bring forth fruit. You have entrusted to you a little plot of ground; but your own dooryard is left to grow up with brambles and thorns, while you are engaged in weeding others’ gardens. This is not a small work, but one of great moment. You are preaching the gospel to others; practice it yourself at home. {Adventist Home 356.1}
  9. There should exist in the minister’s family a unity that will preach an effectual sermon on practical godliness. As the minister and his wife faithfully do their duty in the home, restraining, correcting, advising, counseling, guiding, they are becoming better fitted to labor in the church and are multiplying agencies for the accomplishment of God’s work outside the home. The members of the family become members of the family above and are a power for good, exerting a far-reaching influence. {Adventist Home 359.2}
  10. Ministers’ children are in some cases the most neglected children in the world, for the reason that the father is with them but little, and they are left to choose their own employment and amusement. If a minister has a family of boys, he should not leave them wholly to the care of the mother. This is too heavy a burden for her. He should make himself their companion and friend. He should exert himself to keep them from evil associates, and should see that they have useful work to do. It may be hard for the mother to exercise self-control. If the husband sees this, he should take more of the burden upon himself, doing all in his power to lead his boys to God. {Gospel Workers 206.1}
  11. May Lacey White and all the family are well. The twin boys, James Henry and Herbert have clear white skins, and their cheeks are as red as a rose. They have high times together amusing one another. Where one is, the other is sure to be. When we ride out to get oranges and lemons, six miles, we take the boys with us. They enjoy riding, and frequently sleep most of the way. When we go to Morisset Station, four miles, making eight miles there and back, we take them with us. They are sturdy, healthy boys, full of fun and frolic. {Letter 147a-1897.5}
  12. Scolding is never allowable; reproof and criticism from parents must have their time and place, but should never intrude so far upon the social life of the family as to render the home uncomfortable. A serious word in private will generally cure a fault more easily than many public criticisms. In some families, a spirit of contradiction and discussion mars the harmony; every statement is, as it were, dissected, and the absolute correctness of every word calculated. It interferes seriously with social freedom when unimportant inaccuracies are watched for, and exposed for the mere sake of exposure. Brothers and sisters also sometimes acquire an almost unconscious habit of teasing each other, half in earnest, half in fun. This is particularly uncomfortable for everybody else, whatever doubtful pleasure the parties themselves may experience. {Health Reformer February 1, 1874, Art. B, par. 5}

Future Topics

The topics for our Ministry Models teleconference listed below will rotate between these general categories – Personal/Family, Soul Winning and Pastoring. We will post notes for each topic/teleconference.


  • September – Time Management
  • October – Increasing Your Baptisms
  • November – Planning Your Church Calendar
  • December – Goal Setting & Accomplishment


  • January – Baptism Preparation
  • February – Nominating Committee
  • March – Family Time
  • April – Finding Interests
  • May – Church Board Meetings
  • June – New District – Starting Well
  • July – New Member Orientation
  • August – Mobilizing Members in Ministry

Please join us by phone (whether walking, driving, eating or studying) and let’s see what the Lord does to help us each succeed in our daily walk with Him, all our relationships including our families, and in our ministry and mission. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330.


About danserns

Happily married and father of three great kids. Seventh-day Adventist pastor who invites everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embrace all the teachings of the Bible and join a vibrant Adventist group.
This entry was posted in Family, Ministry Models, Pastoring, Time Management, Why Not Try This...? and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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