Balancing Family and Ministry

Someone recently asked me, “How do you balance family and ministry? How do you make that all work together?” Well, to understand how to find balance, first we have to define ministry—what is ministry, really?

I define ministry as the culmination of what you do for God AND what you do at home with your family. The first part of this equation is prioritizing your relationship directly with God. When you prioritize building your relationship with God, the Holy Spirit shows you things that are to come and prepares you for how to conduct yourself. If you start your day with God daily, you will find that you are fully equipped to navigate through conversations with a spouse and children, as well as ministry circumstances at church. Yes, real ministry involves applying Scripture to your everyday life—that includes church, work, AND home.

Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand that great testimonies and sermons are birthed out of the mistakes made in our lives. Here’s how it all works together: You can take a mistake made at home, find a solution from the Word of God, and pair it with what the Holy Spirit reveals to you in your prayer time; then before you know it, the outcome of your mistake becomes the basis for a sermon or testimony that will bless someone else’s life.

The other part of the “balance” equation is simply maintaining a schedule. You’ve got to prioritize your calendar to include family time in addition to ministry obligations. This especially rings true if you have children because they spell love as T-I-M-E. There’s no other way around making time to actually be in the stands to cheer them on for their activities. The shelter-in-place restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic last year offered a unique time to reaffirm the foundation of our families. Many of us had no other choice but to love on our families with “time” because we couldn’t really go anywhere. Now, that’s easy to do when the world around us is restricted. However, as restrictions loosen and our schedules get full again, calendar management becomes a must. Family time has to be included.

An additional exercise that I think is critical to finding balance is to take inventory of your public life versus your private life. I have had to do this many times to make sure that the real Kenneth Fuller that’s in private is the same Kenneth Fuller that’s in public. In other words, you have to look at yourself and ask if you are mean and hateful at home but sweet, kind, and encouraging in public. I’ve seen it happen so many times where a couple in ministry is lovey-dovey, kissy-kissy publicly, but privately they go home and throw the TV remote at each other. Both of them are saved with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so there’s no reason that they can’t come together around the Word of God. Besides, it’s hard to pray for someone day-in and day-out, and hate them at the same time.

Balancing family and ministry can be challenging, but it can absolutely be done. Here’s the thing: success in your ministry, your family, or anything you do has to be guided FIRST by your growing intimacy with God. Next, prioritizing time for your family on your calendar, in addition to ministry tasks and engagements, is just as essential as praying and making confessions over them. Lastly, taking inventory and ensuring that you are the same person publicly that you are privately helps with the balancing act. It takes more time and energy to fake it. I’m not saying all of this is easy, but once this is mastered, balance has been achieved. Remember, happy home, happy ministry, and happy wife, happy life!