From Postlude to Prelude
From Postlude to Prelude
R elational Concerns
For ministers, healthy relationships are vital to success. Yet with the busy and often unpredictable nature of music and worship ministry, giving appropriate attention to relationships with one's family and elsewhere can be challenging.
Ministers must set priorities regarding personal relationships and family. Obviously, God should be our ultimate priority. Following a close second should be family, then the church. What is meant by "family?" For some, "family" means a spouse and children, while for other ministers "family" means parents and siblings, yet for others "family" is comprised of those who provide ongoing support and can be depended on in tough times-those who function as family whether or not they are spouses or biologically related. Ministers are real people with vital needs, interests, and commitments. They have lives outside the church, and they need relationships from committed others. Since most ministers feel a sense of call to their professions, they may have an unrealistic commitment to their work (ministry) and their employer (the church). For instance, ministers often have difficulty saying "no" to a parishioner who has a need, even when it conflicts with direct needs in their own family.
The relationship of church/vocation to family must be carefully analyzed before conflicts arise. When a spouse or potential spouse is considering a ministry vocation, careful thought must be given to the demands that may follow. Some people are not capable of being married to a minister because they are not willing/able to share their spouse with other people in the way that ministry may require. Furthermore, the minister and his/her family should seek a ministry position that has needs/demands that they are capable of meeting. For instance, if a minister's spouse chooses little or no church involvement and the church wants a traditional ministry spouse, then this church relationship may not work. If the family doesn't consider their children's church attendance as important and the church has a different view, conflicts will eventually surface.
Positive Aspects of Ministry and Family
Ministry careers can offer many positive aspects to family life, most of which are primarily related to flexibility. Ministers are generally able to determine aspects of their daily schedules; therefore, they are often free to attend school events of their children or have lunch with their spouse. In addition, ministers often are able to include their families in travel and other events. Furthermore, ministry families are usually the recipients of goodwill from the congregation. They often have opportunities to develop deep and meaningful friendships, to have increased opportunity for spiritual focus within the family, and the privilege of seeing God's work in the lives of others.
Challenges Facing the Ministry Family
The music and worship leader's family faces many challenges such as setting and maintaining priorities, bringing the job home, the expectation that they are models for others, difficulty in saying "No," planning time away from the church, stress and health issues, conflict at church, finances, and confidentiality. 1 The life of the music and worship ministry family tends to run in cycles. There will be excessively busy seasons with little or no family time and other times when the schedules may be more relaxed. Music and worship leaders work long hours during Advent/Christmas, Easter, choir tours, camps, and other times associated with special projects. The music and worship ministry family must recognize and anticipate these cycles. However, these cycles are not unlike tax season for an accountant, football season for a football coach, June for a florist, or December for a retailer. Anticipating these cycles and planning accordingly