When people think of ministry they typically think of things like serving in their church’s childrens ministry, going overseas on a missions trip, or saving someone from wearing socks with sandals.
While those are all valid ministries, they wouldn’t be near your primary ministry. Even if you’re a children’s pastor, your primary ministry wouldn’t be those kids at your church.
Your primary ministry is your family.
At its core, ministries are about relationships. You can’t minister to someone you don’t interact with, and the first people you interact with and the people you most interact with are those in your family.
When you hear God’s commands like, “Love one another”, do you mentally skip over your family and only show to love kids at school, neighbors, teachers and co-workers? When the Bible says, “Carry each other’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2a), do you neglect doing that to your family, but strive to carry burdens of others in need?
There’s a huge problem when it comes to ministering to family members. Their weaknesses and sin that needs ministering often affects us directly. We get upset because our family members needlessly lose their patience and yell at us. So therefore we get offended and we’re not in the mood to minister to them.
It’s a lot easier to minister to a co-worker who has a problem with drinking or adultery because their sin doesn’t affect us directly. So what do we do? We have to separate how their sin affects us from that sin.
Pretend you didn’t know your family member. Now think what problems do they face? What are their weaknesses?
Now as a minister, how can you help your mom, your dad, your siblings? How can you bring them closer to God? This could start by simply not becoming an additional temptation for them by creating more opportunities for them to lose their patience by being grumpy, disobedient, argumentative, messy or selfish. Once you get past not adding temptations, you need to start proactively helping them overcome sin.
Obviously you start praying for their needs. But then you have to start looking for ways you can influence them so they start seeing things as God sees them so they can overcome their weaknesses. Now when they sin against you, it’s more about problems with their relationship with God rather than you.
Unless their weakness involves wearing socks with sandals. Give up. They’re lost.
1 Tim 5: 8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Take Time To Pray: Ask God for wisdom on what problems your family members have. Then ask Him for wisdom on what you can do. ___________________________ If you are using this as a Bible Study Topic: 1. Problem: Overlooking family in ministry. 2. Ministry is about relationships 3. Contextualize: Give examples of how your specific audience might overlook family 4. The reasons that add to the problem’s difficulty – their sins against us prevent us from seeing them as an individual to be ministered to. 5. Solution: Change your heart so you see them as God sees them. 6. Application: How to minister to your family – a. Don’t add to their sin by making things difficult on them – b. Identify and pray for their needs – c. Proactively help them with their needs