Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who Are You Cheating?

All of the people who report to me on our staff send me a weekly report which consists of reflective questions about their ministry and other aspects of their life.  Questions like, "What are the most important things you are working on right now?" and "What's something you learned last week?" and "What are you reading?" are all a part of this reflective exercise.  There are some quantitative questions, too.  I respond to each weekly report with written feedback and then we usually have weekly meeting where we can flesh out some of what's going on and things that need input, etc.

One of the most important questions on each report is this one:

Last week, did you cheat your family or did you cheat the church?  Elaborate.

I don't know where we got the question.  Probably borrowed it from some other church somewhere.  But it's an excellent question.

In the ebb and flow of life, nobody hits perfect equilibrium all the time.  There are weeks when the church demands a disproportionate amount of my time and attention.  Then there are weeks when family gets more than their fair share.  The idea is to ensure that - over time - everyone is given appropriate attention.

You see, in churchlife, if you're not careful, you can easily neglect your family all the time.

The question is intended to help see trends.  If someone said that they cheated their family last week, it's ok.  Often we don't even talk about it.  If it happens two weeks in a row, we usually start to talk about adjustments that need to be made.  If it happens three weeks in a row, we start to put the brakes on.

The quickest way to an unhealthy life is to have an unhealthy family.  And if your family is consistently getting the shaft, you're on your way to your family being unhealthy.

I went through a brief season recently when my family got the short end of the stick for 3 or 4 weeks in a row.  So, I took some time.  I took Susan away on a surprise trip to a very fancy hotel in Washington DC and we spent a couple of days and nights touring and eating out and enjoying being away from normal life.  We also blew more money than we'd usually spend, but it was an investment worth making.

This week, my youngest son, Joshua, had three basketball games - his last three.  These games were during the day and they were a little hard to make.  But having missed a good bit of games in recent weeks, I decided that I would be there for these no matter what it cost or what I had to do.  So, I went.  And this week, I cheated the church.

As a Senior Pastor, one of the things I feel very strongly about is ensuring (to whatever ability I have) that our staff members have healthy family lives and that they don't sacrifice so much at church that it causes resentment and hurt at home.

I have to live that, too.  I'm a Dad and a Husband before I am a Pastor and Leader.

How about you...who'd you cheat last week?

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