mcbd04912_00001When I took my first full-time church job I was as 27 year old single college director.

When I resigned I was a 33 year old husband and father of a baby girl.

I had no idea what that stage or life transition would look like, and it was a tough one to make in ministry. When you are a single pastor, especially in youth related ministries there is a huge spoken or unspoken expectation that you have all the time in the world to be with people and spend those late night and long weekends with students. And often that is what you find yourself doing.

I wish early on I had set some better boundaries and expectations around the ministry that I was pastoring. And I also wish that there had been someone to help me navigate all those life changes that really throw curve balls at you while you are doing ministry. There were definitely people speaking into my life, but I think as a whole we don’t think about ways to help those who serve alongside of us in ministry help make that transition successfully.

When I was single I burned the candle at both ends…In hindsight I came to see just how unhealthy that was, and that I really lacked some clear boundaries and was not differentiated enough from the ministry and people that I led.

When I became a husband I no longer wanted to spend weekend nights out at events, or long weekend retreats and week long mission trips away from my wife.

When I became a father I no longer wanted to come home late from work and miss my daughter’s meal times and baths and bedtime.

Something had changed in those 7 years…I had changed…and I was no longer so sure of how I could pastor the ministry effective…or if I even wanted to or had the same desire. That was a lonely feeling and only a few people recognized that and were able to resonate with me and speak into my life. Now, 8 months removed from the job I am finding out that I’m not alone in this transition and I’m starting to wonder if we (the Church) can help those going through the same transition, better navigate the landscape?

Have you ever experienced this before? How did you deal with it?

Do you have any suggestions of how we (the Church) can walk alongside people and support and encourage them during this joyous and life changing time?