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Soul Care and the Family  //  Tending to the Family Well

10 Dec Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on Soul Care and the Family
Soul Care and the Family
 

“The blind leading the blind…” “Having trouble seeing the forest through the trees.”  “Putting the cart before the horse….”  “You’re a mile wide and an inch deep…”

There are many different ways to get at it, but it seems to be a common theme among ministry leaders.  As people charged with the soul care of dozens or even hundreds of young people, it’s far too easy for us to end up neglecting our own souls and that of our family’s.

It’s a critical issue and one that Project Renovation has dedicated itself to address. It’s been a theme of sorts for us this year, connecting everything from our weekly posts to our equipping events and even our Soul Thirst retreats. There’s not a topic we can think of that will have a greater impact on the sustainability or health of your ministry.

This past spring, Doug Jones spoke on the critical topic of caring for the souls of our ministry volunteers.  If you want to check out his presentation, you can download it here. Doug started by laying a critical framework for our own soul care as leaders.  His tragic example of drawing from a dry well to give living water was palpable, but beyond caring for our own wells, for many of us the next priority must involve tending to the family well.

 familywell

Here at Arrowhead we have a missions opportunity called the James Project.  We invite churches, families, ministries and community organizations to serve with us here at camp, carving out a time and place for each group to experience spiritual formation in a healthy environment.  Several of our James Project groups are comprised of families who band together and serve for a week: washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing floors, hanging out with campers and enjoying camp in their free time.

 

This summer I sat down with a member of one of the family groups who serves in full time ministry, to ask him about how he tends to the family well and looks out for his family’s spiritual health in the midst of a busy ministry schedule.

Q: What are your personal/family goals for this week?

A: Selflessness.  To serve together as a family, focused outside of ourselves.

Q: How is your soul coming into this week?

A: I’m tired.  I’m burned out.

Q: How does this week fit into the rest of the year for your family?

A: It is a great point in the summer.  It’s an opportunity for us to serve together, instead of nearby each other in my full time ministry context.  It means not being scattered.

Q: What do you want to leave with at the end of this week?

A: A common experience that will bring our family together.  To be refreshed even while serving.

familytime

Beyond his experience with the James Project, I find his answers intriguing. I wonder if you can relate to his answers – tired, burned out, scattered, more distant than connected?

Maybe it is time to interview your family.  Are they tired?  Would they say you are burned out?  Do they have a place and a time to be come together and be refreshed?  Here are some soul care suggestions for your family:

1. Look for a common experience

(outside of your ministry context) that will be life-giving for your whole family.  This could be serving others or simply time away without an agenda.

2. Make plans as a family.

This can be a weekly activity or an annual tradition, but the importance of shared experiences disconnected from work and duties is absolutely essential.

3. Invite them to speak into your life.

Make it a habit to talk with your spouse and kids.  “How is your soul?” is a great way to start.  Don’t forget to have them ask you too.

At the end of the day, family counts. If you’ve been blessed with a family, ,ore than anything God has called you to do in the church, He has called you to be a spouse and a parent, to love well and for the long haul. Tend to the family well this holiday season, step back from all of the busyness and make sure you take time with the ones who know you best.

Ben Myers
Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp
Ben Myers has served as the Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp in Brackney, PA for the past 13 years. Arrowhead is a ministry committed to discipleship through its programs for adults with developmental disabilities, missions opportunities for youth groups, and mentoring of High School and College students. Ben also teaches as an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and holds degrees from Cairn University and Baptist Bible Seminary.