Ministry is not easy. Marriage is not easy. Trying to keep a thriving marriage in ministry can sometimes feel impossible. Working for the church often means your day isn’t over at 5 p.m. A traditional job doesn’t always come with late night emergencies, direct feedback from parents, lack of gratitude from kids, and weekly, recurring deadlines of Sunday. Most importantly, there’s the constant pressure of living a life on display.
On Episode 23 of the Think Orange Podcast, our guests Doug Fields and Ted Lowe discuss the realities of being married in ministry and share how we can protect and strengthen our marriage while serving in the church.
Dave discusses how work in ministry and leadership often feels like your life in display (5:06)
Doug talks being married in ministry (8:23)
Doug shares the real, emotional tension of working in ministry (10:02)
The weird part about marriage in ministry is that our life is on display (12:00)
The biggest issue facing marriages today is busyness (13:07)
Meet with your spouse weekly to talk calendar, business and family life (14:30)
Give your spouse calendar veto power (17:44)
Put ‘light-is-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel’ days on your calendar (18:59)
Why weekly date nights matter (20:37)
Determine the signs and gauges of busyness in your life (22:10)
Create realistic, unplug rules (23:52)
Reflect on the ‘why’ of your busyness (25:59)
Brooklyn Lindsey interviews Ted Lowe (28:14)
What it means for churches to have marriage strategy (29:16)
How protecting marriages serves the next generation (30:32)
Why marriage ministry is an effective outreach tool (33:00)
With marriage, prevention trumps intervention (36:49)
Your marriage is your first ministry (41:07)
How to start supporting marriages in your church (45:14)
How to start strengthening and protecting your marriage (50:34)
Final thoughts from Dave and Ashley (1:01:36)
People, Places & Helpful Resources
Your Best Us: Marriage Is Easier Than You Think by Ted Lowe
Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages that Last by Ted Lowe and Doug Fields
MarriedPeople, the marriage division of Orange
How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny
Blog: Orange Leaders – a blog with strategies, tips and ideas from leaders influencing the faith and character of the next generation
Ted is a speaker, blogger, and the Director of MarriedPeople, the marriage division at The reThink Group devoted to influencing those who influence the next generation. Before working at Orange, Ted worked as the Director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia and is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, in Pasadena, California. Ted and his wife Nancie have been married since 1995 and they have three busy kids.
Doug Fields is a communicator, author, & consultant. He is the Executive Director of HomeWord’s Center for Youth/Family at Azusa Pacific University, the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com, and the author of more than 50 books. More information about Doug is available at www.dougfields.com.
Quotes from This Episode
Ideas to Influence the Next Generation
Our fast-paced lives are the issue most of us are not addressing in our marriage. As Doug shared, “In leadership, people assume if you’re busy, you’re doing something.” However, as Brooklyn stated, “If we’re constantly pouring out and nothing is coming, we end up empty.” Doug recommended that we start by reflecting on what’s causing the chaos and frenetic pace by asking questions like:
- Why are you so busy?
- Who are you trying to please?
- What are you getting in your activity that you’re not getting in your soul?
- What are you getting in your ministry that you’re not getting in your marriage?
In the end, if we put our ministry above our marriage, we’re going to pay for it. Our relationships with our family – our first ministry – will suffer. While you don’t need a perfect marriage to minister to others, you do need a healthy marriage. And, your marriage can be healthy.
View your marriage as your most important ministry.
As a ministry leader, people are watching. Your life is on display. Occasionally, that’s a tough reality to handle, but it’s always an amazing opportunity. The temptation will be to put on a brave face or develop a well-crafted facade, but you have an opportunity to model perseverance, patience, forgiveness, faithfulness and love to the next generation.
Leverage marriage ministry as an outreach tool.
Creating events and resources for couples in your community could open the door for new relationships with your church. As Ted said, people “don’t have to love Jesus to want your marriage to work.” Often, it’s easier to invite someone to marriage event on a Saturday night than it is to invite them to Sunday morning’s service. Changing the way you and your church think about marriage may just change the way the community thinks about your church.
Conversation Starters For Your Church
What is one boundary that I need to create with your work at church in order to protect, strengthen and/or enjoy your marriage?
As a children’s or youth ministry leader, how can we impact or support the marriages of our team (i.e. volunteers, small group leaders), etc.) so kids have positive models in their lives?
What can I do to better support the marriages within your church and community? What can our church do?
When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at daveadamson.tv.
Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.
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