balancing family life and ministry during the holidays

In this episode, TK and Stacia are joined by their new co-host Carlos Ortiz. Carlos has an amazing ministry background, spending several years leading in NextGen and with Masters Commission, then at Life Church in Oklahoma building their residency and internship program, and is now currently in executive leadership as the Staff Development Pastor at Hope Fellowship in Frisco, TX. Carlos has a vibrant personality (he’s 1/2 Puerto Rican), a lovely wife and five kids. Which makes him perfect for this episode, as we talk about family and ministry balance during the Christmas season. This episode is such a great launch to this new season of podcasts, as we highlight the best ways for families to have an amazing connection despite the busyness of the holidays. Carlos shares Hope Fellowship’s amazing staff Christmas party idea (spoiler: it was a Pre-screening of Rogue One) and they talk about how bringing your family along, doesn’t always mean physically present. For the best ways to balance your family and ministry this Christmas season, check out this episode before any more time passes. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!



Long Story Short

1. Planning and Communication:

Stacia shares that in a really busy season, she likes to call them “seasons of sprint” every person that generally struggles with organization, really has to work extra hard to be organized to avoid chaos and disappointment. “Winging it” just does not function well in super busy seasons.

Carlos shares that you have to partner with your family to bring the same leadership muscle that you use at work to your home. In this season, it’s imperative to lead your family well. When he talks to his staff, he tells them, I’m not communicating this to your spouse, that’s your job. Setting the expectation helps to create an environment that avoids disappointment because everyone knows what’s coming. Even if what’s coming is the fact that you’re going to be absent a lot, it has to be communicated.

People who are communicators for a living are often poor communicators at home. Most of the time because “communicators” are so burnt out in utilizing those skills. But your family shouldn’t get the worst of you. Even if you take time for yourself to relax and just be, make sure you have first communicated the pertinent information first.

From a staff perspective, it’s pertinent for senior leadership to be communicating Christmas and holiday schedules as early as possible. Communication is its own form of compassion. When you show your staff you value you their family time, it really matters.

Carlos also gave a freebie when talking about planning a staff party: Honor the whole family. Their executive leadership this year gave a huge gift that included the kids. Candy, toys, branded t-shirts in their kid’s sizes. He shares this freebie to say that you want your staff kids to love their church and feel like the sacrifices they have to make are worth. In ministry, there are times when a whole family makes sacrifices, so this is a great thought!

2. Sometimes you have to say no to good things:

Carlos shares that his family has two times a year, when they say no to basically everything. Right before and after a vacation and at Christmas. They know from experience, that those are pertinent times for them to connect, those times are already filled with enough busyness, without adding more. 

Having a plan is usually half the battle. If as a family, you already know that there are going to be some things you say no to, it makes a massive difference.

Sometimes when you’re saying no to good things, it’s just to have peace, but sometimes it’s because there is a more important commitment or even a better thing.

TK shares that in really busy seasons it’s easy to forget that every person is a person. Leaders can sometimes look at their staff simply as resources, and forget they have their own really good things going on. Senior leaders need to remember that December is not a good month to have a lot of things going on even as a church. Remember to make the main things the main things.

TK shares every time you say no, you have freed up a yes somewhere else, but it’s not one to one; sometimes it takes several no’s to make a good yes.

3. Bring your family along


TK shares that bringing your family along is a game-changer; when your help whole families fall in love with the church, it can create a whole different environment.

Carlos shares two wonderful tips. First, that spouses have to remember that just because you bring your family along, it doesn’t mean you have to bring them to every service. Bringing your family along doesn’t always mean they are physically present, but it means they have a place and a role. For Carlos that sometimes means getting his family ready and prepped since his wife actually has to be at church before him based on their weekend serving positions. Second, he shares that churches with multiple services need to consider their staff and volunteer kids and have a “Fun Room” or something similar for them, so if they do have to stay for multiple church services, that they still have an outlet to love the church.

Stacia tags on the idea that especially during Christmas services it’s imperative to serve food if people will be there for multiple services. When people are giving their holiday to the church, a little bit of food can go a long way to honor the family. The final thought is that kids actually bring a lot joy and love to a church staff during the holidays, especially staff that are single or married, (but don’t have kids) or team leaders that don’t have the opportunity to go back and see their own family. Bringing your family along has so many benefits all around, because your staff is a family in it’s own right.

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