Ministry Begins At Home

Written by Annette P. Soldini

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ministryhomeWorking in youth ministry has taught me a lot, mostly how far I still have to go to become like Jesus. Still, the lessons I have learned are priceless and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. One of the lessons I learned is that if you want to know how a person truly serves the Lord, ask their family members. Ministry begins at home.

Double standards

In our church youth ministries, I get to hang out with all kinds of people, teenagers and adults alike. Sometimes, I see a teenager who is looked up to by fellow teens and also praised by adults because of the way he or she accepts responsibility, serves others and/or has a special gift for making people laugh. And sometimes another side comes to light, a side told by the people that live with that teen every single day.

Actually, if you are a parent, this won’t come as a surprise. Our teens often act differently outside the home than inside. They are quick to volunteer to help others, they say “please” and “thank you”, and they are kind and forgiving towards their friends. Yet, we just can’t seem to get them to pick up their dirty socks or treat their brother or sister with the same love and forgiveness that they do their buddies. And many of these teens are some of the very ones who want to go into “ministry”. They want to become preachers and missionaries, wives of pastors, worship leaders, Bible translators, and somehow they have drawn a line in their hearts that says ministry is something that you “go into” and something you do for “other people” in the name of God, people outside of your family members, that is.

Family first

Now if you’re like me, you are probably wondering where the kids came up with this idea. May I gently direct your attention to the moms and dads who are so busy serving others in the name of the Lord that their spouses and kids get the crumbs, the leftovers of their love, respect and attention. I guess it’s easy to see why so many of our Christian kids have the idea that ministry begins outside of the home. Was that a gulp I just heard? It’s OK, I couldn’t tell if it was yours or mine.

Isn’t it ironic how much more patient, kind and loving we are towards people we probably won’t have much to do with in five years than we are towards the very people who will be holding our hand when we die? Wouldn’t it be great if we poured the majority of our energy into our family first, before pouring it into the lives of others?

Wouldn’t it be life-changing if family members were included in those people that should be served in the name of God? What a difference it would make if we spoke lovingly and patiently to the very ones under our own roof, and instead of tearing one another down, we sought to treat each other like friends! And what if parents would treat their kids with the same patience and tenderness that they use with the kids in their Sunday school classes?

As Christians, we are a light to the world; a testimony of the grace given us through Jesus Christ. Our neighbors are watching. What do they see when they look at our families? What do they overhear? Shouting? Laughter? What do the cashiers observe when we go through the checkout line with a tired and cranky two year old? A mom gritting her teeth and giving the “you’re-gonna-get-it-when-we-get-to-the-car” look, or a mom who takes a deep breath and prays, “Oh God, give me Your love and patience to pass on to this child of ours! I am in need, Father.”

The family ministry golden rule

The solution is what I call the “Family Ministry Golden Rule” that goes a step beyond the regular golden rule: treat your family members as you would like them to treat you and see them as your most important ministry.

Yes, the actual practice is harder, much more challenging, and dare I say it … more humbling, because the people at church won’t see these good deeds. But remember that the rewards will be plentiful and are well worth the sacrifice of pride. Put your family first. Give them the best, not what is left over. Write them notes of encouragement as you would others in the Body of Christ. Offer to do their chores when they’ve had a bad day. Bring some soup to their bedside when they aren’t feeling well. Share with them the great things God is doing in your life just like you would share with your closest companions. Use the good china and fancy napkins for them. Think of all those neat things that you joyfully do for others, and then do them for your family.

I have to stop writing now. My husband would like to spend time with me because he has forgotten what my face looks like, since he so often sees the back of my head in front of a computer. Oh, and the kids? They went to bed already. But I stopped typing long enough to kiss them goodnight! Ugh. I did it again. Oh God, give me Your grace once more and please keep teaching me how to be a powerful instrument of Your love in my greatest ministry, my family.

11 Responses to “Ministry Begins At Home”

  • Someone says:

    I am struggling with this …. my husband wants to get involve in the ministery but does not want to start it at home …. he does not have that excitement at home just like he has to do ministery outside …. maybe because the kids are not his (from my first marriage) he said ministery can start from anywhere

  • Carole says:

    Our world is a broken world and we so often fail to follow Jesus’ commandments. Lord, I lift all who are suffering with this experience. Remind them they are to gather up treasures in Heaven instead of on Earth. Remind them to love one another and not tear each other down at home after being good and kind in public. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • in the same boat says:

    I beleive that there will be times that others will take precedent over your family(emergencies, particular moments in very busy fuctions.) but what should never happen is to think of anything or anyone before the family! ex: hey mary can you fill in for me this weekend at Sunday school? Mary thinks…(well i diddnt spend time with my Husband last weekend because I was at bible study and the weekend before that I was at a retreat)…Sorry Sally I cant this weekend I have to spend the weekend with my family.

  • Chris says:

    frustrated…i regret to hear you are struggling….once i was abandoned by my wife. i knew she was upset but didnt want to try to do anything to help our marrage and only saw leaving as the answer. although i wasnt a perfect husband, i was faithful to her and wanted the marriage to work after 7 years of being in existance. did God blame me for her leaving? i dont believe so. 1 corinthians 7 addresses that spouses could and very well may leave their mates but that the abandoned person has the right to continue their life and to remarry. now, i know in your case abandonment isnt the problem but its important that you know that you as her husband are not repsonsable for her neglecting her home. proverbs 31 shows the wife what a virtuous woman is and its up to your wife to accept that as her calling. meantime do what God would have you to do as a christ-like husband and follow the instructions in ephesians 5 to love your wife as christ does the church, sacrifically and uncondtionally. you will find jesus peace being yours as you remove your eyes from your wifes faults and let jesus help you to work on your own since none of us are totally like jesus yet. i pray you do find the peace in christ you need to know that you are complete in him. colossians 2.10 amen

  • Frustrated says:

    My wife has heard these teachings countless times through messages and sermons, yet she is still so very much in the dark. She can be the most angelic, sweet, understanding, fun, loving person to other kids, strangers and people in church and the as soon as she’s home, she’s cold to her husband and kids. In fact, I overheard my pastor telling people what a patient, wonderful person she is. If only he could see through the hypocrisy. My kids and I roll our eyes when she goes into “ministry” mode, teaching sunday school, helping the pastor’s wife with her projects, believing that God is please with all her dead works as she neglects the garden that God entrusted her to nurture – her family. Expressions of love and appreciation from her family don’t seem nearly as important to her as praise and adoration from church members, the pastor’s wife and total strangers as she lusts after building her own reputation. A thousand words and gestures of affection for others, but coldness for her husband and family. We have resigned ourselves to a lifetime of long-suffering – until God breaks through the blindness in her spirit. I have thoughts of ending my life, for if she craves for the love of others instead of her husband’s, then I have failed as a husband.

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up all who are going through this situation in there lives and that they will consult You in there time of need. In Jesus Mightyname Amen

  • kim says:

    love comments. thank you so much and God bless you

  • I am so glad to see others out here preaching what i believe God is speaking especially in todays world. We do not value family. i love that comment made that this will be humbling because no one at your church will see your deeds. In todays church we are so caught up on deeds and what others can see instead of what God can see! This was awesome! I thank GOD for you continue the great work!

  • Sandra D says:

    Having come from a broken home where my mother left her family, and moved in with someone else and raised his kids, my only focus in life was to make my children and husband the number one focus in my life. I guess my experience with my mother ha helped me to do that.

    God Bless You.

  • Andrea says:


    Thank you so much for this reminder, I so need it as my husband and I both own our own businesses and our poor kids “catch the crumbs” you point about the clerk in line so rings true. Thank you so much for the encouragement and my the Lord bless you and your family!

  • Lian Jap says:

    I absolutely agree with Mrs.Annette that we must serve our family first before serving others. Thanks for the great article, God bless your ministry !

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