Work/Home-Life Balance for Church Leaders

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Balance is A Dirty Word: 4 Reasons Ministry Leaders Should Stop Striving for Balance

Work/Home-Life Balance for Church Leaders

Perhaps, we feel that God wants us to sacrifice ourselves for others in need… every time. But look at Jesus. Yes, he made the ultimate sacrifice, yet as he lived, he knew he couldn’t do everything and he rarely hurried.

Many people make compromises when it comes to work/home-life boundaries. They allow time for gym, rest and personal replenishment, but they will put those aside for others, especially in the case of emergencies.

This is how most people operate and it makes sense. We have to make compromises sometimes! We can’t ignore emergencies, we can’t ignore the needs of others, and when these situations arise, it makes sense to draw from personal time.

However, when we do sacrifice our own time, even for very good reasons, we need to remember to balance it out in other ways. If compromising our personal time becomes habitual, then we will eventually find ourselves burnt out and unable to help anyone.

Sacrifice in the World of Christian Leaders

I’ve noticed this is an especially common issue in the world of Christian leaders, where the job is larger than just employment. We are called to be leaders and examples in all aspects of our lives.

Perhaps, we feel that God wants us to sacrifice ourselves for others in need… every time. But look at Jesus. Yes, he made the ultimate sacrifice, yet as he lived, he knew he couldn’t do everything and he rarely hurried. He sometimes took an extra few days to stay with friends, to make time to rest and talk to God, and to relax with his disciples. He had a regular withdrawal process where he took intentional time to replenish himself.

So how can we follow His example? How do we create patterns of replenishment and avoid depletion of resources?

Creating a Balance Between Work-life and Home-life

The more we give our work, the less we are able to give to other aspects of our lives. The more we give to work, the more it dominates our thoughts, wears us out, and drains our energy… we have no time or space for our families, friends, or ourselves. Our relationships suffer and eventually, we suffer too. This is what led to my burnout. The best thing to do is to implement a plan to enable both your work-life and home-life to flourish.

Part 1 – Boundaries

So, what does a good work-life and home-life plan look like? It begins with clear boundaries. Being clear and intentional with your time helps tremendously. Use your work time efficiently and productively, but to the best of your ability, don’t let it come home with you. Rather, spend the time outside of work to focus on relationships or your own well-being.

Meet regularly with your employer, employees, team—whoever you work with—review and clarify everyone’s role descriptions and responsibilities. Clarify due dates for tasks. This way, if something comes up outside of your known responsibilities, you have a valid reason that has been agreed upon by everyone to say “No, I can’t add this extra task to my load. This isn’t in my job description.”

Of course, there will be times when you will say “Yes” because you want to give a little more to bless others, or there’s an unforeseen situation that needs only your attention, but these times will be from the margins of time and energy that you have created by guarding your home/work-life balance.

I try to follow in Jesus’s footsteps. I work hard, but I also take time out. I create a rhythm of  engagement balanced with times of withdrawal to lead a more sustainable life. Most importantly, I give myself permission to rest when I need to, so that when the rubber hits the road, I am ready to help and give my all!

Part 2 – Priorities

It is also important to understand your priorities. My wife, Adrienne, and I decided early on that we wanted our children to be a top priority and we would live life accordingly. We wouldn’t sacrifice our children for work.  This doesn’t mean that we never interrupt family time for crises, but it was a priority and we stuck to our boundaries where we could. I made adjustments to my work-life so that I could pick up the kids from school or be available to have time for them in the evenings.

A healthy home-life leads to a healthier work-life and vice versa. Setting boundaries and prioritizing your life will make your entire life feel less stressful and more fulfilling.


To establish a healthy work/home-life balance, it’s important to step back and evaluate your own patterns and behaviors.

Here are some questions to help you set healthy boundaries and create a better balance…especially as a church leader!

  • What is your well-being plan? How effective is your plan?
  • What are your most important priorities in life? How can you give them the time they need?
  • Who in your life can help you create and keep your boundaries?
  • Where do you see yourself making compromises in your life?
  • Why do you make these compromises? Are they for the right reasons?
  • How can you strengthen your boundaries while still planning for the unexpected?

If you’re looking for an additional resource on maintaining a healthy work/home-life balance as a church leader, my book Burnout and Beyond details my own journey through burnout, and provides some insight and guidance for moving forward. You can get it on Amazon in Kindle and paperback

Article written by: Dr. Don Easton

Article taken from here.

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Article written by: Dr. Don Easton Article taken from here.

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