Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Support Networks – for your family

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks – for your family

We have spent the last few weeks thinking about the support networks available to us as ministry wives.

For a moment, let’s also think about two other kinds of support networks which we can encourage.

1. Support networks for our husbands

Our husbands often have the some opportunities for support that we do. There are groups they can join, co-workers they can meet with, etc. However, in all the work that has to get done sometimes establishing and maintaining such networks can fall by the wayside. Let’s encourage our husbands to use the support around them, or to seek out another network. Let’s ensure they have the time to do so. I have been delighted when my husband has decided to meet with another man in ministry, just to pray, encourage and keep one another accountable (not to plan and organise!). I am happy for him to be late home that day, because I know there are great benefits to such support for him.

2. Support networks for our children

Some ideas may be:
  • Remember regular fellowship is a support network for your kids (Sunday school, youth group, etc). They need ‘normal fellowship’ with other non-ministry kids just like we need normal fellowship with non-ministry wives.
  • Be open to your kids getting fed in a church that is not yours. One ‘ministry-kid’ (now grown & a ministry-wife herself) said to me how much she appreciated her parents letting her go to a youth group at another church because there were no other kids at her church. She says “Retrospectively, I can appreciate that it wouldn't have been an easy thing to do, but I'm very thankful that they did it.”
  • If you are part of a staff team spend time with whole families, and let all the children get to know each other. On our staff team, the kids love seeing each other as much as the grown-ups do. This also provides opportunities for mentoring and modelling among children and youth. My kids like spending time with the babies and toddlers and they look up to the 10-15 year-olds, who in turn look after them and look up to the 18-22 year olds.
  • Consider a ‘pen-friend’ network. A friend who is taking a young child on the mission field is considering setting up pen-friends so that they remain in touch with other children. In these days of facebook and online blogs, it’s very easy to post video messages and send emails to one another.
  • Keep in touch with other friends in ministry. A lot of our friends from college still all meet together each year, both at a mission conference and at a weekend away. Every year those children see each other, are taught the bible together and have lots of fun together. They have known each other for 10 years and as long as their parents make the events a priority, they will continue to grow up together. What an incredible blessing. These kids will always know lots of people in full-time ministry and lots of other kids like them.

No comments: