NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Two newly designed weekend events are aimed at meeting expressed needs of ministers’ families, according to Neil Knierim of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Minister’s Family Weekends at LifeWay’s conference centers at Ridgecrest (N.C.), June 23-26, and Glorieta (N.M.), July 7-10, will offer solutions to the challenges of being a minister’s family, said Knierim, manager of LifeWay’s LeaderCare section.
LeaderCare provides personal development resources as well as crisis prevention, intervention and restoration resources for pastors, staff members and their families.
The Minister’s Family Weekends are designed as prevention as well as restoration for ministry-related stress and are planned to enrich family experiences for participants.
“Responses to research conducted by LeaderCare and other groups that monitor trends in ministry indicate ministers believe pastoral ministry has affected their families negatively,” he said. “In fact, some say the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.”
In the past decade, several studies conducted by LifeWay provided responses from ministers indicating:
— 52.5 percent had been away from their families nine of the previous 21 nights.
— 65 percent felt the ministry was difficult for the spouse.
— 50.9 percent felt their children were adversely affected by their ministry work.
— Finances and family issues were among causes of stress for the minister.
Responses to a survey of ministers’ spouses indicated finances, balance between church and family needs and the impact of ministry on children were among stressors.
Knierim said possible causes for ministry stress include unreasonable expectations and high standards ministers’ families place on themselves in addition to the expectations of others, lack of privacy, time demands and insufficient financial support.
“LeaderCare has had a telephone hotline [1-888-789-1911] to provide crisis intervention for several years,” Knierim said. “The addition of an event for planned and spontaneous family time, fun activities and communication within families and with peers and professionals, provides a preventive action.”
The weekend events, he said, offer a way for ministers’ families to “step away from the pressures and expectations at home, explore together the uniqueness of being a ministry family and participate in Bible studies on key family issues. The weekends offer dialogue sessions for children, teenagers and parents in the minister’s home and recreation activities designed to bond the family unit, along with free time, sports, relaxation and worship.”
Private time for family devotions and relaxation is provided, as well as structured activities. Small-group, interactive Bible studies will deal with communication, money issues, entertainment media and how to live what you preach, among others.
The weekend begins on Friday evening and concludes at noon on Monday. Program activities are available for children ages 4-18, with preschool care provided for infants through age 3.
Program fee for the event is $35 per person. Lodging costs vary by conference center location and among hotels and apartments. Lodging information and registration may be made by calling Ridgecrest at 1-800-588-7222 or Glorieta at 1-800-797-4222.