Why Is It So Hard To Find Balance with Family & Ministry?

Frey Family Circa Fall 2016 L-R: Isaac, Sara, Lulu, Jack, Joe, & Evan.

Frey Family Circa Fall 2016 L-R: Isaac, Sara, Lulu, Jack, Joe, & Evan.

Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.
— Psalm 128:3-4 (NLT)
The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.
— Proverbs 23:24 (NLT)
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
— Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

Anyone who has known me over the last 4 years knows that I have been working very hard and "hustling" with my music ministry. I have taken 2-3 trips a year to Nashville to write and network with music industry connections. I have performed 100 plus sets a year for 3 years. I have worked 2-3 jobs at times to make it all work as I feel my true calling in life is to make Jesus known. I truly love it! But I would be lying if I told you it wasn't tough. It's tough. In many ways.

On top of all those things I am a proud father of 4 wonderful children with my wonderful wife of 10 years, Sara. The constant "work/life balance" has been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. I wanted to write this blog post for no other reason than to say this.  I am not writing this from perfection but rather from experience in knowing that you must cling to Jesus. I have failed many times.  If you are not careful ministry can actually become more of a focus than our relationship with Jesus. If that relationship falters...your family will as well. I have had to work very hard to maintain a close family but the job is never done.

I have come into contact over the years on the road with so many broken families in the church who put so much weight on ministry and church on Sunday that before they know it there is a distance between them and their spouse/children that cannot be easily fixed.  

Seek counseling and make Jesus the priority. All the family balance will come together through Him. I have seen God do some amazing things in my family and so many others! Life is never to busy to pray to ask for help... It's also never too busy to play a game with your kids and spend time talking about life in general. It goes a long way.  Until next time! 

Here is some scripture to help encourage and guide us in finding balance with family & ministry. 

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
— Colossians 3:21 (NLT)
 

Here is my crazy daughter, Lucille Jane, my little flash running in a Nerf War.... #Priceless

 

Leading Worship | "Best Practices"

Joe Frey Headshot.jpg

I have been leading worship at church since high school. Being a PK (Pastor's Kid for you none PK's) I saw the good, bad, and the ugly of working in ministry right here in New England. 

We had a lovely woman who led worship at our church growing up and she played the organ and belted out the hymns of old with everything she had. It wasn't perfect but it was sincere. She meant every word and for years that is who God used to lead the church body in worship in that little church in Pownal, Vermont. 

Here are a few insights into leading worship that I try to remember every time I take the stage.

COME PREPARED | SPIRITUALLY, MENTALLY, ETC

I have done it and it's awful when it happens; you get to church and you aren't prepared. You have had a challenging week and you haven't been taking time to mediate on Jesus and read the Bible. Or you have just been everywhere except practicing the new song so you forget a melody or two... I shamefully admit that has happened to me more than once in the last 12 years. There is a state of panic that ensues...so first and foremost make sure you practice and know the songs and come prepared. 

I attended a conference a few years ago and Paul Baloche was leading a workshop. His insight has helped shape my last five years of how I prepare my heart to worship and lead the church in worship. He said he would spend time every week singing through the Psalms. He would just play through some chords (perhaps a song he was leading that Sunday) and he would sing through Psalms in the Bible. The practice for him - made more prepared both spiritually and mentally. 

Don't let the details of Sunday morning overshadow the meaning and most important part of worship. Every time that I feel myself getting distracted by the details of Sunday I go back to the song "The Heart of Worship". It reads, "When the music fades and all is stripped away and I simply come,"... WOW! That's it...just come before Jesus and worship Him. If we are taking time to worship with God throughout the week and we come practiced and prepared we will be of better use and actually able to effectively lead the church in worship.

CONNECT THE MUSIC WITH THE MESSAGE

As a touring worship leader there are many instances where I have not been able to connect with the pastor on what he is preaching on prior to arranging the worship set. Many times it works out great and God really brings it all together where the service flows perfectly with the message. But if you are a worship leader in a church - no matter what size - you need to be meeting up whether it's a call, Skype, face-to-face, email, etc. every week to make sure you are picking songs that flow with the message. This is so important...vital...to the weekly impact of your church to those who need to hear the Gospel or be encouraged. I put myself in the shoes of the visitor who comes for the first time to church and how they will receive the whole thing as one package. There are enough worship songs written and available resources like Worship Together that you can match a message on God's grace with songs about God's grace. Now this doesn't mean that you pick "Your Grace Is Enough", "This Is Amazing Grace" and so on just because those songs have the word "grace" in it. It means that you and I as worship leaders need to fight the idea that we just lead the music and the pastor does all the preaching. We are as big a part of the church and what God is doing in the body as the pastor. We are the vessels used by God to prepare the hearts of His church to hear the message through song. The Pastor is the vessel used by God to deliver the Gospel to His church, His people. Both are pointing the church to the Kingdom and both carry the same weight of utmost importance in my eyes. So connect with the pastor and connect the worship with the message and don't be afraid to be a worship pastor and speak into the message as you lead each and every time.

IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU (JUST JESUS)

This comes back to preparing our hearts to lead. So many times I have seen worship leaders or even been the worship leader who wants to play a song that is so cool or popular or fun and you know what? That's not our job. Our job is to prepare the church to enter into a place of reverence and worship with Jesus. It's all about Jesus. Jesus Always. Jesus. Arrange worship sets for Jesus, pointing to Jesus and the Kingdom. I just want to say it one more time...Jesus. 

PROMPT THE CHURCH & BE INTENTIONAL

This is a fairly simple idea...we must prompt the church to worship and sing. "Raise your hands, voices..." If your church loves the worship band but just stands there seemingly unengaged then we as worship leaders need to put our pastoral hats on and invite them to sing louder and engage in the worship. To world a "culture of worship" we have to not only model it but we have to invite and prompt the body to do it. Now don't get me wrong...this doesn't mean you are counting hands in the air as a successful worship set. But setting the stage for people to connect with God and pray to God and receive from God is what worship is doing. Creating an authentic time of worship is something we can only do if we are preparing our hearts and it goes back to the first section...come prepared spiritually. Don't be bashful and invite your church family to richly express their affection for Jesus. Be intentional with the scripture you say to set up a song, or the story you share to draw people in and you will see a change in your church worship.