I want to believe that a man can work a sixty-hour week, spend quality time with his wife and kids, be involved in his community, find time for leisure, and still be an effective disciple of Jesus Christ. The kind of man who prays big prayers and knows God intimately for those prayers. The kind of man who readily leads many others to his Savior and disciples those same people to maturity. I want to believe, but I don’t know any men like that.
Well, it’s sad that Dan doesn’t know any men like that. I’m not sure I know too many myself, but one thing I do know. Separating out all those pursuits, and tacking on “and still be an effective disciple of Jesus Christ”, is the very thing that has caused the problem in the first place.
Why can’t I be an effective disciple of Jesus Christ when I work a sixty-hour work week? Why can’t I be an effective disciple of Jesus Christ when I spend quality time with my wife and kids? (Frankly, all the full-time ministry people out there need to spend a lot more quality time with their wife/husband and kids. A LOT more.) Why can’t I be an effective disciple of Jesus Christ when I get involved with my community, or when I take time off for leisure?
There is a man by the name of Chuck Ripka. Here’s a page about him on his ministry site. He’s a banker. He co-founded a “Christian” bank several years back, and when I say Christian, I mean people call up the BANK for prayer. They go to the bank and get healed. People have been saved by coming to the bank. In fact, that bank is more church for some people than church.
Chuck wrote an awesome book called God Out of the Box which explains his life and his ministry within the context of business, politics, and local community. His work, his family, and his friends are his mission field. It’s a great read.
So, my conclusion is this: you can indeed do it all. But first you need to get out of the horrible mindset that says that ministry is something you do within the confines of “church” that you aren’t doing when you’re working, playing, and generally doing life. That’s wrong, and that mindset must be crushed if we are at all going to have a major impact on future generations.