I recently welcomed a new team leader to the Early Childhood Team. While this leader has served within the life of the church as a volunteer, this is her first position as paid staff. As I reflect on the early days of my own ministry, I realize just how little I knew about, well, anything. Thankfully, God doesn’t call just the equipped, but He is faithful to equip the called. There are a few things I know now that I wish I would have known then. Here are my top three:

Keep your eyes on Jesus

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. There’s always more to be done. Sunday’s always coming. Throw in a few events and we know how to keep ourselves busy. Maybe it’s just me, but I can find myself so busy working for God that I miss him in my own life completely. This is a dangerous place to be. Our first priority day-by-day has got to be Jesus. And during those busiest of seasons, do whatever you have to do to find and keep your quiet time. God has always been faithful to give back every minute carved out for him, and you don’t need me to tell you about the fruit and fulfillment of having spent even a few minutes with Him each day. Make this your first and primary goal.

Family comes first

Ok, so in the context of this post, family comes second because God comes first. However, the next time you find yourself going to answer a text at dinner, or an email during your son’s soccer game, or a call during dinner with your spouse, I want you to repeat after me:

Family First, Ministry second.

Come on, let’s do it again.

Family First, Ministry second.

Our families are our primary ministry and our first calling. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re not replaceable at your job. You are. There was a guy before you and there’ll be one after you. The only place you are NOT replaceable is within your family. I’ll spend the rest of my days, whether as vocation or volunteer, making sure kids in my influence know that God made them and that He loves them, but Lord, please let it never be at the expense of my own.

Rest is important

Take vacations. Go away. Keep a weekly Sabbath. Remember, Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around (Mark 2:27). I’ve actually done ok with this one. So thankful for Fridays! Can I get an Amen?

Here’s what I wish someone would have warned me about when I stepped into my role on church staff – make sure your spouse has a Sabbath too. If your spouse works outside the home like mine, it’s likely a M-F, 9-5 gig. And if your family is like ours, we are weekend warriors on Saturday, catching up on home duties in-between soccer games. And Sunday’s coming. For my spouse, that means he’s a single parent for the day. Do the math, and that leaves him with no space for rest or reflection. This is not a healthy place to be, and is not a fun wall to hit. We work a little harder now on Saturday to make sure that outside of getting kids to and from church, my husband doesn’t have a thing to do on Sunday. Rest is important.