Who could survive a low-paying, time-consuming, unpredictable, and exhausting job for more than a few years? And if they do survive, who could possibly thrive, especially as a family? We are living proof that it is possible, but it takes an important skill that many of us were not taught: building and protecting boundaries.
The first requirement to continue in ministry for more than a few short years is, of course, knowing ourselves to actually be called by God to this work. When we are called by God, bringing others into a deeper union with Christ and his Church in a substantial and concrete way becomes our overarching purpose. All Christians have this call by reason of their baptism, but not everyone is called to make it his or her professional employment. When considering full-time ministry work, there are important questions about boundaries that require clear answers. Can we do God’s will to the fullest in just the forty hours a week we are hired for? Does having time clearly set apart when we are completely removed from work limit our ability to love and serve unconditionally? If we are not at every event or providing several weeknight activities each week, how will we reach people well?