Student ministry is busy and demanding.

And it’s easy student pastors to put student ministry first and family second.  But Andy Stanley, the senior pastor at North Point Community Church and author of Choosing To Cheat, talks about the importance of why family comes first and how to  make family a priority.  When Andy started out in ministry, he realized that there would be a sacrifice one way or the other — Church or Home.  To prioritize his family, sometimes Andy had to cheat the church he helped build so he could be more present at home.

What’s interesting is that on average, a person will spend about one-third of his/her waking life at work.  And for many people, a vast majority of the other two-thirds is dedicated to some part of pursuing or maintaining a family.

Stanley says that you are expendable at work but you’re not expendable at home. Only you can be the mother, father, wife, husband. You have this unique role and responsibility.

How can a student pastor balance student ministry and family?

Andy has a three part answer:

(1)  You make a decision to quit cheating at home. Unless you decide to do this and commit yourself, nothing is going to change. Making up your mind to change provides you with momentum and focus.

(2)  Define and find your focus.  Define expectations at home and church.  For example, ask your family what schedule changes they would love to see you make.

(3)  Involve others.  Speak with your family, boss, friends, co-workers.  Be flexible, not demanding.  Provide options, not ultimatums. Be willing to test and try different changes to see what works best. But address the issue directly; otherwise your results won’t be all that you want.


CHAPTER 1  — Everybody Cheats: The question isn’t if you’ll cheat, but where you’ll cheat?

CHAPTER 2 —  A Collision Course: When work and family collide, we’ll only find  contentment when we align our priorities with what God has called us to.

CHAPTER 3 —  Watch for Falling Rocks: Are you asking your family to hold a rock that’s just too heavy? Because eventually it will fall. And when it does…

CHAPTER 4 — Picking Up the Pieces: Do you know what your family wants from you more than anything? They want to know they are your priority.

CHAPTER 5 — A Double-Edged Sword: Do you feel like you’re the one being cheated on? What have you done to communicate this?

CHAPTER 6 — A Tale of Two Kings: Daniel made up his mind to cheat. He would choose God over King Nebuchadnezzar.

CHAPTER 7 —  Make Up Your Mind: “Daniel didn’t know how.  He didn’t know the where or when. But he knew the what.”

CHAPTER 8 — A Fair Trial: “You’ll never know what God is willing to do on your behalf until you are willing to step out and to trust Him.”

CHAPTER 9 — Trading Places: “God will honor those who honor Him.”

Andy suggests a Thirty-Day Challenge to improving your work-life balance, and offers a study guide to help with the materials in his book.  In the back of the book, you’ll also find a study guide to assist you in evaluating where you’re at in this area so that you can take the next step.

So if you’re looking to make a change in how you “cheat”, give this book a read.

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