Posted on 13 Comments

Family First?

Family First?

Once upon a time there was a volunteer youth worker. She was committed to her church, had invested into the students of the congregation for years, and saw class after class graduate through the ranks of the student ministry.

And she lived happily ever after.


Once upon a time there was a spouse of a volunteer youth worker. He also loved his church and was thankful that his wife had found a place to use her spiritual gifts, share her heart, apply her abilities, maximize her personality and employ her experiences. She almost seemed to be a better person because of it.

The only problem was she never seemed to be home.

It didn’t seem like much at first to give up going to the same church service together since there was another one right after. Their young son really liked the class the church offered at the first service, though. Consequently, the husband would take the son to children’s church and sit through the first service by himself. Since his wife taught during that hour, it became common for them to never attend service together as a couple.

Then there were the times that he noted when she was home she wasn’t fully present. There was always another lesson to plan, another student to call or another meeting to be at. Even though he found his wife to be a much healthier Christian for all she was doing, he began to resent how unhealthy his marriage was becoming.

He spoke up a few times about it and asked her to cut back. She did at first, but then drifted back into the same load of a commitment. He thought about bringing it up again but felt like he was the voice of Satan himself for even thinking it.

Finally, the day came when he asked for a divorce. It was enough to scare her to back out of everything altogether. They had conversation after conversationover the next few months, eventually agreeing not to get a divorce. She eventually went back to teaching “a little bit.”

And they lived amicably ever after.


Once upon a time there was a paid youth pastor. He started to notice that his faithful volunteer was back in full force, although her husband was strangely absent at weekend services.

How’s your husband these days,“ the youth pastor inquired. “I haven’t seen him around.”

He started attending another church,” she answered. “I don’t like it, but at least we’re not divorced. Our son comes with me most weeks and I check him into children’s church before I go teach.

Wait, what?” the youth pastor again asked. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

We’re managing everything just fine,” she responded. “He has his life, and I have mine. Besides, this way I get to serve and make a real difference in the lives of the students. And we don’t argue as much. He feels closer to God than ever before.”

And they lived adequately ever after.


Once upon a time there was a senior pastor. The youth pastor reported all that he’d learned of the situation, asking what the most biblical response should be to the situation. It felt wrong somehow, and yet the couple seemed okay with it. After thinking long and hard and praying on it, the senior pastor offered this advice that he sensed was the most God-honoring way to proceed:

(fill in the blank)