Keeping First Things First in Ministry
Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 9:00AM
Dawn Wilson in Family is a Priority, Melissa Mashburn, Ministry, Ministry, Priorities, Relationships, Upgrade with Dawn, priorities

Melissa Mashburn’s effectiveness in ministry is founded in the words “keep it real.” In this Ministry UPGRADE, she reminds us to consider our focus and priorities.

“Ministry can become all consuming, but it’s important to remember to keep first things first and that’s making your own family a priority,” Melissa says. “Every day you are given a gift—your family. Yes, you have a call to do more, serve more and love the people in your community more, but ultimately, your family is your first ministry.”

I (Dawn) observed firsthand how the enemy destroys children with parents in ministry. “Family” must be a priority!

Melissa continues . . .  

There are so many things to love about ministry, like being able to be a part of someone else’s faith journey, using your gifts and skills for the Kingdom, and doing something with your life that is far beyond anything you could do on your own.

Unfortunately the “job” can become overwhelming. You can find yourself stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to catch up. 

After fifteen years in full time ministry at a local church in South Florida, I finally realize a few things about ministry:

  1. You will never get it all done. There will always be room for improvement or one more thing on your ministry task list.
  2. It’s not all up to me. You are there to do your part, but the whole thing doesn’t rest on your shoulders. If it’s God’s will, He will make it happen— with or without you.
  3. Your family is your first ministry. If you are married and have children, they need to see they are number one in your life, not your job or ministry.

Ministry is fun, challenging, and it makes a difference; and the great thing is, whether we are in full-time ministry or not, each one of us is called to ministry. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing ministry a while, it’s important to learn how to keep first things first.

I almost lost my oldest son ten years ago when he was airlifted to the local children’s hospital where he spent 51 days in the PICU. Even now I shudder to think how close we came to losing him. By some miracle he walked out of that hospital.

That left a mark on our family. It changed us—some things good, some bad—and it certainly helped us rethink what’s important. 

We took our eyes off what was most important, and let our ministry take first priority instead of our family. That’s hard to admit, but it’s true. 

Since then, one of my new favorite sayings is “Family First.” Here’s what it means: We need you to do what you do at the church, in the schools, at your jobs, for sure, but your husband and child(ren) come first. If ever there is an emergency or something you need to tend to—be there. Be fully and completely there.

You only get one chance to be the wife or mom you can be. Someone else can be the room mom, the PTA president or do your job at work. But NO ONE can take your place when it comes to family.

Through that season we learned, slowed down and start reprioritizing family in the face of ministry; but, to be honest, “Family First” continues to be a constant challenge for us.

Friend, don’t miss out on the incredible blessing right in front of you.

Are you going to be perfect? “No one is perfect, not even one” (Romans 3:11 ESV).

Does that mean we don’t try?  No, it just means we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and do the very best we can with each and every day.

Whether at work, in the car line, at the PTA meeting, in the church or wherever ministry might take you, you are in the mission field. Your family needs you before you head out to serve others.

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her" (Proverbs 31:27-28 NIV).

Oh yes, our friend The Proverbs 31 Woman is an overachiever, but guess what, her family is her first ministry. She does what she needs to do for her family, and then she sets out to do other things.

By taking care of first things first, we have room to do the other things God brings our way. 

What are some ways you can start today to reprioritize your day so you can make your family your first ministry? Who do you need to talk to help you as you shift things around to make your family your ministry?

Melissa Mashburn passionately pursues God every day by taking her everyday, ordinary life and placing it as her offering to Him. She is an author, speaker, mom, pastor’s wife, and trained communicator through CLASSeminars. With her extensive background in ministry at the local church, Melissa leads women to “keep it real” in their lives and ministries. She is married to her best friend, Matt (22 years), and is the proud mama to two adult sons. You can find her on her site, Melissa Mashburn: Real Women, Real Life, Real Faith.

Photo Credit: Image ID : 27065415 -



Article originally appeared on upgradeyourlife (
See website for complete article licensing information.