“Can a night out bowling be sacred?” The heading of the column by Kay Warren, wife of well-known pastor Rick Warren, did its job – it caught my attention.
“Can a night out bowling be sacred?” The heading of
the column by Kay Warren, wife of well-known pastor Rick Warren, did
its job – it caught my attention.
In the column, Kay Warren encouraged ministers to
set one night a week as “family night” and enforce it as something
sacred. And before I go any further, church members should be very
aware of the unique needs of a minister’s family at this point and help
ensure the minister’s family has this special night.
“Family night became sacred on our calendar,” Warren
states. “No one was allowed to schedule other meetings or get
distracted in any way.”
Certainly, some folks would severely question the
“sacredness” of a night of bowling, but Warren makes great sense.
Indeed, both she and her husband grew up as pastors’ kids and knew how
ministry constantly demands a minister’s time.
“There’s always someone else who needs to hear about
Christ and always someone else you need to serve,” she notes in the
And she could have mentioned the unyielding
expectations of a congregation to meet the needs they feel are most
important – like attending all the committee meetings of the church,
visiting everyone in the nursing homes every week, visiting everyone in
the hospital every day, calling on all the shut-ins, visiting all the
prospects of the church, attending associational meetings, attending
special conferences, being active in the community and ad infinitum.
And do not forget – there are three message preparations each and every
Warren says about their family nights – “More
important than a few stellar memories, family night weaved (sic) a
strong thread through our family that binds us together to this day. In
fact, as our kids left for college, they often wanted to come back for
family night, and our oldest, Amy, still comes occasionally with her
Most church members readily would agree that
ministers need such a family night – unless. The “unless” comes in when
they want the minister to do something for them that night or to do
something they feel the minister should do or to attend a committee
Certainly, the minister’s family is not the only one
that needs such an evening, but the minister needs the understanding of
his congregation in this matter. After all, just a handful of church
members who do not understand can create difficulty for the minister’s
efforts in this vital area.
One church personnel committee met with its minister
and stated emphatically – “We do not want to see you at the church or
in any church meeting any Monday night unless we are having something
special – like a revival. We will tell the church that you do not do
anything on Monday evening except spend time having fun with your
Interestingly, the example they set for their pastor
set an example for the families of the church and other families set
Monday nights as their family nights. All parents need to heed Kay
Warren’s statement, “You’re doing all these good things while the best
things are growing up and walking out the door.”
Back to Warren’s statement about a night of bowling
being sacred. She explains that statement by writing, “We believe that
God wanted us to make our family such a priority, and so, yes, when we
were bowling, we were, in a way, worshipping God.”
I have heard preachers’ kids criticized and called
“the worst kids in town.” If that statement were true (and it is not in
the overwhelming majority of cases), it is likely because they received
only the leftover time of their fathers and mothers after they
fulfilled the expectations of their churches. Thus, the kids sensed
that the demands of the church were more important than were they.
Again, every family should have such a family night
– and churches need to help provide one for their ministers’ families.
Every church member will not understand this, so those that do will
need to take the lead and keep it in force.