Leave a Legacy of Ministry with Your Family

A few weeks ago, my friend Deanne passed away from her long battle with cancer.  I never met Deanne in person, but we served together as group leaders in an online ministry.

Take your family along with you in online ministry. Leave them with a legacy.When  we first noticed the Facebook post from one of her daughters, informing her friends of Deanne’s leaving to be with Jesus,  it hit us hard.  Deanne was a special friend to all of us.

We have had a lot of volunteers pass through the ministry over the years.  We’ve celebrated births and marriages and graduations. We’ve grieved over the death of friends and family members.  But this is the first time we know of that we’ve lost one of our own.

I’m not a sad crier.  I’m more likely to cry when I’m angry than when I am sad.  So the tears did not come for me when I first heard the news. The tears came when I saw the comments on our team Facebook page from those that knew Deanne.

This sweet woman impacted so many women with her gracious words of encouragement and steady, faithful heart.  She believed the best in people and loved unselfishly.

It made me wonder … did her family know the impact she had?

Did they know she often spoke (or wrote) the well-timed word of hope a weary mom needed?  Or did they just see their own mom sitting behind a computer?  Again.

Did they celebrate the lives that were changed because of the time Deanne dedicated to online ministry? Or were they resentful of that time not spent with them?

As we serve in online ministry, it is easy to compartmentalize what we do. We have an online life and a “real life”  and sometimes we don’t mix the two.  Our families don’t know and don’t understand what we do.  They just know mom spends a lot of time working at her computer.  Or sitting behind a closed door with a sign that says, “Mom’s Busy – Go Ask Dad.”

I know my own family sometimes feels that way. They get tired of me rushing home from a family dinner to finish a blog post. My sweet husband does the dishes almost every night while I write.  I’m sure that gets a little old.

But let me tell you.  Online life IS real life. The friendships we make are real.  The people we touch are real.  The problems they have are real.  The impact we can make through spreading words of life and hope is real.

The difference is that often when we are serving in our church or another local ministry, our family has an opportunity to see what we are doing.  They may hear a young mom thank you for rocking her baby in the nursery.  They may see the Christmas pageant you spent hours organizing.  They may go along with you as you deliver meals to a widow.

So I encourage you to take your family along with you in your online ministry.  Leave a legacy of ministry that will outlast your physical presence.  Share your successes and your struggles with them.  If there is anything they can do to help, let them.  My adult daughter recently started helping me with Do A New Thing.  She said she likes seeing me do for other people what I’ve done to her for her whole life. (I’m not sure that was really meant as a compliment, but I am taking it as one ;))

When your family is engaged in your ministry and feels like they are a part of something special, that time you spend behind the computer screen and the closed door will be less of a barrier in your family relationships.  Some things you can do to engage your family are:

  • Make your ministry part of the normal family conversation at meal time.  Ask their opinion on your blog post ideas. You’ll be surprised how even small children have deep thoughts about some of the tough questions in life.
  • Allow them to use their gifts to help you. Ask your tech-savvy teens help for with your tech challenges.  My son used what he knew from hours spent in online gaming to find and set up video screen capture software for the instructional videos I create.
  • Honor some healthy boundaries around your ministry time.  If you are setting time apart from your family, be focused and efficient during that time to make the sacrifice worth it.  Then be all-in and present for your family.
  • Ask how you can support them in their ministry.  Even if their “ministry” at this season of life is to be the best co-worker he can be, or the best sixth grader or the best summer hamburger flipper … God has a purpose for where He has placed them just as He has one for your ministry. Make it a priority to support the things that are important to them.

I can’t guarantee there won’t be eye-rolling the next time you say, “Just one minute … let me finish typing this sentence.”  But by involving your family in your ministry, you can be sure that one day, they will know that mom did something that mattered, and they were part of it.

What Deanne did mattered and left a legacy for the leaders who came after her.  I hope her family feels a part of that legacy.

Linking up with Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth and Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday

21 thoughts on “Leave a Legacy of Ministry with Your Family”

  1. Christa,

    Thank you so much for this post. Just yesterday I told my husband since I don’t work I feel like sometimes I do not have a purpose or just don’t feel important anymore. But you reminded me God has placed me at home and placed me as a volunteer for an online ministry for Him. It doesn’t matter where I do ministry as long as I listen to God and follow His instructions. I have to remember my Blog and my volunteering online is now my job and just as important as leaving home everyday and going to work.

    Thank you so much for all you do.

  2. Oh, Christa! I so needed to read this! I feel like you’ve been peeking into my life… Just yesterday my son was complaining about how much time I spend on the computer. These are great tips to engage my family and I will implement them! XO, friend!

    • Just goes to show that we are all different, but all the same. We face the same struggles and that’s why we have to stick together, learn from each other and encourage each other!

  3. Loved this when I first heard you describe this idea and even more when you expanded on it more here. Thanks for this-I feel the same way but it’s hard to communicate to others we love. I can’t agree more with this “Online life IS real life. The friendships we make are real. The people we touch are real. The problems they have are real. The impact we can make through spreading words of life and hope is real.” From one online friend to another-thank you for sharing this encouragement!

    • It is really hard to communicate what we do to our families. My family has been very encouraging and I am thankful for that

  4. Oh, man! I get this–on so many levels. In many ways, my blogging buddies are closer to me than some of my friends in town. I pray you know God’s deep comfort as you grieve Deanna’s loss. I love the challenge here to bring our families alongside our ministry. I do want to leave a legacy of serving others. Visiting from the #RaRaLinkup.

  5. Christa I’m one of those sad criers and this post even brought a few tiny tears, but maybe it’s because of so many things on my heart right now. What a tribute to our sweet Deanne, and our on-line friends we love like family.

    Thank you for sharing ways we can take our family along with us in this journey. I giggle sometimes when my hubby sees something and says that would make a great blog.

  6. Christa,
    This is exactly what I needed to hear today! This has been a struggle of mine for awhile. I feel like I am being obedient to what God is asking me to do but I know my family doesn’t always understand. It is hard with little ones at home and especially when they are home all summer. There have been most days that I have not worked at all because I need to be with them and that has been okay. I don’t want them to say, “You are always on the computer.” I want them to know I am here for them in every way. Last summer my 8-year-old wrote a post. I have encouraged him to write another one. He likes to see how many people have read it and commented on it. My husband and I wrote a post last Christmas and it was a great combination of his love of music and my love of writing Scripture. It is a great thing to have them be involved then they too can take ownership in the ministry.
    Thanks again, friend! Have a great week!

    • Jaime, I love the way you have included your family in your ministry. Very creative. I can’t wait to see what your 8yo comes up with for a post this summer!

  7. Good words that make me think! I know how it felt to hear how many lives my Mom touched, but that was before the Internet became what it is now. I will try to include my family (and not just write about them!)

  8. Wonderful post Christa. Thank you for the encouragement friend! I love your tips on getting the family involved. One of the ways I get my daughter and husband involved is by asking them proof read my posts for me. I think I am going to take your advise and start bouncing ideas off of their heads before I actually write my posts and see what happens. 🙂

    • It is so easy to lose sight of those around us when we are focused on a goal and a plan. I have to be very careful to put people over projects!


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