Life Mon, 30 May 2016 06:46:07 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Hiring Family at Church: Are You Asking For Trouble?

Is working at the same church similar to putting up wallpaper together? As a married couple, are you asking for trouble if you work together at the same church? Or is it a good thing to work at the same place?

I have written on the subject of hiring family. This idea of married and on the same team is a new subject.

Rather than merely express what I think, I asked the six married couples (of 151 staff at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia) who are on our team two questions:

1. What makes it work?

2. What makes it not work?

Here are their candid answers.


Dustin & TJ Aaagaard

"A huge positive is that TJ and I both have the same day off. This means every Friday she and I have the entire day together while the kids are in school. This leads to lots of great date days and working together around the house just the two of us. This is huge for us in our stage of life of being married with kids at home. We like that fact that both TJ and I share a passion for 12Stone and love having a common thread of going after the heart and vision of the church together. Practically speaking, because I am on staff I understand and believe in the sacrifices she has to make and vice versa."

Ryan & Courtney Haworth 

"Loving what we do. Our work excitement and love for 12Stone spills over into our relationship and makes it positive and healthy.  I can't imagine one of us not loving what we get to do. Similar schedules & understood expectations. Helps us manage and plan our time both at work and at home. Keeps us planners sane! We better understand the work expectations on each other, which helps us encourage each other in the busy seasons or just busy weeks. If one of us comes home complaining or frustrated the other does not join in on the complaining but pushes the spouse to have hard conversations or helps them see the other perspective."

Cory & Cami Lebovitz

"Mutual Submission to the call (we don't place one of our callings ahead of the other – work as a team). Fight to keep "Big Rocks" in place (Date night, family time, time with friends)."

Chris & Lisa Huff

"Respect titles and position. You can't use your access as a husband or wife to insert your opinion inappropriately. Respect confidentiality. There are things that can't be shared even though it's the same organization."

Deidrick & Brandi Overby

"Having boundaries in conversation so that all conversations aren't about ministry and work. Being intentional about praying for each other's ministries, so that you're supporting your spouse's ministry instead of competing with it."

Miles & Jennie Welch

"There is no competition between us. We both celebrate each other's wins and are a team even if we are in different departments. And campuses."


Dustin & TJ Aagaard

"Sundays are a bit challenging as far as a schedule and dealing with the kids. I'd encourage others to get into a rhythm that works for them to grow in their faith together in addition to the Sunday services since Sundays are workdays."

Ryan & Courtney Haworth

"Warning: While your conversations at home are safe, be careful how you feed/fuel negative conversations about church people and situations. Private negative feelings can be internally developed, and if not careful, may be externally displayed in inopportune moments at work."

Cory & Cami Lebovitz

"Don't let all your home-time conversations be about work— avoid becoming 24/7 co-workers."

Chris & Lisa Huff

"Be slow to vent to your spouse about your department. It's normal to unwind the stress with each other but be careful not to poison the working relationship for the spouse."

Deidrick & Brandi Overby

"It is difficult to not attend church regularly together when on different campuses. So the caution is to make sure that you are paying attention to each other's spiritual growth and asking questions and discussing service."

Miles & Jennie Welch 

"We respect each other and are careful not to give unsolicited advice or critiques."

All six couples are sharp, highly respected, loved and productive. This is probably why they wrote more on what makes it work than what breaks it down.

Do you have church staff that are married to each other? What are your thoughts? 

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY.

]]> (Dan Reiland) Couples Thu, 11 Jun 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Happily Ever After 101

Four ways to prepare couples for marriages that will last a lifetimed-MinLife-Couples-


Having been a college/20-something pastor for the last decade, I have lived in the land of dating, engagement and wedding officiating. My weekends are regularly filled with beautiful flowers, “Here Comes the Bride” and mediocre reception musicians. Officiating weddings is fun, and a lot of energy is poured into making this a special and memorable day. But there is so much more that must be considered. Have we spent more energy pulling off a wedding and less on preparing to make a marriage last a lifetime?

I have been asked “How do I know if she is the one?” more times than I can count, taught about dating and marriage multiple times, and spent endless hours in premarital counseling. Thinking about this sacred subject has been a necessity for me. Here are a few things I have come to realize in trying to prepare young adults for marriage.

Paint a realistic picture. Marriage is a beautiful thing, designed by God. There is fulfillment and joy for two people that “submit themselves to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21). But having a great marriage takes a lot of work. When we get caught up in the enchanting imagery of Ephesians 5, we have to remember that it is an invitation to the death of self. It is easy to be a servant when people praise us for it, but the test is will we still serve when people treat us like servants?

Emphasize servanthood. Not long ago one of our boys woke up in the middle of the night and my wife, Jossie, asked me to go check on him. I would like to say that I naturally popped out of bed, settled our son and then asked if there were any clothes my wife needed ironing while I was up. Instead, I made a calculated choice to serve in that moment, slowly falling out of bed in the middle of the night to allow her some more sleep. It is easy to talk about laying your life down; the key is actually doing it.

The best way I know how to do this is to help people know that “marriage is not about you.” This runs counter to our culture, which says, “If you aren’t happy, get out. You can do better.” The fact is that marriage is about Jesus. It is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with the church, and a refining tool that chips away at our selfishness to help us become more like Jesus. 

Address cohabitation. I believe that living together before marriage is not a good idea. Our culture adheres to the belief that “if it feels good, do it.”  The 
problem with this philosophy is that it puts my desires and feelings of what is good ahead of biblical truth and tested wisdom. Though the Bible does not specifically state, “thou shalt not live together before getting married,” it does clearly communicate God’s desire for us to live a pure life (I Thess. 4:7) and avoid sexual 
immorality (I Cor. 6:18). Living together certainly makes that more difficult.

Don’t just inspire hope ... teach skills. Everyone hopes that marriage will last a lifetime, and that they will have a loving family that stands up against the odds. No guy stands at the altar and thinks, “I am going to cheat on this girl, break her heart and destroy her dreams.” And no girl secretly thinks, “This is going to be an utter failure, and I am going to do this three more times.” The hopes are high, so why are there so many divorces and unhealthy families? I suggest it is because there has been too much inspiration and not enough skill development. I love the interlocking of character with skills that described King David’s leadership in Ps. 78:72 (NLT): “He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.”

Let the engaged couples be excited about marriage for such is the way it should be. But optimism must be coupled with skills—skills to resolve conflict, communicate effectively, follow a budget and forgive. Divorce happens when there is a loss of hope. But could it be that underdeveloped skills led them there?

Aaron Stern is the college/20-something pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the author of What’s Your Secret? He has been married to his wife, Jossie, for 16 years, and they have four sons. Find out more at

]]> (Aaron Stern) Couples Wed, 26 Oct 2011 12:51:44 -0400