Is it possible to like church too much? I have a friend who is pursuing a ministry job, which is totally awesome! But, he is constantly at the church. He gets a day off every week but he’s on call on that day. So his whole life literally revolves around the church. Shouldn’t he be taking a break or something? Shouldn’t family and friends come before the church? Because, of course, God and the church are two different things. Is there some kind of reference for this in the Bible? I don’t know.
Thanks for writing. You ask a very good question, and it’s one that doesn’t get asked enough. There is a serious danger of ministry burnout simply because of the nature of ministry. Pile on top of that our particular Protestant work-work-work work ethic, and we’ve got a recipe for disaster… if we’re not careful.
Jesus gives us a really good example in the gospels. Check it out. Sit down and read through the book of Mark this weekend (it’s short; you can totally do it… you might try The Message; that helps me read large portions of Scripture at once). See how Jesus conducts his ministry. He takes breaks, he spends time alone with God, he goes to parties.
So, pretty much you’re right. Your friend needs to be careful. He needs to set boundaries that, unfortunately, most churches do not know how to help him make and might not even understand why they’re important. I really like the way pastor Rob Bell talks about this.
Now as far as family and friends coming before the church, well, it’s probably more of a give-and-take like with all networks of relationships. Sometimes family and friends need to come first; sometimes church—our spiritual family—needs to come first.
I hope that’s helpful.