Balancing A Growing Family & Ministry with Paula Ley

Welcome back to this episode of the unSeminary podcast. We’re chatting with Paula Ley, executive pastor at Radiant Church in the Tampa Bay area.

Paula is talking with us about the spheres of influence in our lives and how to balance the busy seasons of ministry while still prioritizing our most important relationships.

  • Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. // Paula has served in many different ministries from being a missionary to working for Radiant Church, to starting a non-profit with her husband. She has a saying that she sticks to which is: the principles don’t change, the particulars do. When you’re grounded in the word of God, He can move you anywhere and give you unexpected experiences, and he never wastes a thing. You might not be in the right role right now, but God will use it in the future if you stay close to him.
  • Spheres of Influence. // When working in ministry, there is a lot that can bleed into your personal life. Church leaders carry a huge responsibility, and so Paula put together a system called the Spheres of Influence that helps her make decisions about what to prioritize in her life. She also uses it when coaching team members and volunteers so they can figure out what to say yes to and what to say no to.
  • Start with God in the center. // On the sphere, Paula starts out with a small circle and puts God in the center of, indicating that a relationship with him is top priority. From there she draws more concentric circles, moving out from the center. Next she has a circle for her husband, then her kids and grandkids, and then her job and ministry. As the circles get larger they extend to other parts of her life. These Spheres of Influence help you stay on task, but also keep people as most important in your life because ultimately as pastors, people matter more than what role we play.
  • Urgent items. // Urgent items will move into the inner circle at times, but they can’t stay there. By nature urgent items are short term. Otherwise they need their own permanent spot in the Spheres of Influence and regular attention in your life. Examples of urgent items might be a sudden death in the church, or other events that need a pastor’s temporary focus.
  • Hard calls and soft calls. // Once you have your Spheres of Influence drawn, Paula says to pay attention to hard calls and soft calls. The hard calls are the things that God has brought into your life which need you and aren’t going to change, for example: your spouse, young kids, aging parents, etc. The soft calls are the outer circles in your life that do change, such as job, ministry, and other relationships.
  • Finishing well. // Time management and prioritization applies to everyone. Pray about how God wants you to organize your spheres. Each person has to draw their own sphere, although it may help to speak with a spouse or family as they can help us pay attention to patterns of workaholism. Heavy seasons of ministry will have a sacrificial component to them, but it’s also important to make sure that your innermost circles are healthy. Finishing well is about having integrity in those inner areas.
  • Serving Beyond Borders. // Paula works with the non-profit Serving Beyond Borders which helps leaders and nationals in other parts of the world create leadership structures for church planting. They partner with existing ministries in other countries to reach out to the people in their communities.  

You can learn more about Radiant Church at www.weareradiant.com. You can also learn about Serving Beyond Borders at www.servingbeyondborders.org. You can hear more from Paula and her husband on the podcast, The Radical Christian Life with Doug and Paula, which can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway

If you are trying to find, develop and keep young leaders on your team look no further than Leadership Pathway. They have worked with hundreds of churches, and have interviewed thousands of candidates over the past several years. They are offering a new ebook about five of the core competencies that are at the heart of the leadership development process with every church that they partner with…just go to leadershippathway.org/unseminary to pick up this free resource.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.