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Conflicting Values Create Stress at Home

Question: My pastor/spouse wants me to go find a job so we can pay off our college and seminary loans. The problem is that our two sons are three years old and one-and-a-half years old. I always dreamed of staying home with my children until they began school. I do agree with my spouse that it is hard to live off one salary, especially in our high-cost living area, but I don’t want to leave our boys with a babysitter or at a daycare center. What do you recommend? Happy-at-home ministry spouse


Response: We can understand your desire to remain at home with your very young sons. Many studies show how the bonding and emotional connections established with our children in the first five to seven years of life are the most critical in their physical and emotional development. In a recently concluded study of ministerial families, by Andrews University, financial stress was actually found to be the number one stressor for the pastors, spouses and adult children polled.

We encourage you and your spouse to reach out for financial coaching, grounded in biblical financial principles. There are many Christian financial ministries which offer free or very low-cost strategies to tackle debt, even on a modest income. Some to consider are www.crown.org; www.cfcswf.org; and www.familylifecredit.org

You also may want to discover creative ways to generate some income while you stay at home and raise your boys. You may want to share this dilemma with your local conference ministerial director. The fact that you are a young couple with educational loans to pay off, very young children to raise, and who lives in a high-cost living area may qualify you to receive special consideration for relocation to a lower-cost-of-living area in your conference. Your local ministerial director also may have local financial coaching resources or solutions for your dilemma. 
Carolann and César De León