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We think it can - when it's a night dedicated solely and purposefully for your family.

Both of us grew up as pastors' kids, so we've seen from both angles how ministry constantly demands your time. There's always someone else who needs to hear about Christ and always someone else you need to serve.

More important than a few stellar memories, family night weaved a string of threads for our family that binds us together to this day.

So it's easy to keep working constantly even to the neglect of your family. We've all been there, and we know what that's like. You're doing all these good things while the best things are growing up and walking out the door.

Create A Family Night
That's why we decided to start a specific family night in our home while our children were still small.

We wanted a time together where we would could shut out the rest of the world and just concentrate on each other, where we could rest and reconnect as a family. We wanted our kids to know that they didn't always have to share mom and dad with the church.

Since we're usually worn out after a weekend of ministry, we take Mondays off, which is why we thought it would be the perfect night for family night. But you can pick any night you want.

Family night became sacred on our calendar. No one was allowed to schedule other meetings or get distracted in any way. It became a habit within our household.

To add some flair and creativity, we decided to let everyone in the family have a voice as to what we would do on family night. We rotated the choice between all five members, so that dad got to pick what we would do one night, big brother on another - until we'd completed the rotation.

Everyone Took A Turn
If it was your night, you were able to decide what the entire family would do. That might mean picking the meal or picking the restaurant, going to the movies, heading to the beach, walking through the mall. Beyond the obvious budgetary constraints, the sky was the limit.

Because we believed that God wanted us to make our family a priority, even bowling became a way to worship Him.

On family night we had one firm rule: No one else was allowed to complain about the choices made by another family member. If you didn't want to do tacos and a movie, then you kept quiet about it and made your own choices when your turn came.

We felt this honored everyone's differences, and it also allowed each family member to be king or queen for the night. By submitting to each other's choices, we were honoring each other.

Family night allowed us to look each other in the eye as we listened to the dreams and plans of each individual. We could hear what our kids were thinking and how they were processing, and they could see us deliberately slow down for them.

Naturally, we had arguments within the family. Sometimes you'd hear a door slam and someone would say, "This is going to be a great family night." Yet, our commitment to spending one night a week as a family forced us to compromise so we could enjoy our evening. And our goal was simply to have fun together. We never allowed family night to turn into the "family problem-solving time."

More important than a few stellar memories, family night weaved a string of threads for our family that binds us together to this day. In fact, as our kids left for college, they often wanted to come back for family night, and our oldest, Amy, still comes occasionally with her husband.

We are a family and have remained so by purposefully creating a family time that is restful, rejuvenating and replenishing.

Family Night Tips
• Keep it simple
• Make it fun
• Respect it on the calendar
• Don't make it "family problem solving night"
• Let everyone have "their night"
• Don't complain if you don't like the activity chosen
• Talk to each other

This article is used by permission from Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox
by Rick Warren. More information available at

Author Biography

Rick Warren
Web site:
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Beginning with just his wife, Kay, in 1980, the congregation now averages 22,000 attendees at its 5 weekend services.

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