Church leaders must also lead at home
It is a sobering exercise to read through the qualifications for leadership in the church that Paul lists in 1 Timothy 3. Sobering because the bar is set high for those who would be called by God to shepherd his flock. Sobering because those qualifications are so easily set aside by churches today. Sobering because the consequences of elevating expedience over excellence (of character) are devastating. After all, the church will rise to the level of its leadership.
Paul chooses to explain only one of the 15 qualifications for church leadership, namely that the elders must be men who are managing their households well, having their children in submission with all reverence. Then Paul asks, “For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” How do we know a man is ready to stand before the church as a leader? Look at his children. Alexander Strauch writes, “The key measurement when evaluating a man’s management of his household is his children’s behavior.” Donald Guthrie said, “Any man unable to govern his children graciously and gravely by maintaining good discipline, is no man for government in the church.” Let’s face it, men. There are many of us who are simply unconcerned when it comes to the training and the discipline of our children. Not only are some men not leading, but also they aren’t even participating. As long as their wives are present riding herd on the children, things are fairly calm but maybe never in order. But heaven forbid that she should leave the children in his charge. He doesn’t have a clue, and furthermore is not even interested. He may even justify his lack of control over his children’s behavior by saying he has more important things to do, like study the Word or talk to the other men about weighty spiritual matters. All the while, little Johnny is running through the halls, terrorizing the other children in the church.
As Paul implies in this passage, some men simply do not know how to lead their family and train their children. The truth is, none of us really knew how to raise children when we first became fathers, did we? That’s why we must be men who will read and who will ask questions. Read the Bible, and ask godly fathers how they do it. Read good books on being a man of God and ask men of God how they do it.
One man of God who can help us learn to be good fathers and husbands is Norm Wakefield from Bulverde, Texas. Norm will be teaching a conference at Antioch Church this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12, and the public is invited. His messages will appeal to singles, married couples, and our children. Norm will speak Friday night at 7 p.m. on “An Eternal Perspective,” Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on “Anchored in Christ,” and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on “Imperishable Relationships.” Here’s a description of his Saturday morning session: “Do you ever feel like you’re weathering a Category 5 hurricane as you attempt to raise your children? Learn how to get anchored in Christ so you can withstand whatever comes your way and lead your children to do the same.”
Admission is free; a love offering will be received. I would love to meet many of you who faithfully read my columns and also fellowship with you as we learn from this godly man. You can read more about Norm and this conference at http://normwakefield.eventbrite.com. I hope to see you there.