It’s a common mistake among those who feel called to plant and pastor churches: some men are willing to lead the church before they lead their families. In fact, some guys seem willing to lead the church to the detriment of their families! Both options are unacceptable to God. He poses a question that offers no multiple choice answers:
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? (1 Timothy 1:4-5)
One of the most striking things about the biblical qualifications for pastors is Scripture’s assumption that the home reveals and validates the leader. Paul is crystal clear on this:
- “the husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6)
- “hospitable” (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8)
- “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive” (1 Tim 3:4)
- “…his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination” (Titus 1:6)
And it’s no secret that many of the other qualifications Paul mentions will be tested and revealed – repeatedly and inescapably at home:
- “self-controlled” (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8)
- “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2)
- “not…arrogant or quick-tempered” (Titus 1:7)
- “upright, holy, and disciplined” (Titus 1:8)
Even a scan of Paul’s lists shows that the quickest way to determine whether a man is called to lead a church is to take a reading on how effectively he leads his wife and children. If he leads well, their voices will rise to confirm his call and testify to his credibility.
The home is a microcosm of the church. If a man can’t lead his home effectively, how will he lead a church?