The following is my reply to my good friend in Texas who me some questions about the pastor having his home in order.
Can you expand on your statement " No home, no ministry" I have heard that before but I was wondering what you were meaning by it. How do you see the family in the life of a pastor? I have heard a pastor say that his children were a "blessing but also a burden". It is true that children do place burdens on our hearts at times but he said that because of the children that he could not serve the Lord the way he wanted. What are your thoughts on this?
The following was my response
1 Timothy 3:4-5 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);
Titus 1:6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
If your house is not in order, you need to set aside your ministry duties until it is. Perhaps this is why having paid pastors is such a danger. They can’t quit their ministry because often times, they have no ability or work ethic to succeed in the workplace. Not saying that pastors shouldn’t be paid, just more evidence for the need of a plurality of elders.
The pastor is to be an example to the congregation. He should be able to demonstrate that food is not his god (not fat). He should be a man of fasting not feasting. He should model how to train children in the way they should go. Luk 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. What parents do in moderation, children will do in excess. This requires that he spends time with them, modeling proper behavior in front of them and spending time with them raising them in the faith. If he is lazy or working all the time so that they set in front of video games and TV, and they spend countless hours with the neighbor kids, they will disqualify him from ministry. Evil communication corrupts good manners. If he doesn’t have a Christ honoring marriage, oh dear...
There is a ditch on both sides of the type of home God requires for elders:
A taskmaster will have children who grow up and can’t wait to get out of the house. His children will have anger issues. They can never please dad or do anything right. The girls will get a boyfriend very early, pregnant before marriage and get married to the first guy who shows any kind of interest. This elder will rule people too harshly in the church and run off any man with leadership potential because it threatens his authority.
In the other ditch is the sissy pants, he will have his wife running things. (and women running most of the church) His wife will be outspoken at all the congregational meetings and have a big mouth. That is why there are qualifications for the wives too. Children, esp. boys who grow up in homes where momma is the boss (in spiritual matters at least) will be rebellious and worldly. They will want to take the easy way out in matters like daddy does instead of being a man (quit ye like men, be strong) and disciplined in areas of godliness. The boys will tend to be very feminine or at least very lazy. (slobs)
Raising godly children and having a wife who knows her role and feels cherished takes astonishing amounts of time and discipline. That means husbands can’t be playboys in love with the world. They have to be devoted to their homes. The problem is not solved when
daddy is home but ‘not really home’. Dad home and working all the time, surfing the internet or just playing without his wife and kids might be even worse than if he were never home. His kids will want nothing to do with him and resent him.
Communication is absolutely essential. Husband and wife must communicate and dad better be listening.
I seriously doubt whether a man can have his home in order when cable tv and Hollywood movies are standard fare. I also think sending your kids to the public school will eventually destroy your ministry. The devil will exploit any areas of weakness in an elder. His family is target number one. If a man cannot shepherd them in the paths of righteousness, how in the world will he do it for others? That is what I mean by, No home, no ministry. As I write this, I think- God have mercy on me as I have a long way to go and a short time to get there.
It is true that children do place burdens on our hearts at times ,Yes of course. A quiver full of straight arrows is a blessing from God, but do you know how hard it is to get an arrow straight enough to be used in combat? But if he said that because of the children that he could not serve the Lord the way he wanted If he means that it is his children's fault, I would disagree.
Disciples become like their teacher. God doesn't need anybody to serve him and he certainly isn't losing sleep over, "If only pastor so and so could serve me like I wanted." But perhaps this guy is being humble. If my children become accused of riot and unruly, I would too say that because of my children, I cannot serve God in the way that I want. But I would also admit that it is my fault for training them so poorly and not rasing them as I should have.
"But God has unfaithful children to." Yes, and a lot of times they prove to be bastards and not sons. Also, God takes steps to bring about their repentance. For whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges many times. When we have disobedient children we take the necessary steps to see their repentance. Sometimes that means quitting the ministry. I think of Eli.