Dayton Moore, general manager of the Kansas City Royals, had a friend who asked him from time to time how his team was doing. Moore would begin talking about his baseball team and the friend would respond, “No, you idiot, … your team at home”—reminding Moore that his faithfulness as a husband and father mattered more than any wins or losses on the baseball diamond.
When the apostle Paul summed up God’s requirements for the church’s pastoral leaders, part of his message to would-be pastors seems to have been, “No, you idiot, … your team at home.”
Paul wrote a single extended sentence—six verses in English translations—listing the qualifications for a pastor (1 Timothy 3:2–7). He spent two of those six verses spelling out specific expectations related to the leader’s household (1 Timothy 3:4–5).
Think about that structure for a moment.
Paul plowed through administrative and teaching skills in only a few words, yet he invested nearly one-third of this text in issues related to the pastor’s home life!
The Vital Importance of Our “Team at Home”
Why such a focus on the pastor’s family?
The apostle’s Spirit-inspired response is that, if leaders can’t lead their own households, how can they possibly guide God’s household? (1 Timothy 3:5). Simply put, what we as Christian leaders accomplish for God beyond our homes will typically never be greater than what we practice with God within our homes.
This does not mean that we should turn our children or spouses into perfectly-ordered pawns in our own personal publicity campaigns! Even in the homes of the church’s best leaders, diapers still get full, and gas tanks still get empty. Words are spoken that should never even have been thought, and children make choices that are far from cherubic. And yet, even with these challenges and more, every Christian household can become a context where the gospel is rehearsed and where parents and children alike confess their failures and learn to turn to Jesus. Particularly in the families of church leaders, parents must be deeply engaged in guiding their children toward godliness and the gospel.
Discuss in the Comments:
Particularly if you are a church leader, what do you do consistently to disciple your spouse and children? Are these practices consistent and intentional? Do your children, in particular, sense that you and your spouse are shaping them to become more like Jesus? If someone asked your children, “What do your parents do to help you to learn about Jesus and to love him more?” what do you think your children might say? Would their answers be limited to what you do with them at church, or would they be able to point to particular practices of discipleship in your home?