God’s Order for Home and Church
As we continue with the Biblical foundation and application for relational servant-leadership, let’s take a look at God’s design for Christ’s Church growing out of the loving relationships of family. Here are some quotes and Scriptures to “set the table” for us…
“Strength of character may be acquired at work, but beauty of character is learned at home. There the affections are trained. There the gentle life reaches us, the true heaven life. In one word, the family circle is the supreme conductor of Christianity.” — Henry Drummond
“Every family (marriage implied) is a little church.” — Dennis Rainey (Parentheses added)
In line with God’s Word and order, if we are not paying attention to our little churches (marriages and families), then it matters little how big our big churches get. In other words, it doesn’t really matter the size or supposed influence of our “big” churches if we are not building strong marriages, families and relationships.
“He (a potential leader) must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?).” 1 Timothy 3:4-5 (First parentheses mine and added)
Therein lies much of the struggles and problems in today’s modern churches that are doing many things in The Lord’s name but very few truly know Him as Lord. When we do not encourage, disciple and hold accountable for strong, loving relationships in our marriages, homes and families we will not have strong loving relationships nor relational servant-leaders in our churches. We will have leaders that reflect the community standards and successes and that’s what many of our churches have become…corporate “successes” rather than Christ’s Family.
And remember what His agape (sacrificial, selfless, self-giving Love) is and that true Authority is serving as an overflow of agape. In His Kingdom this is the only way we identify and train loving leaders!
God’s design and desire is for a loving family, not a corporate success. This can only be done by the indwelling of The Holy Spirit in our lives, homes and churches!
Marriage, Family and Servant-leadership in Christ’s Church
In God’s Covenant design, how are we to build the loving fellowship of believers called out as His Church except that we first, just as He did in creation and throughout His Word, begin with the loving relationships of marriage and family? This is where both love and leadership are trained and matured in God’s design and according to His Word. When we miss it in our marriages and families the church is crippled. Today’s church is crippled!
Following are Scriptures that clearly show us that Christ’s Church is a Family, a Household of Believers, and that we are to build His Church as a Family…not a corporation:
Galatians 6:10 (household of the faith); Ephesians 2:19-22 (God’s household); 1 Timothy 3:5 (household or family, church), 1 Timothy 3:15 (household of God); 1 Peter 4:17 (household of God) and all point to God’s design and purpose in creating us in His image, lived out in loving relationships in our families and in His family, Christ’s Church.
This is why I believe the enemy battles so fervently to bring down our marriages and families. I also believe it is why he sits back and mockingly laughs when we do not prioritize our marriages and homes in helping to build Godly relationships that strengthen His Family, the Church. Home is where we learn to love, lead and disciple, and the Church benefits from focusing on and helping husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, to do so. It is not enough to just attend church and youth group and related activities and share a few good messages. It requires discipleship and effort in the context of building loving relationships.
Let us love in our homes to strengthen the love in The Family of Christ!
Loving and Leading in The Home and Church
In our book, The Authority of Love, there are several real life stories of misplaced priorities in our churches where there was very little, if any, discipleship, love, and leadership in line with God’s Word. The culture and our churches are evidence we are failing to train and select leaders from our homes; rather, we are choosing to find those who are successful in the culture and we are being led exactly where such leaders will lead.
The church in America has become so culturally relevant that it has become culturally irrelevant.
The modern-day American church has become so concerned about reaching the culture that we have compromised on numerous issues to the point that we look much like the culture. While Christ certainly was in the culture, He was careful not, in any way, to compromise His message or His lifestyle to accommodate those in it. He made a point to pray that all those who believed in His Word would do the same, stating specifically that we be set apart from the world (see John 17:13-21).
We want so much to be liked and for His message to be well received, we do whatever we can to get the culture to like and accept it. In doing so, there is very little difference in what they see in our churches and it is easily dismissed as irrelevant. I believe this is with good intent but it’s led to questionable results at best, and bad results at worst, when it comes to Kingdom fruit…disciples of Christ in loving relationships!
God forgive us as we repent and seek His face to follow His commands for building loving relationships from which we can lead His Church. Paul wrote a letter to Timothy to take to the churches he had planted that is just as relevant and applicable to our families, churches and leaders today if we will heed the Word of The Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 3:1-7, emphasis vv. 4-5)
The above Scripture text gives us the character and foundation for identifying and selecting those who are to lead in Christ’s Church. We’ll continue with more on this in the following weeks.
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – In order to build loving relationships and develop relational servant-leaders in our churches we must encourage, build and hold accountable for Godly marriages and families. Marriage and family in Christ’s Kingdom are not exclusively private relationships. They are functions of, and contributors to, our public and community relations and influence…and that is never more true than in Christ’s Church.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) –
- Read the Scriptures in this article. Ask The Spirit to show you where you’ve been loving and leading according to the world or according to His Word.
- Be honest with yourself as to what is revealed by His Word and Spirit.
- Make a list of those areas where you have conformed to the world in loving and leading and commit to changing to do so in line with God’s Word.
- Pray and ask The Lord for strength to lay down any pride and act in humility.