Loving and Leading in The Home and Church

“This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”  Ephesians 5:32-33

Love and Lordship in Focus…There is an irrefutable connection and order in God’s Word and design between marriage and Christ’s Church. We would do well to consider this and teach and act accordingly in our homes and in our churches.

(1 Timothy 3:1-7)

God’s Word clearly describes seven general qualifications for servant-leaders in Christ’s Church outlined in the above Scripture focused on mature faith, personal character and Godly relationships:

1) The husband of one wife (v. 2). For most of church history this meant no polygamy or divorce.  Polygamy is still strongly rejected but many churches have chosen leaders who have been divorced and remarried.  While subject to interpretation, when we look at the strong teachings regarding marriage, family and relational servant-leadership in God’s Word, I think the first church and, for the most part, the church throughout history interpreted it correctly and excluded those who have been divorced from elder and deacon roles.  This does not preclude divorcees from other service in His Church with all servant-leadership rooted in humility and love above all else.  When pastoral, preaching and teaching roles are separated from these spiritual leadership roles then churches could possibly interpret these roles as still being available and filled by divorcees.

2) He should necessarily be an older person as the Greek word for elder, presbyteros, (Titus 1:5) literally means an older person or advanced in years or life (v. 2 – overseer or bishop). With first century life expectancies likely shorter than ours today as well as younger marrying ages, we are better off to apply the principle as to a stage of life rather than a specific age based on the other requirements listed below, in particular that of maturity in the faith and servant-leading our families. In other words, an elder may have fully grown and married children and even had grandchildren by their late 30s or early 40s. That stage today would likely be 10 – 12 years later. These ages are a guideline not a mandate.

3) Ability to teach and lead or shepherd – ability to teach is specifically mentioned and scholars agree that a key role and definition of an overseer or elder is shepherding – (v. 2).

4) Personal maturity and behavior – must be mature and disciplined, above reproach, in his own behavior personally, relationally, financially, and spiritually, including the husband of one wife – see 1) above (vv. 2-3).

We continue with the qualifications for those who desire a good thing, i.e., to be a servant-leader in Christ’s Church. In order to attain to these positions in His Church one must…

5) Be mature in the faith – strong in his faith and not a young believer so he is not prone to pride and easily lured away by the flesh and the world (v. 6).

6) Have a good testimony in the community – reputation here is not by façade or hypocrisy but must be clear evidence to others in the community and church of a life well lived (v. 7).

7) Be able to relationally servant-lead his family – he must be one who lovingly and consistently serves and leads his marriage, wife, and children in line with Scriptural teachings on authority. He must set before his family a good example of servant-leadership. If he can’t serve and lead his own family then how can he lead Christ’s family? (vv. 4-5).  Include on this day… “You, Me and Jesus” by Arbor North…

Far too often, leaders in churches are selected on qualifications 2) – 6) as they are applied to their workplace or community, or even within church functions and programs, but only lip service is given to the marriage relationship and the relational servant-leadership required in the home. This has been confirmed over and over again by pastors, elders, and deacons—not to mention their wives—as I have spoken on this topic.

Food for Thought…Are we seeking and training servant-leaders in our homes and for our churches according to God’s Word and criteria…or are we seeking those who’ve been trained by the world and selecting those who’ve been successful according to cultural criteria? The former does not necessarily exclude the latter but unfortunately the latter often takes priority over or is chosen instead of the former. What about your home and church?

Love in Action

  1. 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.
  2. Be honest with yourself as to what is revealed by His Word and Spirit.
  3. Are you leading according to God’s Word and defining of authority or according to the world’s? In your home? Workplace? Church?
  4. What do you need to change, if anything, to be a Kingdom leader in all the places that God has given you to lead? 

Love and Lordship Prayer Focus…Heavenly Father, help me to lead in Love and Humility which is true authority according to Christ and in His Kingdom. Help me to do so in my marriage, family, in His Church and wherever You place me in this world. In Jesus Name. Amen.