CHURCH BUSINESS: Leaders, what is your home front like?
By Oludare Mayowa
Are you a Pastor, church leader, or playing a leading role in any spiritual organisation? Are you under scrutiny and being judged harshly by your followers, members of your church, or people from outside the organisation? Are members of your households, particularly children and spouses under intense criticism by your congregations as a result of their perceived misdemeanors?
Firstly, be assured that you are not alone in this as the trend to put people in positions of spiritual leadership on high pedestrian and being subjected to high moral expectations by the society and those who follow and watch them closely has been with us from time immemorial.
It’s important to also note that such expectations that those who have spiritual authority should be able to enforce high moral discipline on those under their watch and ensure conformity to the tenet of the scripture which they espouse daily are genuine.
I must also say that this is in line with the scriptural prescriptions and expectations from those who aspire to be leaders in the church.
In the book of 1Timothy 3:4-5, the scripture prescribed that aspiring leaders must be; “one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence.
For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God? Also, verse 12 of the same chapter stated that; “Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”
In the book of Genesis 18:19, it was written that; “For I know him (Abraham), that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Ok, now that we have seen the Biblical basis for the huge expectations and criticisms that have followed some church leaders in terms of the way their spouses or children are turning out and perhaps come short of the societal expectation of moral perfection. Let’s look at issues around this and what leaders should do to ensure conformity with the word of God concerning their households.
How often have you secretly judge yourself harshly based on what you perceived as your personal failure on the home front or how much of the criticism do you allowed to get into you and distract you from doing what you ought to do in the ministry?
In my many years in the ministry, both as a child who grew up within the Church circle and being a church leader myself, I have discovered that many of those criticisms of leaders in the church pertaining to the behaviour of their wards and spouses are not founded in genuine concern or desire to see things done properly.
I have also discovered that most of those who lead in such moral attack on church leaders and their households are themselves moral renege who have woefully failed to remove the log of wood in their own eyes before asking for the removal of the spec in the church leaders’ eyes.
This is not an attempt to play down on the fact that there are some leaders who have failed in their calling to put their household in order and in the right perspective and ensuring conformity with the scripture.
It’s not also an attempt to castigate those who criticize church leaders for not doing what they ought to do to have firm control over their households.
The purpose of this message is to reach out to fellow leaders in the ministry who are struggling with such guilt and proffer some way out for them and relieve them of their struggle to enable them face the work of the ministry and fulfill their God given purpose in life.
There are some examples in the scripture of how children of some great spiritual leaders such as Prophets Eli, Samuel and kind David ended up bringing reproach to their parents.
Perhaps this has become an anchor for the critics of church leaders who have come to the conclusion that it was destined for children of spiritual leaders to end up badly in the format of Eli and Samuel’s children.
It’s important for today’s leaders to learn from the mistake of past leaders, who focus more on ministering to others and neglect their own household and inadvertently causing their homes to derail from the path of God.
It’s also important to note that there are also some children of spiritual leaders who follow the path their father enlisted them and live a fulfilled life pleasing to God and that should be the desire of today’s leaders.
First of all, we must be intentional in our leadership both at home and in the church in ensuring that those who God has brought under our watch are genuinely nurtured in the way of the Lord.
But this must start from ourselves being a good leader to ourselves in terms of training ourselves to obey the word of God and focusing on pleasing Him in all circumstance and at all time without compromising what we stand for as a result of the love for material things.
Spiritual leaders must recognize the fact that their first ministry is their home, that there is no ministry that is greater than the one under their roof and that it’s the success of their home ministry that would translate to the growth of their wider ministry.
A leader who has not led his or her own household successfully will merely bring reproach to the name of his master and cut short his ministry.
Leaders should first lead the church in their home with the humility it all deserve, promote the culture of love in the home front, show examples of purity in their closet, and ensuring that the home is governed in righteousness first before demanding right living from others.
Leaders should learn to shield their families away from the hawks, those who are constantly seeking to see their home in tattered and be conscious of the fact that they have the overall responsibility for their home and should not delegate the responsibility to maid or any other person.
A good and well groomed home add value to the work of the ministry and brings honour to the name of the Lord. So leaders in the ministry should pay greater attention to their home front as their advance in the ministry and ensure that their household will not be sources of reproach to the work of God.