Spiritual Leadership in the Christian Home
As the home goes, so goes the Lord’s church. The home is the very first institution created by the Lord, while Adam and Eve still dwelt in the Garden. This shows the importance God has placed upon the home.
The home is the basic building block of civilization. A civilization is only as strong as the homes of which it is composed. The home is even more essential to the Lord’s church than it is to society at large.
Therefore, it behooves us as Christians to do everything we can to strengthen our own families and thereby strengthen the Lord’s church.
When I came here, we had a different eldership than we do now. That group of elders handed over the leadership of the congregation to the elders we now have. This congregation was blessed to have a group of men who were ready to step into that role. These elders, although still relatively young, aren’t going to get any younger and one day they will need to step aside…
My question is: Who’s going to fill their shoes?
From where will the next generation of elders come?
Leaders are not born. Leaders are made. Leadership is a learned behavior. Leadership is only learned by experience.
Where are the men who lead the lord’s church to get that leadership experience? In the home!
- 1 Timothy 3:3-4
Husbands and fathers, as the heads of their respective homes must step up and become godly leaders for their families.
What Does God Expect of Husbands and Fathers in the Home?
God has set forth His plan for leadership in the home.
- 1 Corinthians 11
This section of scripture is specifically speaking to the role of men and women in the use of their various spiritual gifts in the assembly, but Paul only does so in making a specific application of the general rule.
- 1 Corinthians 11:3 sets forth the principle.
Christ is in subjection to the Father. Equal in nature, but in submission to the Father’s will.
The man is in subjection to Christ. Not equal in nature, by nature of that unequal relationship in submission to Christ.
The woman is in subjection to her own husband. Equal in nature. But, in submission to her husband’s will.
Why is it to be this way?
Because woman is of man.
- 1 Corinthians 11:7-8
- Genesis 2:23
Because woman is for the man.
- 1 Corinthians 11:9
- Genesis 2:18
Because woman is under subjection to man.
- 1 Corinthians 11:10
“for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head..” (ASV)
- Genesis 3:16
Since Adam, all men have a mother. So woman is of the man, and man of the woman. Both, however, are to be in subjection to God.
- 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
- 1 Timothy 2:12-14
Christ is the head of the man, man the head of woman, and the children to be under them. He expects him, the husband, to be in subjection to Christ. He expects him to be the spiritual leader of his home.
- Ephesians 5:22-23
“This statement may come as a surprise to those who have been used to place undue stress on a husband's authority over his wife. To be sure, he has that authority and should exercise it, but never in a domineering manner. The comparison with Christ as the head of the church reveals in what sense the husband is the wife's head. He is her head as being vitally interested in her welfare. He is her protector. His pattern is Christ who, as the head of the church, is its savior!”
"What Paul is saying, therefore, amounts to this: the wife should voluntarily submit herself to her husband whom God is appointed as her head. She should recognize that, in his capacity as her head, her husband is so closely United to her and so deeply concerned about her welfare that his relationship to her is patterned after the sacrificial interest of Christ at his church, which he purchased with his own blood!” — William Hendriksen, NT Commentary on Ephesians, p. 248.
He is to love his wife as his own body, and she is to have respect for him. But, he is to be sacrificial in his love toward his wife.
The Father is to Train in the Lord
One prominent role of a leader is to train, to teach or to disciple those he leads.
In the home the father is to be a nurturer and an admonisher.
- Ephesians 6:4
Nurture = “Denotes "the training of a child, including instruction"; hence, "discipline, correction," "chastening," Eph. 6:4, RV (KJV, "nurture"), suggesting the Christian discipline that regulates character” — Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Admonition = "the training by word," whether of encouragement, or, if necessary, by reproof or remonstrance. In contrast to this, the synonymous word [nurture] stresses training by act, though both words are used in each respect. — Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
He expects him to be a godly leader in the home. He expects him to be a godly husband to his wife.
- Ephesians 5:25-29
- Colossians 3:19
- 1 Peter 3:7
Love - “Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, and works no ill to any; love seeks opportunity to do good to 'all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,'(Vine)
"Christian husbands are to regard their faithful wives as precious and to assign to them the honor that is their due. The woman is called a "weaker vessel" not because of moral or intellectual weaknesses, but solely from the fact that she lacks the physical prowess commonly characteristic of man. The husband is exhorted to dwell with his wife in due consideration of the fact that she is physically weaker; and to regard her always as a fellow heir of the grace of life--life eternal- which awaits the faithful." — Guy N. Woods
That same word that Peter uses here in 1 Peter 3:7 is the same word that also applies in 1 Peter 1, regarding the blood of Christ. The husband should have a similar regard for his wife. He should never use his physical advantage over his wife. There is no excuse whatsoever for a man to abuse his wife. He is to live with her in understanding, understanding her role in the home as a wife.
He Expects Him to be a Spiritual Role Model to His Family
- Ephesians 6:1-4
- Colossians 3:21
Show them by your example how to live faithfully.As a husband and father, you will make many mistakes as you progress as a leader and role model.
Your wife and kids will often know when you commit sin. They are watching and miss very little and have fully developed little “hypocrisy detectors.”
Here’s a thought: They will often see it when you sin and just as often, they need to see it when you repent!When you sin in their presence: Confess it. Apologize. Repent from it. Ask them to pray for you.
What a powerful example you can set for your family – to not be ashamed to admit your faults, acknowledge your sin, pray for forgiveness and move on.
Some Practical Suggestions that will Help Men Grow into Godly Leaders in the Home
It is vitally important that we understand, we cannot be a godly leader in the home until we first learn to be an imitator or follower of God. One cannot lead until he has firmly grasped the concept of follower-ship. Even Christ needed to “learn” obedience!
- Hebrews 5:8-9
Learned = "to learn by use and practice, to acquire the habit of, be accustomed to," — Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Jesus was subject to his parents.
- Luke 2:51-52
A father cannot make disciples of his children until he himself has become a faithful disciple of Christ. Fathers in the home need to set the example of faithfulness to God. A godly father says with Paul, “Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ…” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Look to great godly examples of leadership and emulate them: Abraham, as a leader in his home, is an example worthy of imitation.
- Genesis 18:19
He would command his children and his household after him. “Command” = “The sense of the establishment of a rule by which a subordinate is to act in every recurring similar situation…” (Vine)
Abraham would set forth godly principle that would enable his family to know how to behave in any given circumstance. Abraham would teach those principles to his family, but he would also model them for his family, thus the statement, “after him.”
In so teaching, by word and deed, Abraham would lead his family in keeping the way of the Lord. To walk in the way of the Lord, means to be a follower of the Lord, to walk after Him; to develop a godly character. He would lead them and teach them “to do justice and judgment.”
He would teach them how to live soberly, righteously and godly in the world.
Prepare Your Mind to Know God's Word
- Ezra 7:10
Ezra first prepared his heart (his mind) in the knowledge of God’s word. Fathers, we need to put forth the effort to know God’s word; there is no shortcut to it!
- 2 Timothy 2:15 ASV
Ezra then implemented God’s word in his own life. A father must not be one who says one thing and does another. He must be an example in word and deed. Ezra was able to lead his nation in God’s ways. He was able to do so because he first had a thorough understanding of the precepts of God and because he was a model of pure religion for his nation.
Likewise, the father in the home is to be a leader in and teacher of godly living for his family.
Be a teacher or facilitator of Teaching
Make every opportunity a “teachable moment.”
- Deuteronomy 6:6-8
We will teach our children at every opportunity. Make every moment that you can a teachable moment. They go by so fast and you only have so many opportunities to teach. Don't waste your time.
- Family devotionals
- Attend as many Gospel meetings / lectureships with your family as possible.
To be a godly leader, a man must first learn to be a follower of Jesus Christ. To be a godly wife, or a godly single person or a godly young person you must become a disciple of Jesus Christ. You must become a Christian.
To become a Christian, when you hear and believe in the Word of God. And believing, you choose to amend your ways and repent of your sins confessing Jesus as the Son of God. And repenting, you are buried in baptism to have your sins washed away. And, then, walking a new life, living faithfully as a servant of God.