If there's one qualification for men in ministry that should get us on our faces before God, it is this one from 1 Timothy 3:4, "he must manage his own household well." Not too long ago, I walked through 1st and 2nd Timothy with a good friend of mine who will soon graduate from seminary. As we met for encouragement and accountability, my goal was simply this: To more clearly understand our role as pastors and grow in Christ-like character. Each week we read and meditated on one chapter, writing down observations, questions, and specific applications. Along with this, we encouraged each other to memorize 1-2 verses from each chapter. One of those was 1 Timothy 3:4-5.
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?
As you know, this is just one of the qualifications for elders listed in 1 Timothy, but in my opinion, seems most neglected. In an effort to build a successful ministry. many pastors abdicate their responsibility to their families. They are so busy with the church that they forget about the home.
Jonathan Dodson rightly asserts,
This is a disqualification for pastoral ministry. It puts the cart before the horse, church before family. Some of us need to repent both privately and publicly over this sin.
Dodson goes on to say that we can't mistake generally problem free households for well-managed households. He says,
My kids have a pretty good tempermants, but am I managing—protectively and caringly leading—my family practically and spiritually? Am I modeling and cultivating tenderness, respect, and obedience? Or am I just coasting on good kid temperament? Do I take time to instruct my children with patience and love? Do I pray with them and teach them about Jesus? Do I spend time with my wife away from the kids discussing family life and just delighting in her?
These are questions we must ask ourselves--that I must ask myself. Scripture is clear: If we can't manage our own household well, how can we care for God's church? May God give us the grace we so desperately need to be doers of this word.