Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spiritual Leadership in the Home

I just had a fantastic conversation with a brother about spiritual leadership in the home. Now, some of you may think my focus on spiritual leadership may be a bit over-zealous, or possibly even trite, but let me share with you why I think it is so important.

I started this Blog because I was a horrible husband. At least that’s how I saw it. The book Reforming Marriage teaches that the husband/father is the leader, whether he leads or not. His leadership is either marked by discipline or abdication, but it is impossible for the man to not be the leader. It would be like saying it was possible for the CEO to not be the CEO. He is the CEO even if he is out playing golf all day while the company sits in ruins. Our culture associates leadership with activities and not with an office. While there is clearly truth that many people who do not have the office of “leader” often display leadership characteristics, this does not remove the importance of the office of leader. As a husband, my office is that of leader. As Christ is the head (which means ‘responsible leader’) of the church so I am to be the head of my wife/family (Eph 5:23).

So anyway, I started this blog because my stupid, youthful, notion of ‘egalitarian leadership’ was falling apart around me. Turns out, my wife didn’t want me to throw decisions back in her lap, she didn’t want to live in a democracy, she wanted a husband! Well, duh. God providentially placed some men in my life who began showing me what scripture says about leadership in the home as well as some practical applications. They taught me that I was going to be held accountable before God for how I led my family.

Over the next few days I’ll go over various things I have learned, but here’s one to start us off.

You, husband, are responsible for the spiritual shepherding of your wife and family. Just as a pastor will be held accountable for how he taught and led his church, so the husband is required to pastor his family (see the connection between the pastor and the husband made here: 1 Tim 3:3-4). This does not mean you have to prepare a bible study for your family every night (which would not be bad), but you do have to be involved. Do you know if your wife is reading her bible? If so, do you know what part she is reading? What does she think about it? How is she being challenged to grow by it? Same goes for your kids. Do you follow up? If they aren’t reading, how are you going to get them to read?

Of course none of the above is worth anything if you aren’t leading by example. You can’t teach if you haven’t been taught. Your spiritual walk is the most important thing for your family. If you are drowning in sin, there is a good chance they will follow right behind you. It is more important than your workout. It is more important than your “guy-time.” Your example is the one your children will emulate.

If you are trying to help your family with their bible reading, consider a few tips. 1) Start small. All you have to do at first is to get them to read a bit. Go over a few verses at night and pray about them. It’s even better if they are the same verses you did for your quiet time that morning. You can share how God has used those verses in your day. 2) When it comes to your wife, just ask. She wants to talk about what she is thinking and reading. She loves it when you ask. Make sure you know where she is at. 3) stay consistent. It is way better to spend 7min each night reading and praying together than to spend 30min for a week and then stop because the time is too long or it is too difficult to prepare.

Spiritual leadership in the home isn’t important because it creates a “successful marriage and family.” It’s important because God said it’s important. This is not a levels-of-success discussion, this is an obedience discussion. We will all fail time and again, but it is important to continue to work towards obedience. Remember: Obedience is your part, growing spiritual fruit is God’s.

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