Why Does Having Disobedient Children Unfit a Man for Church Leadership?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Why does having disobedient children unfit a man for church leadership?
While children are little the father is responsible for what they do.
I don't think a pastor can be held completely responsible for what his adult children do, because God himself has rebellious children. Nevertheless, right parenting can produce a well-organized, respectful, obedient home while the children are smaller.
So what you're looking for as a church when you assess a man for the office of elder/pastor is evidences in his children and in his marriage that he is a good, loving, strong, organized, and thoughtful manager. You want to see that he knows how to both bless, love, kiss and hug a child as well as discipline a child so that they learn appropriate reverence and obedience.
And you can see that in children. Do they run wild and does he feel helpless around them? Or do they have a sense of respect and obedience so that when daddy looks and waves his finger they stop what they're doing. And you can tell whether he is helpless at home to bring that about or not.
I do want to be honest and say that with older children, of course, you can't take full responsibility for all the rebellion that might rise up in a child's heart. But when they're little you certainly can detect whether a man is applying good, fatherly, responsible discipline that keeps his child respectful, obedient and submissive.
We don't deny a man a position on the pastorate or on the council of elders solely because he seems unfit to lead a flock if he can't lead his family. It's also because he needs to go back to his family, spend more time there, and get it in order. So if we find a man who looks like he would make a good elder but there are some difficulties in his family, we say "Let's come alongside you and help you make this what it ought to be." And then it might turn around and he could become a very good leader.
The same would apply to his marriage. If it is in trouble, you want to come alongside him and help get it right, not just say, "OK, you can't be a leader. See ya later." Rather, we want to say, "Oh, we've detected something of pain and something of disappointment here. Let us come alongside you and work with you to make this marriage what it ought to be."