I have been one of the pastors at Christ Fellowship for over a year now, but it wasn’t until 10 days ago that I truly realized what it meant to be caring for someone’s soul. It was exactly 10 days ago that my wife, Rebecca, and I brought a little girl (Eden) into this world and my life was changed forever. It changed my sleeping habits. It changed my eating schedule. And even seems to shut down the rest of the world, at least in my mind. My prayer though is that it shapes my role as a pastor more than anything.
Every man is called to be a pastor.
If you have a wife in the household than you are called to be a spiritual leader “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). You are called to wash your wife with “the washing of the word” and to lead her “in an understanding way” (Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 3:7). Your wife needs a caring and shepherding husband in the home.
If you have children than you are called to be the pastor of your children. In explaining how to appoint elders Paul states, “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?” The logic of this passage is if a man can’t lead the small church (his family) than how can he lead the big church (the local church)?
So the question is not if we are going to pastors or leaders of our family, but what kind of pastor will you be? Here are some roles of the pastor and how to apply them shepherding our children.
Evangelist –Timothy is encouraged to fulfill his role as a minister in 2 Timothy by “doing the work of an evangelist.” He is called to preach and spread the gospel to all those who have not believed in Christ. As a parent, our first and most important job as a shepherd is to teach them the gospel. There are 1.8 million people in the world who have never heard the gospel. And this is true for every child that is born into our homes. It’s our job, not the children’s ministry in the church, to share it with them.
Prayer- As we read Paul’s epistles we see a perfect example of a pastor who prays to the Lord for people that he is shepherding. He thanks the Lord for the people, prays for them to grow in grace, and even praises the Lord who is working in their life. As pastors of our families, we need to pray daily for the Lord to work mightily in our children’s lives and then give him praise when he does.
Preacher/Teacher- One of the most important roles as a pastor is to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). The early church took every step to free up the pastor to teach the word and to not be distracted by the lesser things (Acts 6). This should be of first importance to us as we shepherd our children as well. We should spend alot less time teaching our kids how to shoot a basketball and more time studying God’s Word.
Servant- Jesus words to the feuding disciples “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Translated to the home: Those who desire to be first in the house, must be the servant over the rest of the house. This means the father needs to get off the couch and get in the kitchen or in the laundry room. God is calling all fathers: serve your family rather than serving yourself.
Counselor/Chaplain- All faithful pastors visit and care for their sheep in the time of need. They speak truth into their lives when they struggling with doubt. They care for them when they are sick. The same is true for the children placed in our homes. Many fathers are quick to be passionate about their favorite sports team or to show devotion to their jobs. However, when it comes to their children they are hardly seem present. Show your children that you will be their to rejoice when they rejoice and to mourn when they mourn. That you want to not only know their struggles but to walk with them through their struggles.
Please pray that the gospel would be loved and treasured in every home of faithful fathers and husbands. For the big church (the local church) is only as strong as all the little churches (families) that build it.