Crossroad Bible Study

March 24th, 2009

Family management

Posted by Anna S in Uncategorized  Tagged 1 Timothy 3

If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?

I don’t really know what to think about this bit.    When I was younger, I would have consigned this passage to the “yeah, whatever Paul!” category in my mind.  But now I think that it is something worth grappling with.

I think it is hugely important for people in leadership to have the support of their family.   And there have been plenty of people in leadership who have come to grief through the actions of their family members.  Having said that …

When I was growing up, there was a lovely Godly couple in my church that were involved in lots of areas of the church life – particularly stuff to do with kids ministry.   One day I asked Mum why Mr Cox wasn’t an elder (he seemed like the ideal elder-type).  Her answer was that he didn’t feel that his children were good enough for him to meet the criteria of 1 Tim 3.  I thought that was a bit harsh.  For one thing, all his kids were adults by that stage.  And furthermore, they were all adopted.  But I had a tremendous amount of respect for Mr and Mrs Cox, so I didn’t question it further.

My own family isn’t exactly a shining example of a Good Family Management.  Over the years that my parents have been involved in youth ministry, there have been a few people that have decided to remove their boys from Boys’ Brigade on the basis that “if the Seccombe’s can’t keep their own son under control, how are they going to be able to discipline MY boy?”.  So from that respect you could argue that their ministry has been less effective because they haven’t complied with 1 Tim 3.  But on the other hand, there have been others that have appreciated my parent’s honest struggle with stuff (particularly if their own sons have become difficult).

Does anyone have any thoughts on this??

One Response to ' Family management '

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  1.    Hannah Venable said,

    on April 7th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    These are some good, and hard, questions. I am glad that you brought them up. It is certainly hard to know when a child doesn’t turn out right, how much of it is the parent’s fault and how much is the child’s. Certainly, everyone ultimately has to decide to make their own decisions.

    My dad has a pretty good perspective on these verses that I can offer as a possibility. He sees the verses as talking about managing your children well. In other words, when your children are younger, you are responsible for what they do and teaching them to be obedient. But, there comes a point where you have to let them decide whether they are going to follow Christ or not. So, if someone has older kids, like above the age of 18 who are not following Christ, I don’t think that should be a disqualification from being a church leader. At that point, the child is an adult and has made his own decisions about life. So, with your example of Mr. Cox, I think it is unfortunate that he felt disqualified when his children were already adults. He no longer has the role of father for them in the same way that he did when they were kids.

    Anyway, let me know what you think about this.


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