Bible Question:

I am thinking I am supposed to be an evangelist or pastor for God, but am I qualified.? My wife refuses to attend church and my children are rebellious.

Bible Answer:

Frequently, the biblical qualifications of a pastor are often ignored by a man as he considers becoming a pastor or an elder.  They fail to ask, “Am I Qualified To Be a Pastor, if I have an unbelieving wife and rebellious children? They fail to consider the qualifications specified in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The question we are concerned with is, “Am I qualified to be a pastor if my wife refuses to go to church or is an unbeliever, or if my children are rebellious?”

Biblical Qualifications of A Pastor

Biblical Qualifications of a Pastor — His Family

The biblical qualifications for pastors and church leaders are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. For a complete explanation of these qualifications read one or more of the following:

Church Leadership – Function and Qualifications of Elders

What are the qualifications of an elder?

Who are the elders, overseers and pastors?

But in order to discover the answer to our question, we will start by examining 1 Timothy 3:4-5 which states that an elder (also a pastor) must have his home in order.

He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?) . . . 1 Timothy 3:4-5 (NASB)

The Greek word for “manages” is proistemi. The meaning of this word is “be at the head of, rule, be concerned about.”[1] The word means more than just leading others. It has the sense of caring leadership. That is, his leadership inspires people to follow. Pastors and elders have a shepherd’s heart for others.

The Greek word for “household” is oikos. It refers to more than a building. It refers to the entire family – wife and children. This means that all of the family members of the elder/pastor must be living a biblical, godly and orderly life. It does not make sense to claim that the verse means the elder/pastor’s home must be organized, neat and tidy. It refers to family members.

If we combine proistemi and oikos together, we discover that a pastor or elder must inspire his wife and children to respect his leadership so that they submit and follow. 1 Timothy 3:4-5 teaches us that the wife must in submission to her husband and be a godly woman. Otherwise, his home is spiritually divided since unbelievers and believers will be in conflict (2 Corinthians 6:14). That is, a pastor or elder must have his home in order in many respects.

Not only does 1 Timothy 3:4-5 state that the children of pastors and elders must be kept in control, but Titus 1:6 says the children must be believers or Christians. Therefore, we must conclude that the wife of a pastor or an elder must be a believer too! These passages assume the household is a family of believers. Thus, if any pastor or elder who has unbelieving family members or family members who are rebellious, then he is not qualified to be a pastor or an elder in a church.

Therefore, if the wife or children are not living godly, submissive lives, 1 Timothy 3:4-5 and Titus 1:6 “point the finger” at the man. For it says, “but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” That is, there is something wrong with the husband and father. God holds the man responsible.

Why God’s Blessing Is Withheld From A Pastor

The biblical qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 determine the type of man whom God wants to lead His church. Sadly, there are men serving as pastors and church leaders whom God does not want. God did not approve when they assumed these ministry positions, and God will not bless their ministries. Even if their churches are large God is not pleased with them.

For example, Revelation 3:1-6 describes the church at Sardis. But in verse one God states,

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: . . . ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Revelation 3:1 (NASB)

Spiritually speaking, the church was a dead church. It just looked great to everyone else. But God knew the spiritual condition of each person in the church. The first words of this verse is addressed to the pastor of the church. The pronoun “your” and “you” are both singular. It is addressed to the pastor and, consequently, the church, since he is the leader. That is, the church is dead because the pastor is spiritually dead. The pastor should not have been the pastor.

Conclusion:

Any man who is contemplating becoming a pastor must seriously examine himself to determine if he is qualified to be a pastor or an elder. Failure to do so will bring God’s disapproval since the man is not qualified.

From a practical point of view, an unbelieving wife will be a discouragement and will  “wear down” a pastor or an elder. Rebellious children would reflect on him. How can a man serve God when his entire family is rebellious—spiritually and practically? Being a spiritual leader in a church will have severe and unsurmountable challenges when you have to deal with a difficult family situation that is fundamentally a spiritual problem.

 

References:

1. L. Coenen, “Πρεσβύτερος,” ed. Lothar Coenen, Erich Beyreuther, and Hans Bietenhard, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 192.

Suggested Links:

Church Leadership – Function and Qualifications of Elders
an a divorced man be an elder or a pastor? — husband of one wife
What are the qualifications of an elder?
Who are the elders, overseers and pastors?
Should our pastor continue in the ministry after his wife divorced him?
Why do pastors fail in the ministry? — Reasons Pastors Fail
Can I return to the ministry even though I had a spiritual fall?
Church Leadership