Silhouette Andrew Pano

A Leader and His Family

A leader leads his family and his church/small group.

A leader has followers in his family and in his church/small group.

Followers observe him in his family and his church/small group.

Followers imitate him in his family and in his church/small group.

Followers are influenced by him in his family and his church/small group. 

Good news – yes! Sadly a missing element for leaders is leadership in the family, and the resulting influence of their leadership on their followers.

I am always impacted by the fact that Paul states clearly that leadership qualifications start in the home and are reflected in the church. As reflected in Paul’s words to Timothy, it takes time and commitment. A leaders should be “Above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, hospitable, not drunk or violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, manage his family well, see that his children obey him in a manner worthy of full respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his family how can he take care of Gods church?” (1Timothy 3). 

While these are important because we replicate ourselves in discipleship, they are important for members of the family who are our primary concern; they are important in the marriage relationship as a reflection of the relationship with God and the church, and important for the health and holiness of the leader. Much has been, could be, and will be written on this subject, yet as I travel nations it seems to be a focus in leadership sadly overlooked, whether small group leaders, Pastors, or even elders. 

A healthy happy leader will have a healthy, happy spouse; a healthy happy marriage will have healthy happy children. A healthy happy leadership family provides the heart of the small group/church. As Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own family?” 

The time, effort, and priorities we live reflect our commitment and passions. Surely there can be no greater priority than the relationships within our own families. When I was a small group coach, my primary focus with leaders was their families and relationships. When I had time with leaders, the first conversation was in relation to their families. I met with the spouses and with the children regularly, letting them know they were important to me. When ideas were given about proposed activities, etc., the first question was, “How will your family be involved, have you talked and prayed with them about it, how will it impact them, what do they (including the children) think about it?” 

When coaches do not ask, when Pastors do not focus – it is not surprising that this is not given priority. Some church staff work such unsociable hours that I wonder how often they are home for the evening meal and to see their children to bed. Sometimes this is mandated as their job. 

If family is the priority, it must be reflected as the culture of the Pastor, his staff, small group leaders and throughout the small groups. What is lived speaks louder than what is spoken. Family was God’s idea, his first community, and our primary small group. 

Family is both our resting place and joy.