Daniel and I have been married ten years now, but I still remember all the excitement and anxiousness that lead up to the wedding. We were getting close to the day and had completed the marriage counseling program. We were pretty sure we were ready to take on the world. I mean, we had Jesus, each other, and the cutest little ring bearer(Jackson) that you ever did see. I’m sure we should have felt the weight of this monumental undertaking more than we did, but we were young, naive, and mostly too busy gleefully skipping our way to the altar hand-in-hand to notice that we were slightly distracted by the fanfare of it all.
As part of our final preparation before our wedding day, My Grandfather Arlis Banks was going to perform the wedding and wished to counsel us himself. What we originally looked at as a formal counseling requirement ended up being a life-changing model for our marriage.
From the second we entered their home, we could see and feel the love in this household. Immediately we could feel the warmth of their home that overflowed with so much love and life. We were welcomed to their table where we would hang on their every word over a warm pot of stew. The conversation was natural yet intentional, covering the full spectrum of hilarious marriage moments to their deepest trials. They shared how they grew in love and learned to respect each other’s unique roles and gifts; how they constantly ran to God and His Word together to find wisdom in managing everything from their money to their tempers. We listened to their sincere and humble prayers, their gentle instruction to their children, and their honoring words for one another. We heard how they forgave each other, we watched how they served each other, and we took note of all the ways they incorporated Jesus into every aspect of their lives.
And we walked out of that house different people, knowing that we had been led to God.
Time spent with this one church leader and his wife in their home revealed the real-deal gospel at work in their lives – something that they had become solidly known for over the years. It’s no wonder Paul takes great care to instruct Timothy that a church overseer must know how to manage his own home. “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5).
Leadership matters, because leadership models. Paul knows that there’s no way a church leader can effectively lead a congregation to God, to holy living, and to reaching the lost for Christ if he is not proven in leading with excellence in his very own home. God’s Word requires that church overseers are “above reproach” – not perfect – but solid in essential character traits that shine first in the most intimate, personal spaces. On the other hand, leaders who live in hypocrisy to the standards outlined in 1 Timothy 3 can quickly compromise the trust and spiritual growth of individual members, as well as the reputation and credibility of the church as a whole. Leadership matters in light of the gospel.
Would you pray and thank God for your church leaders today, and then commit to regularly praying for them as they seek to lead you to God? Let’s also commit to constantly growing in personal godliness, so that we too can impact lives around us by the way we use our God-given gifts and model real, consistent gospel-centered living.