Qualifications Pt. 6
1 Timothy 3:12b
When you get down to it, while the responsibilities and expectations for pastors and deacons are different, the qualifications are very similar. Just like the pastor, the deacon must be the kind of man that leads his family well. Paul used the term “rule,” and the meaning/concept of that word has been lost in 21st century homes. Let me remind you what Paul said about the pastors’ home life because the qualifications are the same.
(Adapted from Pastor’s Qualifications)
Family! How I wish Paul had moved this to the top of his list because I believe that this should be the number one qualification for a pastor or deacon, and I believe pastors/deacons should understand that the family should be their number one priority. I’ve seen way too many ministers miss this important aspect of their ministry, and when they do, they typically lose both their ministries and their families. Read this carefully: God instituted the family long before He created the church. I believe that as a pastor/deacon, our calling is to put God first, family second, and the church third in life. If your church doesn’t understand that, then shame on you! I have seen way too many churches and families suffer because they get their priorities messed up.
Paul said that a deacon must rule his house well. Paul viewed leadership of the family as a proving ground for leadership in the church, and that goes for more than just pastors and deacons. Literally, Paul is telling us that every Christian father must make sure that everything in their homes runs smoothly. Specifically, for pastors and deacons, their young children must be known for their obedience and morally upright behavior. I also believe that when you train up a child in the way he should go, when he is grown he will continue in that same lifestyle. I seem to remember a wise man saying that a long time ago, and I believe it to be true. However, Paul is talking about children living in your home. Adult children make their own choices, and while an argument could be made that if they have gone off into a lifestyle of immorality as adults that something must have been wrong with their upbringing, this was not Paul’s purpose in this admonition. While they are living in the deacon’s home, the deacon’s children must demonstrate the qualities of godly behavior. That doesn’t mean they won’t do the things that all children do, but they should model the behavior they see from their parents.
Why is this important to the deacon? Like the pastor, he must demonstrate through his home that he is spiritually gifted in ways that allow him to set the example of how to live and serve and love. If he does this, so, too, will his family. If he doesn’t do this, why would anyone want to follow him in the church? Just like the pastor, the deacon must have an exceptional home life – faithful to his wife and father to his children. That is the general idea. Paul described a man who is loving, compassionate, generous, and firm. As any father, Paul’s admonition from Ephesians 6 still applies: “Don’t provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” This is a loving mentality and not a king of the castle mindset. I have discovered that the authority of the father is strengthened when his children know that he loves them beyond measure and when they see him walking in integrity.