What happens in a person's private life affects his job or his public ministry. Someone may argue, "But my private life and my home life don't have anything to do with my ministry at the church, my ability to serve, or how I perform at work. You have no right to dig into my personal life."
This way of thinking is wrong. What happens in a person's private life spills over into his public life. What goes on behind closed doors in a leader's home will tell you exactly what kind of blessings or problems he will bring to his public ministry or job. This is precisely why the apostle Paul urged Timothy to take a deeper look at the personal life of a potential leader before inviting him to be a part of his leadership team (see 1 Timothy 3:4,5). You see, God designed the home as a honing instrument for many of the qualities required to be a leader in the Kingdom of God.
Paul told Timothy that a leader must be "one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)" (1 Timothy 3:4,5).
The Greek word for "ruleth" is the word proistimi, a compound of pro and istimi. The word pro means before or in front of, and the word istimi means to stand. When compounded together, the new word depicts someone who is standing up front before others in order to lead, guide, direct, or manage a situation. It conveys the meaning of a leader who is responsibly giving oversight and direction to a group of people or to a project. Paul uses the word "well" to describe the way this person rules. It is the Greek word kalos, which means good, well, or skilled. Thus, it pictures an individual who has shown that he is able to successfully give oversight to a group of people or to a specific project.
Paul says it is required that a spiritual leader rule well his own "house." The word "house" is the Greek word oikos, which is the word for a physical house. However, as it is used here, it includes the management of the house and everything that happens in that house. Thus, "ruling" one's household would include how a leader manages his home life, his children, the upkeep of the physical house or apartment where he lives, and his personal finances. All of this would be part of his oikos - his house.
Important information about how well potential leaders will serve at church or at work can be ascertained by delving into these four points. So let's briefly review these four critical areas of concern.
Their Home Life:
Paul said a leader must be "one that ruleth well his own house...." As noted, the word "house" is the word oikos and includes everything about a person's home life. One of the most strategic factors to consider when selecting new married leaders is the condition of their marriage. What kind of relationship do they have with their spouse? Is it a supportive, healthy marriage, or one that is full of problems? Does the relationship reveal good communication between the husband and wife? If that potential leader cannot successfully communicate with the most important person in his life, how do you know he will be able to properly communicate with others at church or at work? These questions may give you great insight into the pluses and minuses that come with new potential leaders.
Paul said a leader must be one who has his "...children in subjection with all gravity." If potential candidates have children, perhaps nothing gives you clearer insight into what kind of leaders they will be than the example of their own children. Although you can't make this a hard and fast rule, most often the children of potential leaders are a reflection of the kind of leadership those candidates are currently exercising in their own home.
Since people can impart only what they have in their private lives, it is good to observe what potential leaders have imparted within their own homes. What is the visible fruit of their influence and leadership in their children's lives?
The answers to these simple, basic questions are important indicators to let you know how potential candidates are leading their own homes. If they're not leading their own homes with excellence, why would you imagine they could lead an entire division of the ministry with excellence? That's why it's important to never overlook a potential leader's children. They will always be one of the clearest signals to alert you to the kind of leader this person will be.
Their House or Apartment:
Paul wrote that a leader must be one that "...ruleth well his own house...." As already stated above, the word "house" refers to everything connected to home life. Part of home life is the physical house where the family lives. Therefore, it's valid to ask:
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The Bible makes it unmistakably plain that in the last days, the world will be filled with difficulties, the like of which have never before been known in the history of mankind. In fact, the Holy Spirit was so committed to making sure we understand what will occur in the last days that in 2 Timothy 3:1, it is as if He points His prophetic finger 2,000 years into the future and specifically foretells what will occur at the end of the age.
When it was time for Jesus' body to be brought down from the Cross, Pilate received a surprise visit from a high-ranking member of the Sanhedrin who was a secret follower of Jesus. His name was Joseph, from the city of Arimathea; thus, we know this man as Joseph of Arimathea. He was accompanied by another high-ranking member of the Sanhedrin who was also a secret disciple of Jesus. This second man's relationship with Jesus began with a secret visit in the middle of the night, recorded in John 3:1-21. That second admirer was Nicodemus.
No one has all the answers! The smartest leaders in the world are those who realize both their gifts
and their limitations. A leader is being wise when he recognizes his need for gifted, talented, willingminded people to chip in and help him effectively do what he is called to do. No one can do it all alone.
I know of no great Christian leader who hasn't faced some kind of opposition as he or she sought to do God's will. But the truth is that darkness does not have the power to overcome light! Every believer can overcome any attack if he or she won't quit first!
I told my sons, "This pyramid has stood here for thousands of years, but a day is coming in the future when it will be completely dissolved. When the final Day of the Lord comes, the Bible tells us that everything that exists on the earth will melt with fervent heat, and the earth and all its works will be burned up. Boys, that means a day is coming when none of these monuments will exist any longer. Everything built by man will vanish, including these monuments that have stood the test of time for thousands of years. The only thing that will last is what people have done for Jesus Christ."