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Building a strong foundation for future church leadership

| by Jeff Klick

Discipleship is a hot topic of discussion, yet many statistics seem to reveal that it is not being accomplished. With young people leaving the church in droves and divorce running rampant in the Church at large, there seems to be a gaping hole in the foundation—and hindering future church leadership. 

The Church of Jesus Christ will not grow or multiple if we continue losing the next generation and if the foundations of marriage crumble. This scripture presents an excellent question for our church leadership to consider:

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? —Psalm 11:3 (ESV)

The home is the seedbed for future church leadership, provides training for functioning members, and the primary place for discipleship to take place. Yet, we all know the family unit as God intended is suffering. This question must be considered, what is the church leadership going to do about it? 

How to rebuild the foundation for future church leadership

Ask just about any pastor or professional counselor what they spend the bulk of their time dealing with and family issues will be the top answer. Marriage issues, siblings not getting along, abuse, neglect, abandonment syndrome, and dysfunction is crippling the home—and discipleship, ministry and future church leadership. 

If we neglect the importance of helping those under our care to move their homes and marriages from dysfunction to function, we are missing a golden opportunity for church leadership and discipleship. A wide variety of ministry will take place from and within a functioning home. How much takes place in one trapped in dysfunction?

The scriptures provide the key to reviving the home and Church. Consider these few for starters:

• “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, ESV).

• “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:4,5, ESV).

• “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient” (Titus 1:6, NIV).

There are many more of course, but these passages should lead us to consider what we are doing in helping to restore function to the home. 

Moses, in essence, said, if you are awake, you should be teaching. Though we may delegate some of the teaching to others, God will hold the parents responsible for what is being taught to their children. Many parents miss an excellent opportunity for discipleship right around their table. As we age, we know children grow up quickly and our window for direct influence closes. What would happen if the majority of families within the Church took this opportunity seriously? 

We seem to forget or even overlook the fact the Paul stated that one requirement for an elder/pastor was to have his family in order, well managed, children under control, etc. In fact, Paul explained to his young disciples Timothy and Titus that how a man led in his home was a very good reflection of how he would lead the Church. Would we ever consider disqualifying someone due to how they lead their family? Should we? Shouldn’t a leader be at least partially evaluated by their followers’ imitation of them? Isn’t this even truer when those followers are family members? 

Dismantling dysfunction

What would the Church look like if there were even a 10 percent decrease in family dysfunction? What if that percentage increased to 20, 30 or more? Would the Church be better off? Isn’t it worth some time and energy to purposefully instruct the Church members to practice discipleship in the home? 

If we don’t begin to reverse the trends, the foundations will crumble, then where will we be? 

Photo source: istock 

Jeff Klick

Dr. Jeff Klick serves as the senior pastor of Hope Family Fellowship, an age-integrated church he planted in 1993. In addition, he is an instructor with The Institute of Church Management and is on the board of The Council for Gospel Legacy Churches. He has earned a professional designation, CFP, a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry, a Doctorate in Biblical Studies, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Ministry. Jeff and his bride Leslie have been married more than 42 years and are blessed with three adult children and 13 grandchildren.

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