A pastor friend of mind came face-to-face with a parent’s worst fear: His teenage daughter had become pregnant before marriage. Perry was struggling with prickly questions: Should he resign his pastorate? Should he encourage an abortion to cover his embarrassment and save face? Should he put her on the pill to avoid future problems?
I reminded him, “The primary goal for your life–to be the father and husband that God wants you to be–has not been blocked by this unfortunate event. If there was ever a time that your wife needed a godly, committed husband and your daughter a loving, supportive father, it’s now.”
“But, Neil, what about being the pastor God wants me to be?” Perry argued. “Doesn’t this disqualify me from being a pastor?”
I directed him to one of the requirements for an elder in 1 Timothy 3:4, 5: managing his household well and keeping his children under control. I said, “Even the best managers in the world have problems; they just know how to manage them. You didn’t instruct your daughter to sleep with her boyfriend. That was a sinful decision she made. How are you going to manage your home now for the good of the family? Instructing your daughter to get an abortion so you can save face is mismanagement. Kicking her out of the house is mismanagement. But standing by your daughter, comforting your wife, walking in the light, and speaking the truth in love is managing your household well.”
Spiritual leaders face the same temptations and difficulties other Christians do; they just face them in a fishbowl and their struggles are more visible. It’s not a lack of problems that determines the quality of our ministry, but how we handle the problems we have.
Dr. Anderson, Freedom in Christ and Harvest House Publishers www.ficm.org