Paul says, speaking about prospective pastors, in I Timothy 3:4ff:
This is such a central claim for anyone who desires to be a “bishop.” It is so easy for pastors to get caught up in the “ministry,” but here Paul, by the Holy Spirit makes clear there is a certain order if someone plans on pursuing pastoral ministry (as I do, once we come through this current season in life); the order is:
- The Lord, and cultivating intimacy and relationship with Him.
- Our families, if we have them.
- Then the ‘office’ of pastoral ministry.
I like Paul’s appeal here. Church is a family, we are part of God’s family by adoption — son’s and daughter’s of God, amazingly — if we can’t lead our biological family to the Lord, then how can we be expected to lead the rest of “our family” to the Lord? Beyond this, the danger of placing the “ministry” before our family (who is our ministry, first) leads to all kinds of fall-out; more than I can list here (I know of families where there was divorce because of this disorder). Just something to think about . . .
P. S. I am seriously seeking pastoral ministry (my ministerial background involves: evangelistic, discipleship, teaching) — of course we are going to have to come through this season of life (get through cancer), but I just want to throw this out there. If you think I might fit in somewhere at your church, or know of any openings, let me know. We would prefer to stay somewhere on the West Coast of the United States (we currently live in the Pacific Northwest, and I am originally from Southern California, much of my family is still there). Anyway, let me know, thanks. I am thinking an associate role, more than senior pastor.