Good Pastor, Bad Parent?

You no longer hear this once-popular saying from ministers: “You take care of God’s business, and he’ll take care of your family.” Stories abound of children lashing out at the church and Christianity because they resent their pastor parents for neglecting them. Thankfully, we’re seeing many pastors today take seriously the ministry qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:4-5 by caring for their families as committed husbands and fathers.

In this new video, pastors Joshua Harris, Kent Hughes, and Voddie Baucham describe the challenges of leading a congregation while leading a family. As Hughes explains, ministry is a character profession. If you’re not the real deal at home, your public ministry suffers. A good wife can go a long way to keep you anchored; if she’s not too impressed with you, she’ll hold you accountable.

Baucham addresses the textual issues, particularly surrounding Titus 1:6, that bear on the pastor’s responsibility for his children as it relates to his qualification for ministry. “If a guy has perfect kids,” Baucham says, “he can’t be an example” to the church. Harris and Baucham “amen” Hughes as he warns pastors not to raise their children for the congregation’s approval.

At the end of the video, Harris notes one tweak that would have made this valuable discussion much better.

  • Ben W

    Apt discussion. The same goes for missionaries too. I think our first congregation and mission are the dear ones God has entrusted to us in our homes (that means wives too).

    • Rob


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  • Robert Briggs

    Good little discussion….men who do not rule their own homes well are not qualified to be ministers of the gospel….Scripture is unambiguous about that. Do not sacrifice your family on the altar of ministerial ambition you will live to regret it and so will those who sit under your ministry.

  • Neo

    Vimeo crashed for me trying to play the video, using both IE and Chrome. Argh, I want to hear Voddie!!!

  • Rod Phillips

    I think what can be ambiguous is the model or framework that is used by congregations or church boards in determining if the said pastor is faithful or not in leading his family. This can be an easy means of attack by the disgruntled…

    • Steve, Winnipeg, Canada

      I appreciate your request for specificity. At what point exactly would a man not be fit for ministry?

      On the other hand, the disgruntled could unfortunately use anything.

  • EBG

    We can not thank God enough for Kent and Barbara Hughes.
    We began our married life at College Church in Wheaton; Kent was our pastor for 15 yrs.
    Over the years, Kent’s preaching, along with his marriage to Barbara, continue, to this day, to be a means of God’s grace, mercy, and encouragement in our marriage (18 years and 5 children later!)

  • KG

    I completely agree with the emphasis on the home first before that call to pastoring.

    What I would like more conversation about is what type situations/behaviors in a pastors children would disqualify him from the role? What are some practical examples? What age would the children be? Etc. I think this could be fleshed out more.

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  • BCody

    Thank you for the video. Excellent, timely counsel…We will be working on not raising our children to please the congregation.

  • maggie

    I have reapped the rewards of a lifetime in my marriage taught to my husband by his SB Ministering Family. In the begining My parent encouraged me to commit & see the lying & irresponsability as a lack of maturity, But at 50 I have learned to let him fall on his own face & simply pray he will reconcile himself to Gods will. The hardest part is knowing our Daughter has to live through this process too

  • Dr. Barry Joslin

    That is very very helpful. Thank you for posting this.

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