Shepherds Need Parenting and Marriage Classes

Shepherds are required to take 5 core courses offered by our church in order to become bona fide shepherds. Until then, they are just deputy shepherds. However, in addition to these, I encourage shepherds to take the church classes on marriage and parenting.

I recommend taking the marriage class because the major problem that house church members bring up at meetings relate to marriage. It is difficult and unwise for shepherds to give advice based on personal experience alone. They need to be familiar with Biblical principles about marriage.

I recommend taking the parenting class because church leaders are required to be good parents. In his first letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul lists good parenting as one of the qualifications for a church leader / overseer: “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” (1 Tim 3:4) Concerning the qualifications of deacons he says the following: “A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.” (1 Tim 3:12) Why must church leaders be good parents? Paul says “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Tim 3:5)

Only those who have raised their children well are able to lead spiritual children. Interestingly, I find that shepherds frequently treat their house church members as they treat their own children. Those who are strict with their children tend to be strict with their house church members. Those who give a lot of freedom to their children also tend to give a lot of freedom to their house church members. Those who don’t require their children to help with household chores tend to be reluctant in asking for help from their house church members with ministry. So it’s important for shepherds to learn how to raise children with Biblical principles because they will often treat their spiritual children the same way. Shepherds whose children are already grown and married may not feel the need to take the parenting class, but it’s still useful for them to help younger married couples in their house churches. As I mentioned, it is both difficult and unwise to give advice based solely on personal experience.

At the last shepherds retreat I gave a seminar on parenting, marriage, and dating. Many people remarked that the seminar was helpful for their house church ministry. That was just a preview. Shepherds need more in depth study on marriage and parenting to help their house church members become Biblical husbands, Biblical wives and Biblical parents.

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