A key unlocks something that is precious; one of the most precious keys that a congregation possesses is their pastor.
Let me first give you a disclaimer:I am a pastor myself. Years ago, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Richard, it is your fault that your family is not together and it is your fault that the city of San Francisco is not saved. If you will let Me fix your family, the whole city would come to Me.” God spoke these words to me when I was feeling very confident that my family was already in good order. Obviously, by the way the Lord spoke to me, this was not so. During the past decade, I have contemplated this word from the Lord almost daily, especially as I have traveled the world and have observed hundreds of congregations.
The scripture concerning this which constantly came to me was from First Timothy, “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” Every time I saw a healthy pastor with balanced, loving children, I saw a healthy and prosperous congregation.
I am not making a conclusion based a on congregation’s size or wealth, but simply based on the genuine love I felt from the families within the congregations when I met them. As a pastor, I want to see the city of San Francisco come to the Lord. God told me the key was my family.
This same key is actually more important for things I previously thought had no connection with the church at all. Organizations such as companies, governments, and schools in a similar way have a familial structure. As the president, principal, or CEO goes, so goes the entire organization.
I was recently reading about the last days of Walt Disney, and was amazed to hear him talk about his regret of becoming addicted to cigarette smoking. The more I read, the more I saw that he was actually speaking about the Disney organization at large. Walt Disney’s regret was that the company was mirroring what he did, instead of what he had taught them to do.
I notice as a father and head of my family because I have embraced personal prayer and a love for God, my children embrace the very same things. Not things that I taught them to do, but things that I actually did.
Jesus’ teaching from the Message Bible in Matthew 7 says it all:
“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards. “When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this.
The greatest teacher in life is action. As we let Him, the Lord makes our families and our churches perfect.