Do you know that the greatest challenge of leading at home or at church is to win the heart? With a position, you can lead a few people for awhile, but with a tender compassion for people, you can influence this generation and the next. This idea is rooted in the New Testament qualifications for a church leader:
“(a real leader should have) his children in submission with all reverence” I Timothy 3:4
Translators sometimes apply “reverence” to the father’s manner of leadership (rather than to the children’s manner of submission). I disagree. Anyone can get a child to do what they want. It’s not the father’s masterly behavior in view, but the children’s heartfelt compliance with their father’s direction. To secure someone’s “followship” — and their deep respect — is a very different kind of parenting and pastoring.
“My Daddy loves me and knows me and cares for me… when he asks me to do something, that’s all I need to know!” Winning the heart of children at home qualifies a man for pastoral leadership. If he knows how to win hearts at home, he will lead out of the strength of his relationships with people in the church house… and not out of his position.
Are you a person who knows how to win the heart of a child? I have six children, but I am no expert or model of a perfect father. Whatever I have done well as a Dad is entirely a result of my ongoing experience of the fatherhood of God.
You see — winning the heart — this is what God does with you and me every day! He is always:
- Giving to me (Matthew 7:7-11)
- Knowing me (Matthew 10:29-31)
- Leading me (Mark 14:36)
- Comforting me (II Cor. 1:3-4)
- Training me (Hebrews 12:7-11)
- Receiving me (Galatians 4:4-7)
The Father’s act to win our heart also lies at the core of our salvation! Charles Spurgeon describes the Father’s work this way,
…you are the very ones whom I pray Him to lead captive, in silken chains of blessed bondage, as trophies of the irresistible grace with which His almighty love wins the hearts of his greatest enemies, and transforms them into his faithful friends and willing servants for ever and ever.
I like that… leading souls at home, inside the church, and outside the church always involves winning the heart.