Monday, November 05, 2007

GfBC Family Integrated Conference 2007 – Session 1

Calling Men to Lead – Paul Renfro

I meant to get this done some earlier but things just got in the way. So here is an overview from my notes of the first session of the FIC Conference in Houston (10/26-27). This is not a word for word look but a combination of what Paul said and how I heard it. When one listens at a conference it is not enough to simply be able to regurgitate what was said but we must be able to make it our own so that it can be used as God leads each of us.

The first session on Friday (10/26) was lead by Paul Renfro who is one Grace Family Baptist Church’s elders. The call was that the men need to lead as God has called them to lead and not simply talk about it. This in not simply a call for men to claim leadership or take positions, which is only part of it, but to actually lead in all areas of church life and home life. Paul mentioned that all too often the call for men to lead is proclaimed but men are not biblically trained to do so. A specific short coming of this lack of training men to lead is in the area of the home where men have abdicated leadership to the state and their wives.

Ever since the garden where Adam stood by and watched Eve talk to the serpent man has fallen short in leadership. This lack of leadership starts in the home where fathers in general do not lead, in a biblical manner. Men may try and have dominion over the home but true leadership is about relationship and that is severely lacking in so many homes, even Christian ones, where men are often excessively absent. Paul talked about the idea that we as men need to see that true teaching takes relationships and that we have assumed the Greek model of teaching which is more about information. While instead we should seek out scriptures methods which will inevitably lead us to a more Hebrew method of teaching which involves living with those we teach such as home. So it becomes easy to see how if we seek to have biblical homes we then naturally have the perfect set up for a Hebrew model of discipling our families. If we seek to live out Deuteronomy 6 we will be led to truly lead our families as God intended and as a church we need to train towards this end.

As a side note this issue of family leadership is also a big problem with those in ministry. The truth is that if men were held to the leadership standards of scripture many would be disqualified as they would not be managing their households as God desires them to be led. I hear and see, all too often, men claiming they are doing ministry while they loose their own families. I know for me this is a struggle being bi-vocational in that I take care not to neglect my family in the name of serving God. While I often fail I have to be vigilant to seek God’s power to persevere in this area. We as servants of God can not claim to be doing God’s work if we loose the families God has given us to lead. That is why God in His call for elders calls men to lead their families well and not well by man’s standards but by God’s

Paul spoke of how often the church tries everything but what God’s word tells us to do when we seek to train those we minister to. This is where he used a saying (not sure if it is original from him or not but I will use it myself) that so speaks to the church today and that is simply that we need to “stop thinking outside the box and think inside the book.” As the church shrinks and we loose so many of our youth we try and do everything but what God’s word says and that is train up men to lead as the scriptures call them to lead. We as a church need to, for scriptural reasons, seek to bring men back to the potion of the leaders in first their families and then the church as God has called them to be.

Paul ended by giving a practical list of things men can do in their homes with regard to their families. He put these in a three areas Prophet, Priest and King (or Provider and Protector):

1) Teach the word of God
2) Provide discipline
3) Disciple in all areas of life
4) Lead Family worship
5) Intercede for family needs
6) Proclaim Christ
7) Protect; Spiritually, physically, etc.
8) Protect from unqualified life partners
9) Protection from false doctrines
10) Protect them from loving the world
11) Provide Vision for the Family
12) Provide for spiritual and physical needs
13) Provide training in many areas
14) Provide a paradigm for our children’s vision for their homes
15) Provide guidance for finding a life partner, be involved in the process

Paul related in a great way God’s call for men to lead. This was not GfBC or Paul Renfro’s call but God’s call and we as believing men need to take heed of His call.

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