One outcome from working on my latest book this month has been the contemplation of not just the things that cause a pastor to neglect his family, but the inevitable consequences of doing so. Here are a couple of the more obvious consequences I concluded exists when a pastor chooses to neglect his family in the name of ministry:
1) The pastor’s neglect of his family reveals a disregard for the biblical imperatives commanded to every Christian husband and father (Eph. 5:25-30; 6:4; 1 Pet. 3:7) of which the pastor must excel in so to be an example of them to his flock (1 Peter 5:3). Additionally, neglect reveals a disregard to heed the ongoing qualification to first and foremost “managing his household well” (1 Tim. 3:4-5). The biblical imperatives that reveal the priority for the pastor to first shepherd and care for his family before his flock is clear, yet sin causes so many pastors to ignore the very task that allows them to biblically continue to minister to their flock.
2) Any Christian man’s neglect of his family communicates a lack of value of his family to them. There are even greater ramifications of this devaluing by the pastor to his family. Because of the biblical calling for the pastor to be an example to his flock (1 Pet. 5:3), he not only sets a bad example to the other Christian men in his congregation by his neglect, but even worse there is this spirit of hypocrisy that permeates in the pastor’s home felt by his wife and children. It is very likely that the devaluing of the family by the pastor is a leading cause of the cliché that pastors’ wives and their children become disenchanted with the church and even Christ Himself.
All people struggle with sin and those sins bring consequences upon the sinner and those around them. The high stakes in the pastor’s life that are a part of God’s design, create even greater consequences upon his family and church when sin effects faithfulness.