It has always interested me to watch a professional baseball team warm up on the field. As I look around I see the players in their prime doing things that young boys only can imagine. But there is someone else there if you look close enough. There are the coaches and the seasoned veterans standing nearby. Whether leaning on the batting cages or standing behind the pitcher in the bullpen these coaches are present. They are invaluable to the success of these young players. They teach and tweak. They remind and reshape. They reset fundamentals and they explain things in a nuanced, personal way. Talk to a ball player and they’ll tell you, “These guys are priceless!”
Christian men need the same type of help. Whether you are fouling the ball off your foot, doubling in the gap, or in a slump, you need a spiritual coach to come alongside of you. You (we) need someone to periodically remind us of the fundamentals and explain things in a fresh way. These relationships often come via the local church but they also come via the universal church in the form of writers. Tim Witmer has been one of those guys for me and our church. I don’t know Tim but he has had a profound impact on the shape and life of Emmaus Bible Church.
In his book Shepherd Leader Witmer lays out a biblical plan for pastoral ministry. In my view it is the first thing pastors and aspiring pastors need to read (my review here).
As a follow-up Witmer has written Shepherd Leader in the Home. This book is to help men (not exclusively elders) to be the leaders they are called to be in their homes. In our church about 20 of us have just finished reading and discussing this book together. The feedback I got from the guys was that it was tremendously practical. There was a simple application of biblical truth. Also, there was many memorable nuanced approaches to leading your family. Like the coach who tells stories Witmer opens up the curtain to let us into his world. It’s great.
The basic overlay is:
The Shepherd Knows his Family: In order to lead and love your family you need to know them. Get to work; learn who you love and lead.
The Shepherd Leads his Family: You have got to proactively (not passively) lead your wife and children.
The Shepherd Provides for his Family: Get to work, literally. We have to provide spiritually and materially.
The Shepherd Protects his Family: The leaders cherishes his wife and so he protects his marriage and his children. (This is a very practical and somewhat in your face chapter dealing with sin and temptation. Very good stuff.)
As I asked the guys this morning what they give it for a rating, the consensus was 4.5 / 5 stars. I’d have to agree.
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