How Do You Lead Your Family Well?

by John Beeson

Who are the most influential leaders in your life? What made them such great leaders?

I fear that our cultural understanding of leadership is going further and further astray from what true leadership is. We Americans seem to have a bizarre attraction to two types of leaders: celebrities and powerful communicators with bold, brash opinions. We judge leaders by the size of their platform.

I was recently asked to speak to the Mom’s Matter group in our church about what healthy leadership in the home and beyond looks like. One of the comments by the leadership team that was made to me was that many moms believe they “don’t need to be or can’t be a leader because they are just moms.”

I believe that’s an issue with men and women alike.

The task of leadership feels daunting and we feel like we are unequal to the task, and so we shrink back from it.

If leadership is influence, then every one of us is called to leadership. God has gifted you with influence. God has called and equipped you to influence your family. God has called and equipped you to influence your friends. God has called and equipped you to influence your church.

You are called to lead.

But the order of how we develop as leaders is important. We are called to lead our home first and that leadership is intended to cascade outward.

Some are captivated by the possibility of leading “out there.” That can be a holy aspiration. But if we try to lead “out there” before we lead ourselves and our families first, then we have mixed up God’s order of what leadership was designed to be.

The world gets leadership wrong. Our culture judges leadership by the size of the leaders’ platform. Scripture judges leadership starting with the home.

If you can’t lead your family well, you cannot lead an organization well. If you can lead your family well, you can lead in whatever capacity God calls you.

When Paul writes Timothy advice about choosing leaders for churches, he begins with the home.

Paul explains,

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?[i]

There are a few important things to note here. First, note Paul’s affirmation of the desire to lead in the church.

Desiring to have your circle of influence grow is a “noble task” if your heart is right.


But note then how Paul encourages Timothy to evaluate whether someone is up to the task: he tells Timothy to evaluate the potential leader’s home life. Is he a one-woman man? Does he open his home to outsiders? Do his children honor him?

Male and female alike, the Bible exalts the importance of the home as our first place of leadership. What does that mean? There is no minimization of how difficult and important the task of loving your spouse is. There is no minimization of how difficult and important the task of fathering or mothering is.[ii]

And, male and female alike, while our influence and leadership outside the home is never to take priority over the home, if you lead your home well, that godly leadership will naturally spill over into the rest of your life.

If you’re not leading your home well, stop dreaming about leading an organization and devote yourself to leading and loving your home well.

Whatever you think that will provide for you—respect, influence, power—those will all be empty if you are not respected by those closest to you.

It is clear biblically that marriage is not a pre-requisite for leadership. If you aren’t married, I would maintain that these questions about home are still valid, if not differently applied. For singles, the question would be how well you lead and love your mom and dad, your sisters and brothers, your small group, your friends and roommates.

On the flip side, if you are leading your home well, then don’t be closed off to God expanding your circle of leadership outside of your home.

But how do you lead in your home well? Used by permission of the author.

You may also like

Update Required Flash plugin