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The following is from a section the current book I am working on. In it, I argue that learning to care for your children teaches you how to care for the church. Let me know your thoughts. – Chap

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord has compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14

“I thought I was a patient person—until I had children. Then I learned how impatient I really was.” I have lost count of the number of men who have said that to me. Like the Christian life, both pastoring well and parenting well require much patience. They both are a “long obedience in the same direction.” Yet, what do younger leaders often lack? Patience.

Our children give us a perfect chance to be molded into more Christlike patience. They challenge us when we are most exhausted. They expose the desires we have for order, control, and progress. They are little sanctification machines that shine a floodlight on ways we need to grow. In all this we have chance to be transformed, to grow in showing compassion like our Heavenly Father (Psalm 103:13). When we tie that one more shoe, answer one more question, pick up that one more piece of clothing, have one more late night conversation, we are growing in our patience. We must remember that love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Patience alone, however, is not enough. We need patience with persistence, patience for their progress (Philippians 1:25). Fathers are to bring up their children. Children will not bring up themselves (Ephesian 6:4, Proverbs 29:15b). This kind of parenting is patient with a goal. We want them to grow up to love and follow Jesus. We see this patience with persistence in the life of Jesus. He taught and retaught his disciples. He bore with their misunderstandings and arguments. However, it was patience with a purpose, to train them to be mature disciples. 

Leaders, it seems, can face temptation by being either impatient or passive. Some are impatient with the rate of individual or corporate growth. Others, though, are tempted by drifting and not having goals. There is not progress in godliness, just directionless activity. If the church isn’t helping others make progress toward Christlikeness, then we become like a cruise ship traveling in circles.

Church leaders are builders. Like the apostle Paul they are building up the corporate church (1 Corinthians 3:10), and they are building up individuals (Colossians 1:28). Good fathers are builders also—building a godly family and godly disciples (Proverbs 24:3-4, Ephesians 6:4). However, no one builds without knowing what the goal is. Whether he is building a godly church or a godly family, an effective leader is crystal clear on the blueprint and tools. “Making it up as you go” does not honor the Lord. 

One big temptation of young leaders is impatience—both with individuals and with the whole church. Mark Dever has wisely observed, “Pastors often overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 20.” In your leadership role, are you both patient and persistent? Are you understanding of those you lead and crystal clear on where you are going? Your family gives you a chance to grow in all these qualities. 

You are managing your households well if you are becoming more patient over time and more clear on where you are aiming.