Can the ministry of the Gospel be an inheritance you bestow upon your descendants?

(C Rhodes) #1

I have concluded and often said to friends, “you can’t inherit the Household of Faith!” I believe this is my conclusion after seeing what looked like a ‘dumbing down’ of a ministry once led by someone’s deceased or retiring parent.

That is not to imply that GOD will not use Junior or Brother. Nor a daughter or sister. But, I am concern that sometimes, the ministry appears to be treated like family dynasties. Is that more a case where we are granted leave to do things because it brings us comfort, not because it follows the leading of GOD?

I do not know of scripture that supports this practice nor any direct scripture that denies its validity.

(SeanO) #2

@cer7 That is a great question. What caused you to ask this question?

One way to think about it is that the Church must evaluate each person on a case by case basis. The Levitical priesthood was based on bloodline, but then we see that even Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-2) and Eli’s sons (I Samuel 12:2-36) were wicked. And when King David did not punish his son Amnon for taking advantage of his own sister, it tore the entire kingdom apart when Absalom, his brother, took revenge into his own hands and began to plot to take over the kingdom (2 Samuel 13:23-28).

Jewish men could not be teachers until they turned 30 years old. While many great preachers have started younger, I think that there is a good reason for this decision. 30 years old is long enough for the community to observe the life of an individual and determine if they are walking according to God’s statutes. At a minimum, a leader in the Church should meet the qualifications for an elder laid out by the apostle Paul.

Titus 1:5-9 - For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely , if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

In summary, what I see in Scripture is that each individual must show themselves approved as God’s workman before becoming an elder or teacher. In addition, allowing those who are not faithful or capable to become leaders can tear communities apart.

(C Rhodes) #3

@SeanO. The question arises from observation of the church I was born to as well as two other ministries I knew as a child. I witness the authority that these ministries once possessed, so I understand what they have been reduced too. The one thing at least two of these ministries share in, the effort to pass the leadership of the church to bloodline family members. I can’t reconcile my heart with the Household of Faith being anyone’s bloodline inheritance.

The sons of Eli were an excellent example of why this behavior cannot be the logic of the church. And then there was little Samuel whom GOD anointed to assume the office of leadership though he was not of the current High Priest’s natural bloodline.

In some ways, my heart is breaking for my church. I would love to find scriptural support for this behavior but I find none. My old pastor’s children are not Eli’s sons, but they are not effective leaders or ministers either.

(SeanO) #4

@cer7 I understand your concern for your Church. May the Lord Jesus grant you wisdom to know how to pray for and engage with existing leadership. I can see how it would be easy for a parent to want to provide their child with significance in their community and a good living. Passing down the pastorate is a logical way to do that and I imagine that any parent wants their child to follow in their footsteps.

Church structure probably comes into play here as well - a truly elder and Spirit led Church would be able to discern together whether the pastor’s offspring is the correct choice. But a Church where the pastor is more authoritarian or the elders passive would logically be more susceptible to family dynasties.

Are there any ways that you could come alongside existing leadership and support them? How do other leaders in your Church view this situation?

(C Rhodes) #5

@SeanO. Therein lies my dilemma. The history of our church is unlike any I know today. My involvement would happily be accepted provided I would take my clues from their desires. These are people who have known me all my life. So they see me as one of the young people from the congregation. I think this is a dilemma for them as well. It is not unusual to have a person reach up and ruffle my hair as if I were still ten years old. That’s not strange until you understand that I have reached the years where I am one of the Elders.

I believe I have a lot I could share with the younger members, but, there does not seem to be a place for me to speak with any confidence or authority gained from my experience.

Honestly, until you asked I had not considered stepping forward in some way. Certainly, something to pray about.