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People and Pillars (1 Timothy 3:14,15)

I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14,15)

One of the dilemmas you'll face as you lead people is on the one hand loving and caring for them, and on the other hand confronting them and disciplining them. If you're like me you desire to lead so that you can help people, but somehow having to confront and discipline them is not as enjoyable!

A turning point for me was when I realised that "disciple" and "discipline" come from the same root word. In other words, I couldn't adequately disciple someone unless I was willing to offer discipline when circumstances warranted it.

In these verses we gain a glimpse into how important conduct among church leaders was to Paul. He had spent the whole chapter describing requirements for elders and deacons and here we see he had the option of leaving all this until he saw them in the near future.

Why the urgency? Because conduct among leaders is important. We've already seen how good conduct earns a good reputation among those in and outside the church. Here, however, Paul gives two more reasons for addressing conduct: reasons that are at the very heart of what the church is to be about.

The first reason is that the church is a "family". The Greek word he uses is "oikos" which is translated "household". His use of this word reminds us that the people we worship with and the people we lead are more than just "people" - they are "relatives" - spiritual brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, etc.

The young people you may one day be assigned to lead are not simply a group of individuals. They are in a sense your spiritual children and you are to care for them as any good parents would care for their children.

But then Paul goes on to make mention of the fact that the church is more than a family - it's a family with a mission, and that mission is to be "a pillar and foundation of the truth".

At the time in which Paul wrote this letter, the big danger to the church was false teaching. They had the Old Testament Scriptures but the New were yet to be written and collated. In that climate, it was especially important that church leaders had a good grasp on truth.

Today we have the New Testament as a reliable record of God's truth but still there is a requirement among leaders to have studied that truth and be able to teach it clearly and accurately.

As a young leader starting out you may feel your Bible knowledge is a little lacking. That's OK. There will be others in the church family you can go to for help. But don't use the availability of this help as an excuse to not continue to grow in your understanding of the Bible.

Commit yourself to loving people and grasping Biblical truth if you want God to use you in His mission of making disciples.

Reflection

What does it mean to you to see younger ones you may lead as "family"? How does it affect the way you treat them and the way in which you see yourself as a leader?

How well do you feel you know your Bible? What are the areas in which you feel you are lacking? What questions asked by young people do you struggle with?