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Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes Paperback – November 30, 2011
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“Voddie Baucham has captured the keys to equipping men to be a leader in their homes! This book provides a practical, biblical view to reform a man’s life to reach new heights in leading his home with the future of the kingdom in mind! I highly recommend this book to any man daring enough to step up, press in, and become the shepherd and leader of his home and to help end ‘spiritual fatherlessness’ in this passivity-saturated nation.”
—Joe White, President, Kanakuk Kamps; author, FaithTraining
“Scripture gives us a clear directive to ‘look well to the ways of our household.’ Unfortunately, for far too many Christian households, that mandate and responsibility gets relegated to anyone or anything but the precious institution known as the family itself. In this powerfully important and timely book, Dr. Baucham challenges the church to reinstate the biblical concept of father-headship of households and to establish and implement the principles of family discipleship. As a wife and mother, I celebrate the clarion call this book offers to those who want to see real revival in the nation by understanding it begins at home.”
—Janet Parshall, Host and Executive Producer, In the Market with Janet Parshall
“In seeking to develop gospel-driven family ministry, there’s an
unavoidable question that too few resources have clearly answered:
How do we develop a church culture that equips and mobilizes men? In
Family Shepherds, Voddie Baucham goes beyond surface-level
solutions that identify biblical masculinity with everything from
watching mixed-martial arts to participating in emotionally-charged
stadium events. What Voddie provides instead is a simple and
straightforward biblical vision for equipping men to embrace their
God-ordained roles as servant-leaders. This vision flows from Voddie’s commitment to articulate biblically what it
means for men to shepherd their families well.”
—Timothy Paul Jones, author, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus
“Rarely does a church see the husband and father as the key to shepherding his own family. Instead we have developed ministry expertise in the local church that seemingly no longer needs a man to step up and serve as the spiritual leader of his home. There are few mistakes more tragic than this one, and generations have suffered and will suffer if we do not call men to step up and serve as the spiritual leader. Family Shepherds is the primary tool that pastors and church leaders need to bridge that gap and to execute the building of the local church as God intended and has communicated in his Word.”
—Brian Doyle, Founder and President, Iron Sharpens Iron
About the Author
Voddie Baucham Jr. (DMin, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of the seminary at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia. The author of a number of books, including Family Driven Faith, The Ever-Loving Truth, and Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors, Baucham is also a pastor, church planter, and conference speaker.
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The most recent offering was Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes (2011). Although he often speaks to dads, this one is directly addressed to fathers as he calls them to shepherd their families well.
He includes several major sections in the book including: the need to equip family shepherds, family discipleship and evangelism, marriage enrichment, the training and discipleship of children, and lifestyle evaluation. In the first section, he writes about the 3-legged stool of discipleship revealed in Titus, which includes the need for 1) godly, mature men and women in the church; 2) godly, manly pastors and elders; and 3) biblically functioning homes. He writes, "if we are going to see a generation of young men rise to the occasion and begin to disciple their families, it will be due in large part to the reestablishment of the biblical paradigm of mature believers pouring their lives into younger Christians, and demonstrating godliness and maturity to them by their daily lives" (p. 30). We cannot underestimate the importance of strong biblical mentoring in the context of a local church.
In the second section, he talks about putting the good news of the gospel in front of our children and helping them to get it right. Baucham tells his reader what the gospel is and what the gospel requires. He also calls for restoring the tradition of catechizing our children, which is an objective way of teaching our children biblical truths. There are many wonderful catechisms available for families who want to pursue this way of training. This process of catechism would seem to be linked with his call for family worship, daily times when the father instructs his wife and children in the truths of scripture.
In the third section, Baucham rightly talks about the importance of marriage and honoring the marriage bed as a way to shepherd children. Children need to see their parents functioning well in the marital relationship. As a part of this section, he makes an unapologetic argument for the biblical mandate for male headship in the home which has been under attack not only from secular culture, but also from certain sectors within the church. Baucham rightly asks not what does society say, but what does the Bible say.
In the fourth section, he talks about the training and discipline of children. He makes a distinction between formative and corrective discipline, a distinction that is good to consider. He argues that 90% of our discipline of our children should be formative which involves instructing, training, and rebuking our children, whereas corrective discipline deals with disobedience.
One area in particular that I appreciated about section four was that Baucham spends some time writing a critique of Michael Pearl's To Train Up a Child, which is popular among certain homeschooling groups (as Baucham himself is). I have many friends who like this book and have used it successfully with their children, so I want to tread lightly. Essentially, Baucham views Pearl's work as theologized behaviorism and warmed over semi-pelagianism. Specifically, he cites example after example from Pearl's work that does not fit with scripture. For example, Pearl refers to children as "incomplete creations" and "not morally viable souls", which is inconsistent with the teaching of scripture. Baucham also points out a section in Pearl's work where he alludes to each child having to stand for themselves before the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and decide for themselves, which leans toward an outright denial of original sin. Baucham comments, "the result is a child training approach that relies on behavioral modification as opposed to spiritual transformation. Instead of the child's greatest need being the gospel, his greatest need is a parent whose 'role is not like that of policemen, but more like that of the Holy Spirit," since the child is 'incapable of holding moral values.'" Baucham contrasts Pearl's approach with authors like Tedd Tripp (Shepherding a Child's Heart), who views children "not as morally neutral or incomplete beings, but sinners" which is grounded in Psalm 51 and other scriptures.
In the final section, he encourages a lifestyle evaluation. He talks about the importance of church membership and having people who are able to speak into the lives of one another. He also discusses a fairly careful analysis of how we spend our time as family shepherds. He concludes with a brief, albeit important, section on how single mom's are to function in regard to this mindset and what is the role of family and church.
On the whole, this is a very good book. I still prefer his earlier and longer book Family Driven Faith, though this is a short, worthwhile read. If you are father, I would commend this work to you.
This is a very good book, especially for those who are less familiar with the topic and haven't read much of Voddie's prior writing. Some of the material will be repetitive if you are familiar with his prior writings and the positions of the Family Integrated Church movement. In places the material felt vaguely like something I have read from him several times over and it takes some patience and time to get to the point of the book because the background material takes so long. Again, if this is your first exposure to this information it may not seem as tedious and the information certainly is valuable but I could have stood to have less background information and more of the meat that is found in the second half of the book. Once I got to the second half of the book, the information became more applicable and the reading more enjoyable.
As with all books, there are weak spots and the most glaring is in Voddie's reliance on the institutionalized church model. Reading chapter 13, Church Membership, was almost physically painful. When he states (on the opening line of the chapter and elsewhere): "Church membership is the most important aspect of lifestyle evaluation", that strikes me as an entirely unserious and counter-productive statement. Of all the lifestyle qualifiers of a man, whether he is a "member" of a local church (a "healthy" church of course which means a church that is doctrinally compatible with what Voddie holds to) is one of the least important. A man who is a member of a church is not more likely to be a family shepherd than one who is not since church membership as we understand doesn't appear in the Bible, it is hardly appropriate in a book calling on a return to a Biblical understanding of fatherhood. In other places Voddie inserts other cultural understandings of leadership in the church (like assuming that Acts 6 is speaking of deacons). When he focuses on the home and the unique, irreplaceable role of fathers the book is very strong but in places where he strays into ecclesiology his arguments lose a lot of their strength.
All in all this is an important and valuable addition to the conversation regarding fathers as the spiritual head of their households. If you are familiar with the literature in this genre, I doubt you will find much that is innovative but Voddie as always delivers his message forcefully, persuasively and unapologetically. Virtually every man in the church that I know needs a spiritual swift kick in the pants and that sort of jarring is Voddie's forte. This is a book that fathers, elders, new husbands and young men considering marriage would all benefit from.
(This was also the first book I purchased for and read in its entirety on my Kindle Fire and I enjoyed the experience, esp. the ability to book mark and highlight sections with ease!)