“Abraham had in his tent a house of God and a church, just as today any godly and pious head of a household instructs his children in…godliness. Therefore such a house is actually a school and church and the head of the household is a bishop and priest in his house.” – Martin Luther
So the title page of a new children’s book begins. Our Home is Like a Little Church, by Lindsey Blair and Bobby Gilles, deftly imparts a vision for ‘every father a pastor in his home.’ Its stated aim is to teach preschool children the Christian doctrine of the home as a “little church” where the father teaches his family God’s commands and leads them to worship the one true God through his Son Jesus Christ.
This grand truth seems so far removed from the common Christian worldview that a book like this is necessary not just to introduce 3-year-olds to the idea, but their dads as well. Over the last generation or so, the pastorate has become increasingly professionalized. To that degree, it has also been somewhat isolated from the person in the pew. Because of this clergy/laity gap, most dads have been willing to leave religion to the professionals.
It’s no wonder that many young dads today don’t posses a clear vision in their minds for their own role as the pastor of their homes. Perhaps they did not have a viable example of such a role from their own fathers?
This is the unfortunate need that Blair and Gilles so ably assuage in their book Our Home is Like a Little Church. The writers employ the winsome format of poetry.
My family goes to Sunday church. We see the pastor there.
He teaches us the Word of God and leads us all in prayer.
We pray and praise God at our house
He makes our family glad
Our is like a little church
The pastor is my dad.
And on it goes for twelve delightful pages.
Little toddlers might find the idea of daddy being a pastor in the home rather charming. What little child wouldn’t be giddy with the joy of daddy and mommy together praying over her? However, some dads might find this whole idea daunting. Recognizing that understandable disinclination, the Apostle Paul’s exhorts dads: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in discipline and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4, ESV).
Dads remember this: it’s never too early, nor too late to start teaching these things to your children. God wants you to fully succeed as the pastor of your home. Give yourselves to it with all your might. Lay hold of your complete dependence on the Spirit of Christ for every step of obedience, including the steps you must take to lead your wife and children in prayer, Bible-reading and song. A great way to begin is by reading them this book.