GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–“If men are going to love their wives as Christ loved the church, they must study the Bible to learn how Christ loved the church,” James Richardson told men attending a July 5 conference.
Richardson, African American consultant for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, led a session, Men Leading the Charge, during Black Church Leadership Week, July 2-6, at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center.
He cited Ephesians 5 as a “blueprint of how we ought to love our wives. Christ loved the church sacrificially and unconditionally.”
Too many Christian men limit their role to “bringing home the bacon” and do not provide leadership or nurture to their wives and children, he said.
Also, he said some men “become complacent and comfortable in their relationship with God and also with their families.”
Jesus set the example of leadership as servanthood, Richardson said.
“Many times we want to be served. How many times do we reverse that? Do you serve your wife?” he asked.
Richardson emphasized that providing spiritual leadership in a home should not be confused with dictatorship.
“We’ve been taught as men that the man gives the command and has power,” he said. “We go into our marriages thinking we are to give commands.”
Christian men should protect themselves and their families by having daily quiet times with God by themselves and also with their wives and children, he said.
“The enemy can’t destroy the family without first separating the husband and wife. If he can do that, he knows the family is on the brink of destruction,” Richardson said.
A man should nurture his wife by encouraging and affirming her, making time just to talk and taking his wife on dates, even if it’s just to watch a movie at home, he said.
“Make her feel like she did when you first met her,” Richardson said. “No matter how many years you’ve been married, you’ve got to be aware of the enemy’s strategy and have a defense for it.”
While vision is most often discussed in a business or church setting, he said families need vision as well.
“Too many families are perishing because there is no godly leadership with vision. Where do you want your family to be in five years?” he asked.
Richardson urged godly Christian men to mentor others in providing spiritual leadership in their homes.
“As men of God, I’m challenging us to step up to the plate,” he said.
He urged study of a discipleship course, God’s Game Plan for the Family written by Steve Farrar and published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. He said the study could be part of a one-on-one mentoring relationship or a group study at the church.
Approximately 1,400 people attended Black Church Leadership Week sponsored by five SBC entities — LifeWay, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Woman’s Missionary Union and Annuity Board.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: JAMES RICHARDSON.