Florida Baptist pastor Jimmy Scroggins urges fellow pastors to ‘manage families well’

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INDIANAPOLIS–Preaching at the 2024 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Indianapolis, Jimmy Scroggins, lead pastor of Family Church in South Florida, called on his fellow pastors to “manage your families well.”

“Faithfulness to families is something that we all know that we should be. It’s something that we want to be. It’s something that we all believe in, but it’s something that’s easier said than done,” he said.

The father of eight and grandfather of five said that there is no such thing as a “perfect family” or a “magic family,” stating that his family is a “real family.”

Scroggins stated, “It feels that the entire world is lining up everything that it has to prevent my kids and my grandkids from learning the gospel truths that I’m trying to pass on to them. We live in what has been called a negative world. The culture is now actively negative toward Christian values and toward a Christian worldview. Public life and public institutions in general are not positive; they are not neutral; they are pushing against Christian values.”

He decried gay pride flags displayed prominently on buildings. “That pride flag is meant to be inclusive … but we who believe the Bible understand that that flag is a declaration of the rejection of God’s design for gender and sexuality and family structure. It feels like our culture is rejecting God’s design and declaring war on a biblical worldview.”

Today, he said, “Dads in this country are waking up.” Churches are calling up and training fathers to fight for their families, ensuring that the church will have a future.

Scroggins stated that the Apostle Paul also lived in a world negative to Christian values. Paul, he said, was a champion of the Holy Spirit strategy “to place a neighborhood pastor in a neighborhood church that spoke the neighborhood language to reach a neighborhood and the nations.”

Focused on 1 Timothy 3:1-7, which lists biblical qualifications for a pastor, Scroggins acknowledged, “Nobody is ever fully qualified at all times.”

A pastor’s biblical and loving relationship with his wife is “vital” to his credibility as a pastor, Scroggins said. “When your church sees you forgiving easily and restoring quickly, it will be easier for your church to see that that’s what God does,” Scroggins told pastors in attendance.

The Bible teaches that the pastor “must manage his family well,” Scroggins said.

When “life happens in your marriage or with your kids or with your church” Scroggins told pastors, “You cannot go into the fetal position, and you can’t fake like everything’s perfect.  You have to fight,” stating that pastors have the Bible, the Holy Spirit, mentors and their church family to come alongside them in the fight.

Some pastors feel guilty and brokenhearted, he said, because of what has happened in their families, reminding them, “You are not called to be perfect; you are called to manage well, the best that you can.”

Biologically, only men can be husbands and fathers, he said. “That’s part of the reason that only men can be pastors because the pastor takes on a fatherly role in the church family. The pattern of leadership in the church is supposed to mirror the pattern of leadership in the Christian home.”

In a world that is confused, “Dads in our churches need us to call them up and train them to fight. Churches that teach dads to fight for their children will have a reason to exist; churches that don’t teach dads to fight for their children, I think, are likely to disappear.”

Scroggins listed three practical steps that pastors can take to fight for their children.

First, he said, “Go all in on marriage.”  He encouraged pastors to “teach the people in our church, when they can, to get married younger rather than older.”  Scroggins said, “The church is one place with the book that gives us the blueprint and design, and we’re the ones with practical experience because we are sitting there managing our own family so we have the ability to invite people into something, to demonstrate something they’ve never seen before.”

Second, he said, “Go all in on kids.” He encouraged pastors to “get people to have kids” and to “prioritize kids in your church.”

Third, he told pastors to “start a school. Every church with a building ought to be hosting or starting or trying to figure out how to have some kind of school. We need these schools to partner with our families if we’re going to form these kids so we can have new generations of Christians who can take the gospel to the neighborhoods and the nations.”

Concluding his message on faithfulness to families, Scroggins said, “I think about the future.” The Apostle Paul affirmed that Satan is “real,” he said, and today Christians are in spiritual warfare.

“How do we win against the devil?” Scroggins asked. “One way you win is learn to manage your household well. Pastors, husbands, fathers, it’s not about our skill or our determination; what we have to do is cast ourselves on the mercy of God and place our faith in Christ crucified and raised from the dead.”

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