Clint Archer, The Home Team: God’s Game Plan for the Family. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 2014. 152 pgs., ppb.
Using a myriad of sports-related analogies, Clint Archer guides Christians to faithfully work out their callings as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children. Archer serves as senior pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in South Africa. He holds three advanced degrees (M.Div., Th.M., D.Min.) from The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, California, where John MacArthur serves as President.
While unbelievers may find some benefit to this book, Dr. Archer writes specifically to Christians: “If you do not acknowledge these realities, you will find that the principles in this book have no value for you” (9). The reality and experience of the gospel in a person’s life is the foundation upon which the structure of a God-honoring family is built. Or, in this case, it is the field and the rules of the game that give joy and purpose to the family unit. The family is God’s design and therefore family members—team players—ought to glorify God and enjoy him forever as family.
Archer helpfully calls husbands and fathers back to their God-established role as head of their family: to provide, protect, and cultivate life on their team. I found this chapter particularly refreshing and needed in our day—when fathers seem little more than baby producers, without a sense of calling, privilege, and responsibility. The wife, Archer argues, is to come alongside as a “helper,” to assist him in her God-ordained role in the family. They are makers of the home and are called to cultivate a healthy and peaceful environment as stewards of that home. Archer carefully unpacks the relevant Scripture passages as he illustrates these callings and roles.
The book’s discussion on children may be the most practical and helpful. The reader can easily pick up his experience with raising children, the difficulties involved, and ably guides the reader to some very practical conclusions. In particular, he gives some helpful advice on discipline, instruction, common pitfalls, and hope in the midst of it all.
I was glad to see that Dr. Archer included a chapter on singleness. There are many different reasons for singleness: temporary and permanent voluntary singleness and involuntary singleness. Those who are married need to realize that there are advantages to being single, which Archer carefully explains. In a book for and about the family, this chapter came as a welcome surprise.
I also appreciate Archer’s call to family worship—the “Team Huddle.” Fewer duties are more neglected in our day than regular family worship, where a dad leads his wife and children in Scripture reading, catechism, prayer, and singing.
The book is helpfully broken down into subsections and sub-subsections throughout, making it easy to read a little bit and then come back to it later without losing the essential flow. It also includes a set of questions at the end of every chapter so that the reader may “chew” on the content a bit more. While I personally found the “team” analogy a bit monotonous, the actual content related to the family was valuable, practical, and biblical.