Good leadership requires clear communication. Can you imagine a general leading his troops into battle and not giving them clear marching orders? Or the plan of attack? Or intel that would help them be successful completing their mission? When Jesus ascends to reign at the right hand of the Father, he gives a clear mission: “Go teach—making disciples and baptizing all nations.”
As leaders in our home, we must not fail to do the same. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way—by not communicating clearly—and it’s something I still must intentionally put effort into. Because all that God has done for us, we are “in Christ Jesus” and so have his mindset (Phil. 2:5). That, not guilt or shame, is our fuel for leading our home and don’t underestimate the transformative power of sacrificial love. It never leaves you the same. It always overflows its banks.
In my own quest to lead my family well, I’ve found four types of communication key to strong leadership. Think of them as techniques used by a master artist seeking to create a beautiful mosaic. There are horizontal and vertical aspects to each. There are general and personal. And when integrated together in your home, they cultivate love and sacrifice.
FIRST, WE MUST REGULARLY REPENT
Martin Luther penned the 95 Theses in response to the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. Famously, theses number one states, “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” The entire life of believers to be one of repentance. Not part of life. Not just for pastors. Not just at work. All of life. That includes our home. A good leader will have consistent and clear communication with those he is leading and a major part of that communication must include repentance.
The extent to which we repent to our wife and children will directly set the stage for the tone of our leadership and for the rest of the communication. Getting used to repenting requires a good measure of humility. Something few of us have naturally. Thankfully as I noted earlier from Philippians, Paul says the humility and servant-mindset of Jesus is ours because of our unbreakable union with Him. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore doesn’t expel Harry and Ron after they break school rules to save Ron’s sister Ginny even though he threatened to after an earlier infraction. Dumbledore says, “‘Which goes to show that the best of us must sometimes eat our words’” (“Dobby’s Reward”). Men, don’t be afraid to eat your words when you are wrong. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to tell my daughter’s, “Dad, was a jerk. I was wrong.” Or “My discipline was off. My attitude was way off. Will you forgive me?”
SECOND, WE CENTER OUR HOMES ON SCRIPTURE
You might have expected this, but you cannot lead your home well without placing Scripture at the core of your communication. God speaks and we must listen. God speaks and we must share that with our families. We must encourage them to read His words on their own. We must encourage them to fill their heart with his words and the Word.
This communication should include reading Scripture. That cannot be substituted; on the other hand, reading Scripture once a day with our family does not fulfill our duties. We must include Scripture in our daily liturgy (routine)—as we walk, talk, eat, etc. This may include answering questions our family has. It may include telling or reading a good story. It may include formal or informal catechesis. There are a variety of ways Scripture can be communicated in our home. It should start with basic reading and explaining and flower into the other areas mentioned.