4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 1 Timothy 3:4
This verse has certainly been abused by parishioners through the years. I can’t count the number of times that a pastor’s kid misbehaves, and this verse is recited. Often the verse is noted even after the child has left home and is living a wayward life.
Regarding the child who has left home and is wayward, people make choices. We can’t stop them from making silly and sinful choices. The pastor can certainly instill great ethics and morals, but ultimately the child must choose his/her own path. I’m not even sure why that is up for debate. Perhaps people are just looking for ways to bring down the pastor.
Regarding misbehaving children still in the home. Kids don’t always behave the way we want them to. As long as the pastor and his wife believe they are still in control of the child, then they should be given latitude. The pastor’s family lives in a fishbowl. Every action within the family is noticed, evaluated, scrutinized, and judged. Often foolish and spiteful parishioners say hurtful things to the family members.
Yes, there are times when the pastor may need to step away from the ministry to get his household in order. What would happen, though, if even 50% of the congregation was praying for the pastor and his family? I suspect that would make a world of difference in the peace and stability of the pastor’s homefront.