Israel Villalobos: Christ at the center of your family


For many pastors, keeping Christ at the center of their family can be much harder than they imagine, Israel Villalobos said.

During his June 13 message to the Southern Baptist Convention Ministers’ Conference in Anaheim, Villalobos focused on the challenges pastors face in honoring the Lord in their homes.

Sometimes it can be hard to put your family ahead of a night of football or another interest, said Villalobos, a Spanish pastor at Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving, Texas.

Going through Colossians 3:18-4:1, he noted that some people “cringe” with the verses that deal with wives submitting to their husbands. He noted that some might consider these verses “chauvinistic,” with Paul saying that men are superior to women.

Context is key

“But, if you fully understand the culture where women were objects to be used and enjoyed simply to have children and for the man to have an heir, then you can see how Paul was presenting a view of marriage that really uplifted the women to a level of equality and value that they did not experience during this time – and perhaps had not even considered.

Villalobos noted that the concept of husbands loving their wives may have been a new concept at this time. He noted that it might have been “new to those listening,” he said. “It was not common for this type of instruction to take place.”

But even today, he says, husbands find it difficult to love their wives.

“Unfortunately, even today, this instruction is still mind-boggling,” he said. “How often should husbands in marriage counseling be reminded to love their wives?

“Many husbands will gladly take the ball [for their wives],” he said. But few are “willing to give up sports, hobbies, Tuesday night softball.”

He noted, “Remember, wife submission and husband sacrificial love are God’s established rules. We must do these things for God the Father to be glorified.

fathers and children

Another challenge, he said, concerns fathers and their children. He explained that children should obey their parents and that fathers should not “exasperate their children so that they do not become discouraged”.

“Incorporating discipline is very important,” he said, “but it has to be administered with the right attitude and the right mindset.

“Relentless criticism or harsh and constant punishment will certainly make them lose heart,” he said. “That’s not what we want. We want them to be nurtured, to feel loved, and to have a healthy balance of gentleness and divine discipline as we nurture them, learning to be firm and gentle at the same time.

Too often Villalobos has noted that children of pastors walk away from church because they feel their father loves church more than he loves them.

Fathers, we need to understand what Paul is doing here,” he said, “he wants us to practically magnify Christ in the home first. We must encourage our children to love us, yes, but above all to love God.

He concluded, “It doesn’t matter if you are the wife, the husband, the parent, the child, the worker, the employer… do these godly things. Live like this. Have this mindset because it honors God.

See photos from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention pastors conference here.


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