CABOT – “God calls us not to lead great churches ... (but) what gives you credibility to your ministry on Sunday is how you lead your and love your wife on Monday,” Bryan Loritts told pastors and guests gathered for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Pastors’ Conference Monday, Oct. 29, at First Baptist Church, Cabot.
Loritts, lead pastor of Fellowship Memphis Church, Memphis, Tenn., shared a message from Eph. 5:25-33 titled “Marriage and Ministry.”
The Memphis pastor said he wanted to talk to the men about the state of their homes.
Loritts said it’s not that some of the pastors he knows have bad marriages, but rather (they) “don't to seem to be marriages, but nothing more than arrangements.” Loritts said he and his wife made the following observation about a pastor they know recently, turning to each other and remarking, “We’ve never seen him hold her hand … or deal affectionately with her.”
He added, “It’s amazing to me how many pastors … It's not that they are at each other's throats, but really it’s just like they are cohabitating. … sharing the bills, sharing space. It’s obviously that he’s one with the church but not one with his wife.”
Loritts told pastors their primary ministry should be to their wives.
“God was not calling you to be one with your church,” he said. “He calls us to be one with our wives. Churches come and go. Ornery deacons come and go. There’s one thing God called you outside Him until death do you part … it is your wife. (If) you screw that up, you are not qualified to lead God’s people.
“If your wife has to work up the strength and pray to God to give her the fortitude to endure your sermons, not because they are good or bad, but because she’s seen the real you that doesn’t flow from a man who loves her, do yourself a favor and get out of the ministry.”
Loritts compared marriage to grits. He said grits don’t taste like such without something added to them like butter or shrimp. Referring to the passage from Ephesians, he said, what Paul is saying is that marriage isn’t much without Christ.
Pastors must thoroughly saturate their marriages with Christ, said Loritts, and he encouraged pastors to exercise humility, forgiveness and to build Christ-centered homes with their wives.
“Our wives should be able to say, ‘I'm a better woman because of your leadership in my life,’” said Loritts. “Can your wife say that? Can your wife say that I’m a better woman, not because I have gone through the maturation process of adulthood, … not because I’ve heard his sermons, I am a better woman because I've seen his sermons at work in him.”