Monday, March 9, 2009

I Will Counsel You

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you" (Psalm 32: 8.)

The call to pastor brings with it the responsibility to discern God's direction for a local church in the community where God has placed it. This means that there are times when he or she must be able to discern God's will for the assembly and declare it before the people in meetings, in one-on-one sessions, and from the public platform. While there may be those who relish declaring "Thus saith the Lord" I, for one, take this almost prophetic assignment very seriously.

So many possibilities lie before a local congregation and its leaders: programs promising to work miracles if followed to the letter and numerous books and internet sites gushing advice on any number of issues facing the local congregation of Christ followers. There is a glut of information assailing the pastor's mind and heart and the easiest route might be to take a pre-packaged product and declare it to be God's sovereign will for the next chapter of the church's life.

While there is tremendous possibiities open for excellent programming today, nothing can replace that intimate relationship that exists between the local church pastor and His Lord. After all the books and blogs have been read and re-read, the doors of the study need be shut to the outside world and the shepherd/leader must get alone with His God and seek to understand the plans and purposes of the Holy Spirit for the body of believers meeting in that local setting.

"But I'm not into the mystical!" you might be tempted to exclaim or "I'm a leader and not a prayer!" you may be wanting to explain. But leadership gifting and a refined skill set honed by years of experience are not quite enough for leading God's people. Many a leader, choosing to rest on his giftings, has painfully discover that while the leadership books and experience affirmed one course, the Lord of the Church commanded quite another (see Joshua's conquering of the Promised Land and the apostle Paul being hindered from Asia in order to preach in Macedonia).

God's promise to the Psalmist is still valid for the Pastor and should bring no small measure of comfort and consideration:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you" (Psalm 32: 8).

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