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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Layman to Layman

Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Layman to Layman

I am deeply burdened to see pastors develop a biblical philosophy and practice of mentoring in the local church, but the pastor is not the only member in the body responsible to have a biblical philosophy and practice of mentoring. Mentoring ought to be a way of life for every maturing believer in the church. Rather than relaying the practice of local church pastoral mentoring, I would like to take a quick survey of the various spheres of mentoring within the local church that the Scriptures address.

First, older women are to mentor younger women in the local church. In Titus 2, Paul commands Titus to exhort aged men and women to be sound in the faith. Notice the reason that Paul commands this soundness in the church. “that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Spiritually maturing women are responsible in the church to both pattern godliness and teach godliness to women who are young both in the Lord and in years.

Secondly, older men are to mentor younger men in the local church. In the same passage, Paul exhorts Titus to teach the “aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.” The result of this godly pattern was that “In all things [older men would teach the younger men by showing] a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Like women who are sound in the faith, men who are sound in the faith are also exhorted to teach and mentor younger men.

Thirdly, fathers are commanded to mentor their children. In Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21, fathers are commanded not to provoke their children to wrath or discouragement. The Ephesians 6 passage is interesting because it not only commands us not to “provoke our children to wrath: but [we are to] bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The phrase, “bringing them up,” means to bring them up to maturity. This phrase describes both the goal and the duration of mentoring. The word “nurture” means the whole training or education of the child. This word emphasizes the means of educating, disciplining, and training as one mentors his children. The word “admonition” means exhortation and is the word from which we get the phrase “pneuthetic counseling.” Fathers have a serious God-given responsibility to mentor their children to maturity.

Lastly, every maturing member of the body has the responsibility to mentor those in the body who are young in the faith. Hebrews 5:11-6:1 says that “when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.” Notice the phrase in this passage that emphasizes the responsibility of every believer. “Ye ought to be teachers.” Every believer must be skillful in his ability to handle the word of God, steadily growing in maturity, and teaching others the basics of the faith.

I want to challenge each person to recognize his God-given responsibility to mentor those within his sphere of influence. The pastor is not to be the only member in the body who is involved in mentoring. He is to be one among many. Mentoring others in the faith is hard work, yet it is a wonderful blessing. Will you seize your opportunities as the Lord gives you opportunity till He returns?

 

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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Conclusion

Pastor to preacher boy: Conclusion

After considering several suggestions that relate specifically to pastoral mentoring, how are you doing in this area of ministry? Are you actively seeking to take young men “under your wing,” not to have someone do the menial labors of ministry, but for the simple purpose of investing in their lives? Do you have a methodical approach to mentoring these younger men into the ministry? Are you living a pattern that would be beneficial for them to follow? Are you growing so you will have greater depth and insight into areas that can help this younger generation take the torch and run with it? Mentoring is not just a neat ideal, it is a non-negotiable responsibility. We need mentoring in the local church.

For those who need to be mentored, how moldable are you? Are you willing to listen to the advice of an older man? How will you respond when he points to a specific deficiency in your life? Will you be diligent in addressing what he reveals to you? Will you humbly take the opportunities he gives you, or will you have a critical spirit because he has not given you opportunity worthy of your calling and gifting? We must be learners and teachers. We must be involved in the Biblical labor of pastoral mentoring! May God give us grace and expand His work exponentially, as we are faithful in this mutual labor of love for the glory of God!

 

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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Part 7

Lovingly Expose his Strengths and Weaknesses

As we near the end of our study, my desire is that your heart would have been stirred in at least one area of pastoral mentoring. If you are a young man, I hope that your heart was stirred to look for wise men that will mentor you in the faith. I also hope that a seed was planted which will cause you to strive to mentor other when it is your turn to mentor. If you are a pastor, I hope these Biblical concepts have stirred your heart to prayerfully seek to be a mentor and a guide to young diligent men preparing themselves for future ministry. If you are neither a pastor or preacher boy, I hope that you will recognize that these same pastoral principles can and should be applied within other relational spheres in the local church. I plan to cover briefly several other aspects of mentoring in future post, but for now, this leads us to my final suggestion. Lovingly expose the strengths and weaknesses of your apprentice. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful;” and Proverbs 28:23 says, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with the tongue.” A mentoring pastor must come to the place that he will lovingly expose the strengths and weaknesses of his pupil. Having worked in the construction business for several years, I have seen the manner in which some men handle their young apprentices. Often that poor young man is the “grunt” who is severally taken advantage of. He is paid very little. He works hard all day cleaning the job site, stacking lumber, carrying shingles up a latter, and other labor intensive tasks. He has no skills, because he lacks experience, and his boss makes his life miserable. When the young man forgets a measurement, or makes a mistake there is no love but rather harsh rebuke. He will learn in time, but not nearly as effectively, as he would had his boss mentored him into that particular field of construction. Perhaps you have seen this scenario played out in real life. This is not to be the attitude of the pastor as mentor. According to II Timothy 4:2 he is to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine,” but carefully notice the spirit in which he is commanded to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. These things are to be done with a longsuffering spirit. A pastor is to be “gentle and an able teacher.” He is to take the word of God and teach from a spirit of love, humility, and patience. These wounds are “faithful wounds.” These rebukes afterwards will bring “favor.”

Unfortunately, there are some who have seen the man who abuses his position and react in disgust. There still must be times of rebuke. A pastor must refuse the inclination to react both with this harshness, or in reaction against this harshness by honestly and objectively exposing a young man’s strengths and weaknesses. We must strive for balance in this area as in every other area of mentoring. I am reminded of Titus 2:6-8 that says, “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Young men need to be exhorted in these areas, because it is not natural for them to be sober minded and grave in every area of their lives. Young men are often quick and foolish with their tongues, and they must be brought to account. I encourage you; strive to be a balanced mentor who lovingly exposes your pupil’s strengths and weaknesses. May God give us grace to listen when we are lovingly rebuked, the discernment to see others needs, and the grace and discernment necessary to effectively communicate those needs so we can properly help them.

 

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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Part 6

Expect Him to Develop a Wisely Focused, Diligent Work Ethic

A sixth suggestion that I would like to present, is the importance of expecting young men to develop a wisely focused, diligent work ethic. It is a common perception by some that the ministry is a “soft occupation” for those that do not like to work hard. While practical observation of some unfaithful ministers may strengthen that perception, that misunderstanding is totally off base, considering the Biblical expectation on ministers of the gospel. Some men in the ministry are workaholics who are practically speaking are “wed” to the labor of ministry, while others do just enough to get by, and take advantage of whatever “perks” they can have. The reality is that anyone who will be serious about serving in the office of elder/pastor must be a wise steward of the gifts of God, and a diligent wisely focused worker.

There is a tremendous work load that comes to mind as one honestly evaluates the Scriptures regarding pastoral responsibility. Young men who desire to go into ministry need to be met squarely with the weight of this commitment. We must strive to live in that Biblical balance, and perhaps the best way to do that is to keep before us the nature of the office. My purpose in this article is not to tell you where the balance is, but to encourage you to think about several passages that emphasize the various labors of pastoral ministry. For some there ought to be a serious consideration of cutting back on nonessentials, and for others there may be a need to step up your labors. I pray that as you meditate on these passages, the Lord would give you the wisdom to live that delicate balance personally, as well as reasonably set your expectations of younger men whom you mentor. May each of us be wise and faithful stewards who exercise our God-given responsibilities to the glory of God!

• Bi-vocational ministry is not always required, nor is it forbidden:

Acts 20:32-35 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

II Thessalonians 3:7 “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

I Corinthians 9:13-15 “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 4 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.”

• Ministry must be a laboring expression of love:

Revelation 2:2-5 “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

• We should be willing to suffer if called to do so for the sake of the ministry:

I Corinthians 9:22-27 “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

• Providing for the needs of one’s family is a non-negotiable:

I Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

• Young men must be willing to carry a heavy load:

Lamentations 3:27 “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”

• We must be faithful in every avenue of life:

Titus 1:6 “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly, for a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God;”

• We must be serious students who rightly divides the word of God:

II Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

• We must feed the flock:

Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

I Peter 5:2 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”

• We must do the work of an evangelist:

II Timothy 4:5 “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

 

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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Part 5

Expose to Others to Provide Balance

 I want to ask you to think back to your childhood.  Can you remember a classmate or neighbor who always had to be right, and could never be told he was wrong?  Maybe if you dared tell him that he was wrong, you would face his unrestrained wrath.  Hopefully you were not that kind of child, but if you were, that was a very natural thing.  The fact is that it is human nature to want to be right, and to believe that your way is the only right and best way.  The fact is, no matter how hard we try, and no matter how a hard we study, we cannot get everything right.  Some issues are complicated, and the answer is not always clear or simple.  Think back just five years.  Are there things that you see differently today than you did just five years ago?  Are there messages you preached as a young man, that you look at today and cringe at the thought of the way you presented
certain concepts or passages?  No man is infallible.  We will always bring a “pair of glasses” to the Scriptures, and sadly we often interpret Scripture to fit our presupposed conclusions or theological perspective.

This aspect of fallen humanity is the foundation for the following passages in Proverbs.  Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.”  Proverbs 24:6 says, “in multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Please do not miss the emphasis in these passages.  Solomon’s emphasis is not just the importance of “counselors,” but
he is also emphasizing the importance of the “multitude of counselors.” One counselor is not enough!  Now please do not misunderstand what I am saying.  I do not advocate doing an opinion poll in order to make decisions, nor am I advocating the common practice of getting counselors who will tell you what you want to hear when Scripture speaks clearly on a matter.  I am simply saying as was Solomon, that balance and safety come when several wise counselors are consulted.  The counsel of several wise counselors is necessary, because human wisdom of even the greatest sages is limited.  Every man has his quirks, as well as his areas of weakness and even blindness.  May I challenge you to mentor your preacher boy wisely, by not become his idol or only source of counsel.  You as every other man are limited.  Give him good books.  Encourage him to be as well read and grounded as possible.  The cream will rise to the top, when a man is wisely evaluating the things he reads and hears.  Realize that you do not have to agree with a man all the time to learn from him.  Perhaps you would have serious disagreements with a man in a particular issue, yet he can give you tremendous help in another area.  I encourage you to help your preacher boy be balanced by exposing him to others who will help him.  I most certainly am not encouraging you to throw caution to the wind, yet I am encourage you to use the resources that are available to you.  On issues of
disagreement, careful study of the word of God will help you stay on track.

I think a powerful illustration of this humble recognition of human
limitation was evidenced in the approach of the translators of the Authorized Version printed in 1611.  I am not going to go into all the details of the translation process, however it was quite elaborate.  There were teams that worked together on various sections of the translation.  Each teams work was submitted to the critiques of other groups.  Even after this elaborate check and balance system, notice the words of the translators to the reader in their preface. “Some peradventure would have no variety of senses to be set in the margin, lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding of controversies by that show of uncertainty, should somewhat be shaken. But we hold their judgment not to be sound in this point…doth not a margin
do well to admonish the reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulity,
to doubt of those things that are evident: so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can be no less than presumption…so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is no so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded…They that are wise, had rather have their judgments at liberty in differences of readings, than to be captivated to one, when it may be the other.”  Even with all the checks and balances put into place, there was a careful humble approach to their final product.  The translators realized and emphasized their limitations.  Rather than dogmatizing what was not clear to the team, they where
honest with their limitation.  My Cambridge wide margin Bible contains over 8,400 translation notes covering a variety of translation issues, from text reading, alternate translations, or more literal rendering.  These men chose to be honest and humbly recognizing their human limitations.  My point is not to teach a lecture on the philosophy of these men and their outstanding product, but to show you by means of illustration the manner in which we should mentor those under our care.  Those who mentor as if they have a monopoly on the truth stand in grave danger of crippling those whom they mentor by the very nature of human limitation.  Men will be far more biblical and balanced in their practice if they are exposed to a multitude of counselors, rather than one dogmatic counselor.  I encourage each man involved in the mentoring process to keep in mind this humbling principle of the relationship between human limitation and mentoring.

 

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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Teach Fundamental Local Church Practice

Teach Fundamental Local Church Practice:

 A fourth aspect of pastoral mentoring is the principle, that a pastor must teach the fundamental aspects of local church practice to whomever he is mentoring, both layman and preacher boy.  I am thankful for sound Bible colleges and their ministries to and within the local church.  I appreciate their academic rigors and the thoroughness of their academic, practical, and theological curriculums; however, these institutions were not ordained by God as His means of proclaiming truth.  The church was!  My point is not to encourage people not to send their young people to Bible College; rather it is to challenge our pastors not to depend upon institutions to do the work that was committed to them by God.  Our churches must be
thorough in teaching their people the fundamental doctrines of local church practice.

There are two key passages that emphasize this concept, I Corinthians 11 and II Thessalonians 2.  Both passages emphasize that Paul as an apostle had the responsibility to teach the church through word and epistle proper church practice, and then that the church and their leadership had the responsibility to follow this apostolic instruction.  I Corinthians 11:2 says, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”  Paul had many difficult things to write to the church of Corinth, but one thing he praised them for, was their careful observation to keep the ordinances that he had previously given.  The “ordinances” in the sense that Paul is writing go beyond the two ordinances of the church that we currently practice, the Lord’s Supper and baptism.  He is using this term to cover apostolic instruction regarding local church practice.  This epistle was going to teach additional instruct to the church in areas like church discipline, practice of spiritual gifts, worship, teaching,  and the holiness of
the Lord’s Supper.  Though no pastor is in the position of an early church apostle, he is still given the responsibility to teach the practices revealed by those apostles.  II Thessalonians 2:15 says: “Brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” The word translated “traditions” in this passage is the same word translated “ordinances” in I Corinthians 11.  Paul’s purpose was not to teach the church to be traditionalists, in the sense of many religious sects today, rather than pure Biblicists; instead he was speaking as an apostle, in the place of God, commanding the church to keep God’s instruction through him.  Please keep in mind that Paul’s apostolic instruction was ultimately from God, and that this instruction was as binding to them then, as Scripture is to us today. In other words, Paul was not acting as the pious self-righteous religious leaders in the days of Christ who were rebuked for teaching their own traditions in addition to or in opposition to the previously given word of God, rather he was referring to his instruction as Divine instruction.  No man living today can justly claim as Paul
did that he was an apostle sent by Jesus Christ, uniquely gifted, instructed, and called into this special temporary office in the establishment of Christ’s church.  My point is that in principle we must do the same thing that Paul did; however, we can only speak authoritatively where the Scriptures have previously spoken.  We are bound to dogmatize only what is revealed in the closed canon of Scripture, God’s inspired word through the prophets and apostles of old.

As Paul laid out instruction for the church, pastors must do the same today.  Pastors must mentor their young men through teaching them the fundamentals of local church practice.  In II Thessalonians 3:5-8 Paul writes: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for naught; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not
power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”
  Notice several aspects of this passage that are instructive to us.

First, Paul speaks as an apostle “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”    When Paul used that phrase, he was saying to the church that his instruction was literally from God.  Paul was speaking with the same authority as Old Testament prophets who used the phrase “Thus saith the LORD…”  You and I cannot speak this boldly save where we have the clear dictates of Scripture, yet when we do, we must do this.  Secondly, notice the context of the command.  Paul is writing to a church who has received divine revelation, from the apostle, regarding the dignity of work previous to this epistle.  If a man refused to obey this instruction by not working, then he was not to be cared for by the church.  Paul says if a man walks in a “disorderly” way in relation to the “traditions that you have already received from the apostles,” then you must “withdraw yourself from that man.”  The context
is Paul giving apostolic instruction regarding the response of people within the church to previously given apostolic instruction.  The current day equivalent is a pastor taking his Bible and explaining to a preacher boy or church member how church discipline should be practiced in the local church, and in what circumstances it is to be practiced.  Every pastor should be instructing his congregation as well as his preacher boys in this and
all other aspects of practice in the church.  Thirdly, notice the pattern that Paul put before the church.  Paul says that they knew how they “ought to follow us,” and that they were “examples unto them to follow.”  Paul did not only give instruction as an apostle, but Paul also lived as a blameless example before the church.  Paul in the context is saying that he restrained himself even beyond what he was required, so he could not be criticized as he instructed the church.  I would like to encourage each pastor to consider his responsibility to teach the fundamentals of church practice not just to the church, but also to the preacher boy.  I encourage you to teach the word of God passionately and to live the word of God consistently as a
pattern for the next generation to follow. I would also like to challenge you be careful not to add or subtract from the rightly divided word of truth.
May God give us more pastors who will be wisely committed to mentoring their people by teaching them the fundamental elements of local church practice, as Paul taught this practice in the churches of his day!

 

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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Part 3

Provide Directional Counsel

Thirdly, I would like to emphasize the importance of pastors providing directional counsel to their preacher boys.  There are a host of issues that preacher boys need direction in: Bible colleges, study tracks, resources, post-graduation decisions, work environment, study methods, and seminary.  These issues just scratch the surface into the kinds of issues that a seasoned pastor has insight to give, and the preacher boy needs insight to gain. Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels;” and Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” I am burdened to see a healthy interaction between seasoned pastors and young men in ministry.  When my wife and I moved to Maryland, we came to Anchor Baptist Church based upon my understanding of the importance of this concept.  Young men, as well as seasoned pastors need the guidance of godly counselors, so they will make well informed decisions.  One of my favorite parts of working on staff as a preacher boy has been the time I have spent with my pastor.  Much of my mission’s philosophy and approach to ministry are a reflection of things I have gleaned from my pastor’s experience through conversations regarding missions.  How can a pastor guide a young man going into ministry?  I hope to plant a few seeds of thought that will thrust us into a proper view of pastoral counseling.

First, how can a pastor properly guide a preacher boy?  If a pastor is going to properly guide a young man in ministry, there must be an established trust, a significant degree of experience, and a proper approach.  If one of these factors is lacking, it will likely negatively impact a pastors well intentioned attempts to properly guide the preacher boy.  Consider the importance of trust.  Notice from Proverbs 1 that a “wise man will hear…wise counsels.”  If a young man will properly apply this passage, he must view the counsel given as wise counsel.  Trust is to be earned, not demanded by means of arrogant manipulation.  The only time a pastor has the God-endorsed authority to call something the will of God is when he has clear Biblical mandate.  If any pastor dogmatically demands absolute confidence in his guidance, then he has abused his God-given position in the church, and has ignored the following Biblical exhortation:  II Timothy 2:24, 25 says, “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;”  I Peter 5:25 says, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”  The pastor is not the lord, but the gentle under-shepherd who is to feed the flock that is among him.  A pastor must be gentle, an able teacher, patient, meek, and wise.  No wise young man who is under such a man’s ministry will take lightly his guidance.  A seasoned pastor must live and minister in such a way, that he earns the trust of those who are under his care.  This is why the principle of mentoring is such an effective concept.  Young men who have been mentored and view their pastor as a wise “father” figure, will heartily listen to their pastors guidance, and this is healthy for both pastor and preacher boy. 

Secondly, the pastor must have a significant degree of experience in the areas that he is wishing to guide the young man.  I remember an interesting story one of my favorite professors in seminary told when he was defending his dissertation in seminary.  He set the scene by telling us about one of the men that would chair his defense.  My teacher was intimidated by this man’s credentials.  He was well read and a highly respected theologian during his lifetime.  When the questioning began, that professor said men I have no questions, this is not my area of expertise.  That moment was liberating for my professor.  Here was a giant in his field who was not well versed in that particular area.  Here is my point.  Though we should be as well rounded as possible, there will always be areas in which we are not proficient.  The areas that we are well versed in, we will grow in till the day we die.  Give counsel only when you have legitimate counsel to give.  Do not be afraid to say, I do not know.  On the other side, know who you can point that young man to.  When I came to Anchor, one of the first things my pastor did was give me a stack of excellent resources on issues that I needed to be exposed to.  My pastor did not write one of those books.  He was not an expert in those areas, yet he guided me to men who were well read and written in those fields, and was a help to me.  Counsel where you are experienced, and then direct your people to those who can make up for your deficiency. 

Lastly, have a proper approach to those whom you are giving counsel.  I can remember an older man who was giving me counsel about a situation I was dealing with.  This man asked me to promise to follow through with his advice before he gave it.  My answer was simply, “If you can clearly show me from the word of God what I am to do in this situation, I will be glad to do that, but apart from that, I can make no promises.”  Needless to say, that approach did not help me trust this man’s judgment in that particular issue.  Our approach is so critical to the way it will be received.  As a Baptist, I believe strongly in soul liberty, and the individual priesthood of the believer.  My advice on any issue apart from the clear dictates of scripture is just that, advice.  I love the way that Jethro, Moses father-in-law, wisely approached Moses, in Exodus 18.  Exodus 18:17, 23-24 says, “And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.” Jethro’s approach was right, he did not arrogantly command Moses to do as he said.  He humbly gave advice that was prefaced by, “if God tells you to do it,” then I think it will help you.  Moses obeyed Jethro and was helped. We must learn to approach people correctly, or we will never be able to help them!  How have you approached this issue of pastoral counsel?  Have you earned the trust of your people, specifically your preacher boys?  Do you counsel where you have experience or direct them to places where they can interact with those who are experienced, and do you approach them wisely?  My hope is that pastors will see the importance of giving wide guidance to their young preacher boys, and then will effectively mentor and guide them as they seek to get started in the Lord’s work!

 

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