The Bible declares in Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” I firmly believe that every good and wise leader will arm himself with wisdom…wisdom from above (cf. James 1:5) and wisdom from other godly Christians. In a sentence, when wisdom speaks, a wise leader will listen.
In the past several weeks, I have made numerous ministry connections. That is to say, I am building for myself (and for Prairie Flower) a wide ministry net in which to capture much needed wisdom and discernment in moments when I need it the most. The truth of the matter is, I do not have all the answers to all the questions out there, but God does, and He has provided certain individuals with the wisdom and experience to coach me through difficult or unique situations.
In fact, a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking with a certain pastor from the Des Moines area. He is a successful pastor with a fairly large church. I connected with him and asked him for much needed advice on church growth and leadership. In the course of our discussion, he made this simple, but profound statement concerning church growth, he said, “Excitement is surface – only time plus faithfulness equals trust.” In other words, this wise pastor was reminding me that ultimately what a church needs is not fun and excitement, but a faithful shepherd who will stay the course through thick and thin and build trust with his people. When wisdom spoke that afternoon, I listened and was admonished.
Then, just last week, I made another connection with another pastor from the Iowa City area. We chatted for nearly an hour and talked about everything from ministry philosophy to channeling momentum in ministry. It was a great conversation and I learned much from this man, but I think I will always remember his last piece of advice to me, he said, “David, remember your greatest enemy is not from without…it’s from within.” He went on to state that success in ministry can lead to a pastor being lifted up in great pride. He encouraged me to guard my heart and, at all times, fully rely on the Lord, not myself. When wisdom spoke last week, I listened and was challenged.
Then this morning, I met for the first time Prairie Flower’s former pastor, Don Collings. We met in town and had coffee. During the course of our visit, we talked about many things. We laughed together and prayed together. It was a sweet connection and he ended with this…”You know, I love you and I will be praying for you.” Not overly complicated or deep, but it was so incredibly encouraging. In this moment, I was reminded that ministry is truly about loving people and lifting them up in prayer to the God of all wisdom. Pastor Collings is a man who understands that we don’t have all the answers, but we serve a God who does! When wisdom spoke this morning, I listened and was strengthened.
Three pastors. Three separate conversations. Men from different backgrounds and ministry experiences, but all with great wisdom and discernment. Our lives converged, but for a moment, and I was helped, admonished, challenged, and strengthened. Our God is a good God and I am so grateful that He created these men and gave to these men their particular life story. I am benefiting from decades of their life and ministry experiences. The challenge, however, is not so much in processing their wisdom, but in practicing their wisdom. May God help me as I seek to lead in wisdom!