Proverbs 11:14

Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Our church government follows this principle. No one minister or elder may rule the church. Instead, it is through the prayerful deliberation of elders (ministers are Teaching Elders; lay elders are Ruling Elders in our denomination) that divine guidance is received and given to the church. In actual practice, the “system” can sometimes seem burdensome, and yet more often than not it results in wiser counsel than that of any one individual.
All of us need counselors, and the greater authority we possess, the more needed are good counselors. Some persons think that the mark of true leadership is to act without counsel, at least without the counsel of those who would be under their authority. Husbands make this mistake regarding their wives; elders may miss the wise counsel of the deacons. Bosses will ignore counsel from their employees. But one of the premises of the book of Proverbs is that the mark of wisdom is knowing when wise counsel is being given. The wise leader, therefore, desires to hear the counsel of others, whatever their position may be. He asks good questions; he elicits the opinions of those under him. He, then, as a leader must make the decision and bear the responsibility. All the more, he needs counselors.

We all need, of course, the one whom Jesus called the Counselor, the Holy Spirit. The wisest counselors are the biggest fools without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the work of the Spirit within and among counselors in which a people and a church will find safety.

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