“Who Among You Is Wise?”

Pastors looking at their congregation through the lens of Scripture see both a wonderful prospect and a daunting challenge.

The prospect? Scripture helps pastors see from a distance the glory of God’s people coming into their own: “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

The challenge? Scripture helps pastors see up close a threat to God’s people fulfilling this vision: if we do not “equip the saints for the work of ministry,” then our congregations will not grow up to maturity (Ephesians 4:12).

Clearly, the needs for wise care within the church far exceed the capacity of any pastor, and clearly, the solution is to multiply wise helpers within the church through training. “How?” is the million-dollar question! The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) is a biblical counseling ministry that God is using worldwide to help pastors like me answer this all-important, how-to question.

Nearly twenty-five ago, a friend invited me to attend CCEF’s National Conference, and I’m so glad I did! That’s where I not only caught the vision for biblical counseling, but also began to receive training to live and do the vision. Today, I’d like to invite you to attend CCEF’s National Conference. Already, fifteen members of Harvest have committed to going with me, and we’d love to have you join us!

This year’s conference is titled “The Way of Wisdom”, and it will be held September 30 – October 2 in Hershey, PA. Here’s how CCEF describes this year’s training focus:

“‘Who among you is wise?’ [James 3:13] This question from James still penetrates deeply into our hearts and lives today. Wisdom is a quality we often admire, long for, and desperately need, both for ourselves and those we minister to. And yet, if we’re honest, gaining wisdom can be all too elusive. Scripture shows us the reasons this is true: folly entices us. Our lives encounter trouble every day, demanding that we discern how to live well in an ever-changing context. Far too often, we see how short we fall and are rendered speechless before James’s enduring question. But there is hope. We have the Scriptures and we have Jesus who is the “wisdom from God.” This year, our conference will delve into the Old Testament’s Wisdom Literature, and together we will pursue what it looks like to gain wisdom. Together we will seek to apply the riches of these Old Testament books to our counseling, our relationships, and our lives.”

As Harvest’s Pastor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, I’m committed year-round to helping our church grow still more into a community that delivers biblically wise care and counsel. However, there’s no substitute for an once-a-year “catalyst” for helping members “catch the vision” for what church can be and should be, “as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16).

CCEF’s National Conference wonderfully fulfills this function. Keynote speakers illustrate how God calls and equips the church to interpret and address problems in living through conversational ministry. Practical workshops explore and tackle variations of our struggles in more detail. Rubbing shoulders with laypeople from around the country gives window to how other churches think, love, and do counseling ministry, and how our church can do the same. And all of this takes place within a weekend soaked in worshiping the Christ who transforms sinners and sustains sufferers.

Interested in learning more? Let me suggest the following:

  • Attend our next informational meeting on Sunday, August 21 (Time TBA), at which time I’ll explain more about our group’s conference registrations, hotel accommodations, and travel options.
  • Feel free to drop me an email with any related questions you have; I or my assistant, Kate Davies, will be glad to answer them.

In Christ,

Pastor Greg

1 Comment

Is CCEF similar to the Stephen's Ministry program? My wife and I were involved with that at our former church.

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