Principles for Christian Leaders

Counsel and plan together

The greatest work is before us. Our peril, which threatens our usefulness and which will prove our ruin if not seen and overcome, is selfishness—placing a higher estimate upon our plans and our opinions and our labors and moving independently of our brethren. “Counsel together,” have been the words repeated by the angel again and again.—MS 2, 1881 (December) PCL 52.2

It is in the order of God that those who bear responsibilities should often meet together to counsel with one another, and to pray earnestly for that wisdom which He alone can impart. Unitedly make known your troubles to God. Talk less; much precious time is lost in talk that brings no light. Let brethren unite in fasting and prayer for the wisdom that God has promised to supply liberally.—MS 29, 1907 (January 16); TM 499 PCL 52.3

Among God’s people are some who have had long experience in His work, men who have not departed from the faith. Notwithstanding the great trials through which they have passed, they have remained faithful. These men should be regarded as tried and chosen counselors. They should be respected, and their judgment should be honored by those who are younger or who have had less experience, even though these younger men may be in official positions.—MS 29, 1907 (January 16); TM 497 PCL 52.4

In the work of the laborers there should be a counseling together. No one is to strike out on his own independent judgment, and work according to his own mind, unless he has a treasury of his own from which to draw. Our heavenly Father careth for His children, and His grace is sufficient in every time of need. But if we consider ourselves sufficient to manage the work of God, and depend for success on our own individual wisdom to plan and execute, we may expect defeats and losses; for they will surely come.—RH, December 8, 1885 PCL 53.1

Satan may move through one man’s mind to warp things out of their proper channel; he may succeed with two who view things in a similar light; but with several minds enlisted there is greater safety against his wiles. Every plan will be more liable to be viewed from all sides, every advance will be more carefully studied, so that no enterprise will be so likely to be entered upon which will bring confusion and perplexity and defeat to the work in which we are engaged. In union there is strength; in division there is weakness and defeat.—SpTA05 3 (1896); TM 252 PCL 53.2

“Without me ye can do nothing,” says Jesus, (John 15:5) and yet many think that man can do very much in his own finite strength and wisdom. Satan is ready to offer his counsel that he may win souls in the game of life. When men do not feel the need of counseling with their brethren, something is wrong; they trust to their [own] wisdom. It is essential that brethren should counsel together. This I have been compelled to urge for the last forty-five years. Again and again the instruction has been repeated that those who are engaged in important work in the cause of God should not walk in their own ideas, but counsel together. They may regard their plans as without a flaw, but other minds may be enlightened on some points where they cannot see or may take heed to suggestions and counsels of those who see not the truth. The Lord may have plans of a different order, not after the plans of finite man. PCL 53.3

The Lord has not endowed one man with all the qualifications essential to accomplish the work in our institutions. One man may be strong in one direction and weak on other points, and Satan understands how to take advantage of that weak point; and another may be strong in another direction, each making up for the deficiency of his brother. Let no man think himself sufficient of himself, with breadth of mind enough to carry the weighty responsibilities of running such institutions as the publishing house, the college, or the health institutions. Among a multitude of counselors there is safety.—MS 8c, 1891 (July 26) PCL 54.1

In our work we must consider the relation that each worker sustains to the other worker connected with the cause of God. We must remember that others as well as ourselves have a work to do in connection with this cause. We must not bar the mind against counsel. In our plans for the carrying forward of the work, our mind must blend with other minds. PCL 54.2

Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in the wisdom of our brethren. We must be willing to take advice and caution from our fellow laborers. Connected with the service of God, we must individually realize that we are parts of a great whole. We must seek wisdom from God, learning what it means to have a waiting, watching spirit, and to go to our Saviour when tired and depressed. PCL 54.3

It is a mistake to withdraw from those who do not agree with our ideas. This will not inspire our brethren with confidence in our judgment. It is our duty to counsel with our brethren and to heed their advice. We are to seek their counsel, and when they give it, we are not to cast it away, as if they were our enemies. Unless we humble our hearts before God, we shall not know His will.—MS 29, 1907 (January 16); TM 500 PCL 55.1

The same line of work is not to be committed to each one, and therefore you [workers in institutions] need to counsel together in that freedom and confidence that should exist among the Lord’s workmen. All need to have less confidence in self, and far greater confidence in the One who is mighty in counsel, who knows the end from the beginning.—Letter 49a, 1897 (September) PCL 55.2

When you [Daniells, Colcord, Faulkhead, Palmer, and Salisbury] respect each other, you will respect Jesus Christ. You are to show no preferences, for the Lord does not show preferences to His chosen ones. He says, “I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” This is the confidence that the Lord would have you cherish in each other. Unless you do this more than you have done in your past experience, you will not walk and work under the dictates of the Spirit of God. God would have you united in pleasant cords of companionship. As the Lord’s workmen, you are to open your plans one to another. These plans must be carefully and prayerfully considered, for the Lord will leave those who do not do this to stumble in their own supposed wisdom and superior greatness.—Letter 49, 1897 (September 1) PCL 55.3