It is wise to be sure that there is no appearance of evil, even when no real evil exists. Novices must learn this. I have seen ‘hugs’, kisses on the cheek, inappropriate words, jokes of suggestion, winks, etc that may, or could give rise to errant passions in another person.
Kisses and hugs indicated on the internet with x,s and o’s are not appropriate. Some think they are just indicative of ‘caring’, but it can arouse ideas in the mind that lead another to stumble, even unintentionally into passions not intended by God.
Words of sweetness and caring, like ‘darling’, ‘sweety’, ‘dear’, etc need to be avoided except for one’s own mate. They may sound sweet, but can become a stumbling stone to the one appreciating the kindness of the novice. Those words are not necessary in presenting Scriptural truths.
The marriage of a novice needs to be first in priority. He must learn to guard it, and protect it. The marriage of one being counseled or pastored needs similar recognition of importance. One needs to be sure that this marriage union is guarded and protected. Sometimes, the counseling needs done in a group session, with others who have similar problems. Sometimes the wife should be given the duty to hear the kind of things another woman may want to share. The pastor, novice or not, being a man will not comprehend and be able to empathize with emotions and feelings of a woman. Referrals are often far better an idea than trying to tackle something one is unprepared for, unable to do adequately, and still protect marriage.
A novice is unprepared for these kind of decisions, and often has brought shame to the church. I have known of one pastor who wanted to sing a duet with another married woman. It led to times at the church alone, practicing, and led to sharing feelings and conversation about each others marriages. The resulting affair was unplanned, unintentional, but caused by letting down the spiritual hedge that should have kept such times from occurring. The pastor had to leave the church, his marriage was broken, the woman too suffered marriage consequences and had to leave the church and try to rebuild the broken trust in church, and in Christianity, that her unfaithfulness did to her husband. The novice pastor had not kept safeguards up, had not experienced the temptations that his unwise decisions led to. He needed to learn some basic principles of guarding first his marriage, and if that meant that there would be no duets with this woman, well, God could have blessed a solo. The duets became a curse upon two marriages, and the church. All unintentionally, but all caused by the novice’s ignorance of divine principles.
God has great plans for novices. He wants them to eventually become pastors, but until their wisdom, their experiences, their guidelines of direction are established and in practice, it is wise for him to not be the pastor, as yet.
Men and women on line often try to help each other. The assumption is that on line, not in presence of each other, is a safeguard that will mean that no problem will come due to their growing relationship. It is wise to never get into personal conversations with one of the opposite gender, and to keep the conversations un-personal, only Biblical. It is hard to do for some, for relationships can grow. Respect for a person of God can multiply until even though it is on the internet, a bond occurs, and it can overwhelm the bond of the person’s marriage. Many times married novices begin to admire, and seek further relationship with another also married person on the internet. This will lead to problems, and it is wise to establish safeguards for even internet friendships.
The novice has found Jesus, and wants to move on to a new area of ministry, in pastoring. The novice is a unique person, called by God. The novice is not yet anyhow, in a ‘glass cathedral’ with thousands cheering, but the novice is walking with the King of Kings, being prepared, trained and hoping soon to be ready to do a work that he/she is called to do.
There are things that a novice must learn and accomplish in that ‘alone’ time. The Bible speaks of a ‘prayer closet’, a private place of prayer where only the novice and the Lord are present. The novice can honestly confess, question, and challenge Him, for only the novice and He are there. Bible study can be done with no rush to keep up with others, and with time to stop on one word, or one verse, for as long as the novice and the Lord wish.
Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
In wisdom, as it comes, the novice discovers that he/she needs the mate, the family, the church. Moses realized in humility that one should not proudly try to stand alone.
Numbers 11:14 (KJV)
14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
All novices, before ever pastoring, needs to be humbled as to their own inability to do the work of God without help.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (KJV)
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
A novice will mature as they humbly pray to God, and then learn from the Spirit, to let the Lord bless though mate, family, and other saints, in the work.
Psalm 142:6-7 (KJV)
6 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.
7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for Thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
Of course, a marriage needs to be two that are ‘like-minded’ in the work.
Romans 15:5-6 (KJV)
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we all have the same God our Father, we all have a relationship with our Savior, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is our same Teacher and Empowerer. Therefore, the like-mindedness should be there. Then secondly, the pastor needs to have a oneness with the wife. If this is lacking, or somehow becomes non existent, it is a great hindrance to the work of pastoring.
Philippians 2:2-5 (KJV)
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
The bonding and belonging nature of Christian marriage, and Christian friendship should be far beyond anything the devil can offer his crowd.
John 13:35 (KJV)
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
That love should be exampled in the marriage of the novice, before he/she takes on the role of pastoring. Following that, and with the marriage example first, then the novice can seek out ‘like-minded’ ones, and gathering together with them avoid that lonely feeling that is indicative of not having that sense of belonging.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
When a novice, or pastor, has no mate, then the loneliness can be a problem. John, the apostle, was alone on a prison island of Patmos. He was near a cave wherein he probably slept at night. Yet, there, Jesus appeared to Him. There, he was given a vision revelation of ages to come, of the rapture day events in heaven, of the tribulation judgments followed by the second coming of Jesus. He saw the millennial earth, the new earth to replace this old sinful one. He saw the devil put in the abyss, and later into the lake of fire. That all happened while he was a lonely prisoner.
Jeremiah was thrown into a prison of criminals, put down in the sewer pit of the prison, and there, alone, still talked with the Lord, yelled out prophecies for Baruch to write down. His aloneness did not mean God was not there with Him. Jeremiah could whisper His name, and the Lord was there to answer Him.
Psalm 23:4 (KJV)
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
So, being alone and being lonely are not synonymous. We, as Christians, whether novices or not, have the Lord with us. Preachers who preach the unadulterated, simple gospel will pay a great price for such a ministry.