Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

September 22, 2012

True Counsel?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

When I retired, I made most of my large library available to other pastors.  However, I kept several hundred volumes.  I retained certain basic books and commentaries.  I was recently perusing my book shelves and spotted an old book.  I remembered the book so well . . . it is ragged and well worn.  It was used when I purchased it for $1.50 in 1956.   It is The Making Of A Preacher  by Dr. W.W. Melton, long time pastor in Waco, Texas.

When God called me into ministry, I received counsel from the pastor where I was attending church . . . at times.  Although I had heard Dr. Melton preach and would later have him lecture in certain classes, I was not aware of his great influence on young men called into ministry.  My pastor at that time recommended a book to me . . . yes, The Making Of A Preacher.  I was able to find the book in a book store.  I began to devour the book.  I knew nothing of ministry or what my future as a pastor would be like.  This book had been written for someone like me.  Dr. Melton’s whole purpose was to introduce someone like me to my call to be a pastor.

When I retrieved the book from my shelf, I began to thumb through the various chapters.  Each chapter heading spoke volumes to me.  The question came to me, “Was this book good counsel?  What Dr. Melton suggested . . . was it true counsel?  Have I fleshed out much of what he wrote?  Was I influenced by the book?

Influenced by the book?  How can one measure that?  Certainly it was good counsel in those early days?  Did I follow his counsel?  I cannot answer all those questions, but one thing I know . . . looking at my ministry under the various topics of which he wrote . . . I must say, for good or bad, his book has to be a classic on the subject of being a pastor.

I look back over my 56 years in ministry.  There has been no wiser counsel than that which I received from this book.  It is a treasure, and I intend in heaven to thank Dr. Melton!  Young pastors today would do well to own this book.  (Mine is not for sale or loan — can’t take the risk of losing it!  However, there are vintage copies from several sources on the internet.)

His first counsel helped me to become a better student.  Changing my major from business to religion was dramatic.  It was a new world for me.  But I understood the need.  The best advice ever from Dr. Melton in those first days after my call was “When the Lord calls a man into ministry, He usually calls the unfit, the untrained and the unschooled.  But it is not His plan that a man should remain so.”  I certainly fit the profile . . . “unfit, the untrained and the unschooled.”  I recognized this . . . and accepted the facts and I did not intend to remain so!  I was ready to do something about it.  The previous statement was followed by another statement that challenged me, “When God calls a man, the first responsibility laid on that man is to prepare himself for his work.”  Thus, Dr. Melton’s book started me in the right direction immediately.

Two thoughts as I write.  One, wise counsel should be heeded.  God provides such counsel for us.  It may be a book, a friend, or a role model.  Whatever be the source, listening and following the counsel can truly shape our lives.

Second thought, true counsel never changes.  Hopefully, like myself, you will be able one day to look back with gratefulness for such counsel.

I can offer the best Counselor . . . and the One who never changes!  You got it . . . Jesus Christ!

“He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God . . . .”  (Isaiah 9:6)  “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of every thing.”  (John 14:26)  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  (Hebrews 13:8)




  1. I am looking for the book for my son! Any idea where I could get it?

    Comment by charlotte domel — February 16, 2014 @ 10:37 am | Reply

    • Sorry I am 3 years late in responding! But I had not forgot your question. It has been on my mind because I assume your son is dealing with God’s call on his life. No one loves young preachers as I do. After 60 years in ministry, and now with a new church start in ‘a barn’ I thrill with such assumption about your son. I have just found a copy on Amazon. Go to Amazon and type in the title: Making of a Preacher, Melton. There are several copies at $9.79. Trust it will still be available. For wherever you are, if I can help, please let me know.

      God’s best for you son . . . and you. Lawson Jolly

      Comment by lawsonjolly — November 30, 2015 @ 12:06 am | Reply

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