Pastoral Leadership In The Local Church Solemn Assembly
In the local-church solemn assembly, the pastor should function in the role of: 1) Prophet – in preparation for the solemn assembly; proclaiming the Word of God in power. 2) Priest – in conducting the solemn assembly; going before God in behalf of the people.
His task in leading the people of God is three-fold:
- Passionate, broken pastoral intercession should precede and permeate the solemn assembly.
- Passionate pastoral intercession requires intimacy with the Father, and empathy for the people.
- In preparation for the solemn assembly, hours and days of prayer should be planned and protected by the pastor. These should be personal days of prayer as well as times that involve staff, leadership and congregation.
- The pastor should live in the shadow of the reality of Isaiah 57:15, “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (nkjv).
- The pastor should spend focused quality time with the biblical revival leaders in the Old Testament (see Biblical Revival Leaders, pp. 35-38). This will deepen the level of intercession for the people.
- Focused, extended pastoral intercession should be made for the church body collectively and individually.
- During the solemn assembly itself, the prayer of corporate confession and repentance should be prayed from the foot of the cross.
- Passionate pastoral intercession is born out of desperate discontentment with the spiritual condition and level of spiritual maturity within the church.
- The pastor should place primary focus on instructing the people from the Word of God about the ways of God with a view to guiding them toward the will of God.
- The goal of pastoral instruction is to enlarge the vision of the scope and magnitude of the solemn assembly in anticipation of the activity and manifest presence of God on that day.
- In his preaching and teaching, the pastor must deal with the source of corporate sin rather than just the symptoms of it.
- At the heart of the pastoral instruction is the selection of corporate sins of which the church needs to repent. In this manual, there is a section entitled, Biblical Catalog of Corporate Sin (p. 42). That catalog can be utilized in assisting the pastor, leadership and congregation in identifying specific corporate sins to be dealt with in the solemn assembly. Once the sins have been selected, sermons in which these sins are addressed specifically and biblically, can be very helpful in preparing the congregation for the solemn assembly.
- The pastor can immerse himself in a biblical understanding of the source of corporate sin through an in-depth study of Jeremiah, Lamentations, Minor Prophets, 1 Corinthians, and Revelation 2-3.
- It is also beneficial for the pastor to prayerfully immerse himself in 2 Chronicles 6-7 and Joel 2.
- Sermons on the solemn assemblies of the Bible can also be effective in preparing the congregation. Other sermon themes could include:
- the holiness of God;
- divine judgment;
- divine discipline;
- the hideous nature of sin;
- individual and corporate repentance;
- the glory of God;
- repentance within the solemn assemblies of the Bible;
- word study on repentance, revival, etc.
- Prayer meetings in which corporate prayer exercises are utilized that center on the biblical solemn assemblies can also Scripturally sensitize the congregation.
- The spirituality, sincerity and solemnity of the pastor sets the tone/atmosphere of the solemn assembly.
- The pastor’s identification with the sinful plight of the people sensitizes his intercession to both the hearts of the people and the heart of God.
- Identification with the sin of the congregation focuses, fine-tunes, and fuels the pastor’s intercession for the people in the solemn assembly.
- The pastor should identify the ways in which he may contributed, directly or indirectly, to the corporate sins of the congregation.
- The prayer of corporate confession within the solemn assembly should sincerely focus on “us” and “we” as opposed to “them” and “they.”
- In preparation for leading the prayer of corporate repentance, it is helpful for the pastor to study the role of the high priest on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) especially the solemnity and seriousness that was required.
- The pastor should also become well-acquainted with the desperate intercessory identification of Moses (Exodus 32:11-14, 30-33; Numbers 14:13-19), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4-11), and Daniel (Daniel 9:3-21).
Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17 nkjv)
©2013 Keeney Dickenson. Adapted from Blow the Trumpet in Zion by Keeney Dickenson ©2009, 2011 Prayeridigm Publishing.
This manual is a practical tool that will assist the pastor in guiding his church in the solemn assembly process. Disclaimer: “The solemn assembly is not just another program. It is a biblical process. The local church solemn assembly introduces the congregation to biblical corporate repentance, and initiates the journey of whole-heartedly returning to God. It is in the solemn assembly that the people of God experience the rhythm of revival in a renewed intimate walk with God. Therefore, if you are looking for a quick-fix-easily-implemented-denominational-franchise-cookie-cutter program, you should definitely look elsewhere. However, if you desire to lead your congregation to explore the depths of brokenness and repentance which will enable them to embark on the adventure of pursuing the heart of God, it is our prayer that this manual is a key that helps unlock that door.”