As I come to the end of my ministry, I have naturally been asking the question, “Who will the next leader or leaders of the Nouthetic Counseling movement be?” There are various persons standing in the wings who might undertake such a role. But the more I analyze the situation, the more I am of the opinion that there is no need for a leader at all. The interesting thing about Nouthetic Counseling (NC) is that it has been spread far and wide apart from any one person or organization carrying all of the freight. CCEF was there at the beginning; but it has lost its hegemony. NANC is currently a powerful factor in its propagation. And the Institute for Nouthetic Studies (INS), with which I am affiliated, is gaining influence. But there is also The Master’s College, and a host of smaller colleges and institutions, that here and there also faithfully carry on the teaching. Moreover, there is now a host of training places in churches throughout the country, and elsewhere, that are turning out Nouthetic Counselors every day. The movement is bigger—much bigger—than than one man or one institution. It has gone far beyond that point.
And because of that fact, though there are some things to fear, there is much to rejoice about. Sure, there are those who have distorted the meaning and purpose as well as the methods of NC. That is to be deplored; perhaps expected (look at what happened in New Testament times to distort truth). But it can’t be stopped. Yet, on the other hand, this relative freedom from domination by any one person or organization is likewise a benefit. Should one organization depart from the essentials of NC, become eclectic (for instance), that doesn’t mean the movement will be lost. Should an individual arise who would lead counselors astray, so be it. Surely, there are those who will not follow. There are too many places, maintained by too many discreet groups, where it will still be retained. In other words, no one has the ability to claim exclusive rights to NC. It is too widely diversified for that. And that’s how it should be. If it is biblical, it belongs to all of God’s people; to all of His churches.
So, at this point, when the only influence I can exert is to write and teach, that is OK with me. Principally, at present, through the Institute for Nouthetic Studies and the Greg Dawson series of books that I have written which sets forth in fictional, but characteristic, form, what NC really looks like. I am hoping that this series will standardize NC to some extent.
I have few regrets. I am simply grateful—more than I can say—for what the Lord has already done. And I look forward to Him doing much more in days to come.