At the bottom of this post is a free resource called 5 Mistakes Churches Make When Starting a Counseling Ministry.
In previous posts, we’ve asserted that:
- Biblical Counseling is an opportunity to shepherd the church well
- Churches should embrace equipping counselors in the local church to care for the body in creative and unique ways
I don’t believe you can fulfill the whole great commission and demonstrate Christ’s compassion for the hurting without focusing on these two crucial truths. Some might ask at this point:
How should a church move forward with Biblical Counseling?
Biblical Counselors share 3 beliefs that are often quite controversial when thought about regarding counseling:
- It is the church’s responsibility to counsel people through their struggles, rather than relying upon those outside the church.
- Lasting life change is the goal of counseling, and the greatest change people need is to trust Christ enough to follow his ways. This decision of faith impacts all other decisions in life and helps them best deal with the struggles of life. Faith is never a secondary concern in counseling.
- Christ models for us reliance upon the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, and counselors should seek to increase that reliance as they help individuals grow in Christlikeness. We do not have the power or wisdom to change on our own. We need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the Scriptures to change.
Within the church, these 3 beliefs are usually met with agreement. However, within many Christian counseling offices, these beliefs are often met with skepticism and resistance leaving them outside the counseling process.
Sadly, the gospel, the church, and the Holy Spirit are rarely discussed in many “Christian” counseling practices.
We talk to many pastors and churches who are troubled by this. They thought when they sought counseling at a “Christian Counseling” center that their faith would be part of the process and that their counselor would know how to direct them to the Scriptures for guidance.
So what do you do if you are troubled by this too?
Many churches are and have begun to respond. Rather than making a list of outside places where people can receive counseling/care, they have decided to equip individuals within their congregation to walk with the hurting. In order to consider this approach, you need to embrace four key convictions about Biblical Counseling that shape a ministry like this.
Key Conviction #1 – Holistic Discipleship: Fulfilling the Whole Great Commission
Biblical Counseling is part of the great commission where people work out their salvation and grow in maturity through obedience and fellowship with God. Biblical Counseling tears down the wall between religious problems and everyday problems. Is your church committed to a holistic view of spiritual growth and convinced that faith impacts every decision?
Key Conviction #2 – Protective Restoration: Leaving the 99 for the One
Jesus’ heart for the lost, lonely, and hurting can be seen in the parable of the lost sheep. When someone in your church strays, who do you send after them? Training Biblical Counselors will create this heart and equip your church to compassionately engage the sheep who has strayed. You won’t save every wandering sheep, but can you answer honestly that you made an effort?
Key Conviction#3 – Spiritual Leadership: Giving Personal and Effective Guidance
Counseling is part of the call to Biblical shepherding in the church. When you as a leader see a problem, you address it for the good of your people. Counseling helps you lead your people well. You can’t help but notice the impact that godly leadership has on a church both in Biblical times and present.
Key Conviction #4 – Missional Compassion: Creating Effective Outreach to Neighbors
Do the hurting in your church and community think to turn to your church for help? In an increasingly post-Christian nation, counseling the hurting can be a great bridge for the gospel into your community. When your church gains a reputation for quality and consistent care, your neighborhood notices. This atmosphere of love is what draws many to Christ. On the contrary, if your church can’t answer the questions that hurting people have, it confirms for many unbelievers that the church lacks any relevance to their lives.
When churches embrace the responsibility to care for their own, the whole congregation grows together. Those who are leading and those being led see God’s love and truth from a new perspective. Consider this quote from Pastor Dave from Riverhead, New York, who commented about how Biblical Counseling Center’s training partnership was transforming his church:
“Our original goal was to utilize Biblical Counseling as an outreach ministry, but now we are finding that it is shaping every ministry of the church.” – Dave Cooke, Sr. Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
Biblical Counseling can and will do that for a church because it is consistent with what God calls churches to be and to do. Embrace the journey and take a step forward. If you don’t know where to start, we would love to help. Schedule a free call with us today!Schedule a Call