Counseling is the aspect of ministry that I am excited about starting.
I like how it is put in a pastoral counselingthesis by Craig Younce. “Pastoralcounseling opportunities are divine appointments with individual members of thechurch community” (Younce, 2011) As humans, we have had a sin nature from thevery beginning. We all have fallen intosituations where we needed to speak to someone about the issues in that situation.
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God puts in positions and places where we havethe opportunity counsel or have a positive impact. I have been a law enforcement officer for 16years and I wear many hats in that profession. A counselor is a hat I have worn many times, but not from a pastoral perspective. Sincemy calling into ministry I have noticed that when I speak to people in myprofession I use a pastoral aspect, when I can. Counseling in a pastoral function is different from other types ofcounseling. Unlike a secular counselor, pastoral counseling is part of a pastor’sjob description and it sometimes can play a larger role than other roles that thepastor has.
As a pastor, duties include loving, protecting, and caring forthose in the congregation. Pastoral counseling must be counseling that isrooted in the Bible. I highlighted the following text in one of ourtextbooks. “Theology matters. Understanding people biblically matters. Biblical counselors pursue compassionate andwise counseling where our love abounds in the depth of the knowledge about theheart in the world. Our depth ofknowledge of people starts with knowing and applying the written Word andknowing personally the living Word.
Itthen moves us to knowing people originally designed—Creation.” (Gospel-Centered Counseling, 2014) Scripture tells us that each of us are uniquelycreated by God. “For you created myinmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
” (Holy Bible; NIV, 2013) I took me awhile to figure out who I was inGod and what God created me to do. As welead those being counseled to find who God made them to be, we allow them to letGod show them how to resolve issues on their own. Counseling in ministry utilizes scripture, explaining andapplying them to the counselee’s life.
Sometimes this comes in the form of correcting and training of thepeople that need counseling. “AllScripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, forcorrection, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may beadequate, equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:16)Another great aspect of pastoral counseling is that thepastor can have a relationship with his counselee that remains in place outsidethe sessions. The pastor can observe and follow the progression of the churchmembers that he/she counsels.
If the pastoris counseling someone in the same church the pastor can demonstrate a Christ-likeexample for the counselee. If questionsarise about the progression of the relationship the pastor can seek the adviceof others in the church such as deacons and senior leadership, always keepingin mind whatever confidentiality agreement the pastor has with the counselee. “Withoutconsultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” (Holy Bible; NIV, 2013) The pastor and counselee can pray togetherand serve in a variety of ministries together.
Negative aspects of pastoral counseling exist as well. Sometimes the pastor is overwhelmed with manytasks and should be mindful not to take on more than they can handle. Manychurches split the counseling responsibilities among other pastors who arecomfortable with counseling. Care mustalways be given to avoid counseling situations that possibly lead to sin.Pastors should not counsel the opposite sex alone and need to put in placesafeguards for those situations.
Judgement should also be used to be certainthat a dependent relationship doesn’t occur between the pastor and the people theyare counseling. The counselor should provideguidance to the counselee for sole dependence on God and His word.