Counseling congregation. Pastoral counseling must be counseling that is

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.  God puts in certain people in positions andplaces where we have the opportunity to counsel or have a positive impact in aperson’s life.

  I have been a lawenforcement officer for 16 years and I wear many hats in that profession.  A counselor is a hat I have worn many times,but not from a pastoral perspective.   Since my calling into ministry I have noticed thatwhen I speak to people in my profession I use a pastoral aspect, when Ican.  Counseling in a pastoral function isdifferent from other types of counseling. Unlike a secular counselor, pastoral counselingis part of a pastor’s job description and it sometimes can play a larger rolethan other roles that the pastor has. As a pastor, duties include loving,protecting, and caring for those in the congregation. Pastoral counseling mustbe counseling that is rooted in the Bible.

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  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 is 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 and servein 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 safeguards need to be inplace for those situations.     The pastor must be careful that a dependent relationshipdoesn’t occur between the pastor and the people they are counseling.  The counselor should only provide guidance tothe counselee so that sole dependence his placed on God alone.