Counseling in the Church
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Christian counseling has been conducted since the origin of Christianity. Even in biblical times counseling was a part of the churches spiritual life and development. In the Pauline epistles it is clear that God ordained and approved church based counseling. Paul states in Romans 15:14: “I myself am convinced; my brothers that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct (counsel) one another”. Like the pagan nations of the time, Christianity also addressed grief and sin. (Delkeskemp-Haynes, 2010) There is a need for Christian counseling in today’s church. The need stems for a larger social, cultural, and professional dynamic. In Christ centered soul care, the church is the primary place where healing, growth and healthy relationships take place. Christ centered soul care views hurt as a soul wound. It means making connections instead of just skilled talking. The impact of care and maturity of the counselor outweighs the techniques used. Soul care incorporates the belief that God is the ultimate healer. Soul care goes beyond psychotherapy into spiritual transformation and discipleship. Psychotherapy has its place but should be done in adjunction to the work of the church. (Clinton & Ohlschlager, 2002) Major Themes
The term pastoral comes from the Bible; it is the human effort of man responding to Gods call to care. (Bjorck, 2007) It is God ordained for “some to be pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, to which all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God to a perfect man, to the measure of statue of the fullness of Christ” ( Ephesians 4:11-13) Pastors are essential to the success of today's church. The preaching and teaching, as well as pastoral counseling transforms lives. Pastoral counseling is not separate but is an extension of preaching. (Clinton & Ohlschlager, 2002) People who are in the church hurting need a pastor whose shepherding is in line of that of the Good Shepherd. In the Bible Paul appointed loving shepherds everywhere he planted a church. Specific duties for them were outlined. As pastors counsel their flock, there approach should be Christ centered and have a strong theological structure based in love. (Cheong & DiBlasio, 2007) Lay Counselors
There is an ever increasing role of paraprofessional counselor. The increases have been seen both nationally and internationally. There is a significant need internationally, and a desire to keep health care costs down. Nationally the limitations of mental health benefits, has raised the need for paraprofessional services. Paraprofessional counselors are those counselors, who have not been formally trained in or credentialed in mental health, yet facilitate mental health care to those who are hurting. Paraprofessional counselors also known as lay counselors operate in such setting as hotlines, peer counseling, client's homes, and within church-based ministries (Garzon & Tilley, 2009). It is increasingly difficult in today's church for a pastor to facilitate all counseling within the church. There is a pressing need today for paraprofessional counselors in the church. Within the church paraprofessional counselors are commonly referred to as lay counselors. All Christians are given the biblical mandate to care for one another. Galatians 6:2 challenges Christians to carry each other's burdens, and in doing so the law of Christ will be fulfilled. For those who have been given the spiritual gift of exhortation the call is even louder. Scripture illuminates the priesthood in all believers (2 Peter 2:5). Believers are to minister one to another. Lay counseling is a key ministry within the...
References: Clinton, Timothy., & Ohlschlager, George. (2002). Competent Christian Counseling (Vol. 1). Orange, CA: WaterBrook Multnomah.
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