Monday, August 17, 2009

Preaching or Counseling?--Part 1

One word answer: Yes.

I'm amazed how many pastors deny the need to provide counseling. Among some answers I hear are: "If you preach well, your people won't need counseling!" and "While people may need counseling, the pastor cannot be distracted from his sermon for such things. Let others do the counseling."

I don't know if you've noticed before on this blog, but I'm a big fan of preaching.

However, I believe it is necessary and beneficial (for the congregation and pastor) for the pastor to make time for counseling. One reason:

Counseling Can be Highly Evangelistic

Evangelism is so much easier when the opportunity is presented on a silver platter. Who hasn't longed to hear the question of the Philippian jailor, "What must I do to be saved?" Being available to counsel members in the community provides such "silver platter opportunities." The person is seeking counseling because something is wrong with their life. The person is in your office because they are open to hearing from the Word of God. If the pastor is faithful, it is not difficult to reveal that their problem is evidence of sin, and the most pressing issue in their life is that God must judge such sin.

Certainly, we should be prepared to give an answer for the hope within us in any situation. Also, the pastor needs to do due diligence to prepare a faithful sermon for his congregation. However, if the pastor neglects his opportunity to counsel non-believers, he forfeits a great chance for evangelism.

(Does the preacher need to be involved in counseling, or could his church simply provide it through others? While it is wonderful if a church has equipped saints to provide the counseling, I will argue in Part Three that I believe the preaching pastor should still be involved in this ministry.)

If you are interested in being equipped to counsel, see this post.

1 comment:

JanAl said...

I was just thinking the other day about how counseling offers a perfect opportunity to share the gospel. But I am also very thankful, that you counsel believers as well. Cleyo and I pray for you often, as our pastor, and for the many lives that you share the word of God with.

Another benefit to being equipped to counsel, for any person, is that we all come in contact with friends, family, or even strangers that are going through a difficult time, or just have questions. But, like I said in your previous post about counseling, I took it in hopes of helping others, in which I know and hope that it will, but it has helped me, and has taken my Faith to a deeper level.