Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preaching or Counseling?--Part 2

One word answer: Yes.I love preaching and think too many pastors (and thus, churches) underestimate its importance. However, I've also heard from pastors who think preaching is their only task. They do not participate in counseling because they see it as unimportant or believe they are too busy for it. I believe in an ideal situation, a pastor engages in both.

Yesterday, I stated that counseling has an evangelistic effect. Today, I'd suggest:

Counseling Uniquely Provides Biblical Application

True Biblical counseling does not require a survey of Freudian history. It does not require learning "12 Step Program" initiatives. It doesn't even require you move a couch into your office. True Biblical counseling with a believer is simply discipleship motivated by a specific trial.

Again, some will protest, "But I do all my counseling from the pulpit. There is no need to counsel if you faithfully give the application from the front." While this may be true in some respects, and simply walking through a Text, or Biblically handling a series of topics, will provide multiple opportunities to exhort in application, you will not be able to hit all areas, nor every combination. Not only that, but I often find myself referencing back to previous sermons I know the counselee heard and reminding them how to apply the text to their situation.

Biblical counseling allows the preacher to address applications he did not in his sermon. Even during the most application-rich sermons, the pastor lacks the time and imagination necessary to present every possible scenario. And given the nature of our hearts, even if a sermon directly hits our situation, we'll be convinced we're an exception.

The need to provide counsel is not a sign of the weakness of a pastor's preaching, it is a form of the sermon's application. It's a privilege to minister the Word of God...from the pulpit and the counselor's desk.

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

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