Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Preaching or Counseling?--Part 3

One word answer: Yes.Counseling provides an excellent opportunity for a pastor to evangelize the lost. It also allows him to reinforce the message of his preaching. The ministry of the Word is most completely done both in public ministry and private situations. However, does this mean the preacher needs to be involved in both? Can't the preacher just preach and leave the counseling to others?

The Model Counseling Preacher

For years, I hesitated to participate in counseling because I didn't believe I was qualified. For years, I thought an education in psychology or behavioral science was necessary to help people in one-on-one situations. Sure, I could help point out things form the Word of God, but could that really be enough? I did not see back then that my doubts were not in myself, but in the Word of God.

I would still suggest I am far from being the model counselor. Even when the person lays out their concern and obvious Texts can be applied, I still doubt I have the right emotions/personality/gifts to be ideal in a counseling situation. Our church can certainly be better served by a number of people who are more gifted and better designed for counseling than I.

But the Pastor-Teacher is called to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. That means that though some people in the congregation will be better at counseling than the pastor, he still has the calling to equip them for that task. Continuing to participate in counseling allows the pastor to teach and train other counselors as well. He may not be able to model the areas where their natural gifts exceed his, but such modeling is probably unnecessary anyway.

However, the pastor can model the use of the Word. The consistency between his use of the Word in the pulpit and in private counseling can encourage fellow counselors in how they handle the Word. His continued experience allows him to speak into the ministry of other saints, encouraging them in shared victories and reassuring them during apparent defeat.

The pastor may not be the best counselor in the church but he can still model counseling to those that are.

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

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