The Lord has led me to get my Certification in Biblical Counseling. As you know I have been a pastor for many years and I’ve received training in the Bible, Theology, Greek, Christian Education, Preaching, Pastoral Ministry, Creationism, Apologetics, and Evangelism. I don’t regret my education, but in all my training there has been one area I have not pursued….Counseling.
The reason is because for a long time I bought into a lie, and that lie says, “Counseling is for “professionals.” It’s for those trained in “secular psychology.” And pastors are far too busy to worry about counseling people especially when they can refer them to see the “professionals.” I no longer believe that lie.
For a long time it has always been a passion of mine to make Disciples of Christ, after all that is the Great Commission which Jesus commands us to obey. What drives me as a Christian and as a Pastor is my love and passion to glorify Jesus Christ. That really is the bottom line as to why I am getting my Certification in Biblical Counseling.
Romans 15:14 says, “My brothers, I myself am convinced about you, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.” The word “instruct” is the Greek word “nouthetic” which means to caution, to put in the mind, to reprove gently, to instruct, and to admonish. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” The word admonishing is the same Greek word, nouthetic.
So, God’s Word clearly tells us that as Christians we are to counsel, to instruct, and to admonish one another in the wisdom of God’s Word and His Gospel. For far too long the church has allowed secular psychology and even Christian behavior modification ideas to be the answer for people’s problems.
But all that does is put a band-aid on the souls of people. It doesn’t get to the heart of the problem which is the problem of the heart. When we think man’s ideas can solve our deepest problems, we are not trusting in the sufficiency of God’s Word or the power of the Gospel to transform lives.
Biblical Counseling is not against science or the use of medicine, but its foundation is the authority of God’s Word and the Gospel.
Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “For the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”
This is not just for Pastors, it is for all Christians. The role of the Pastor is to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. It is not a Biblical idea for the Pastor to be the one who does all the work of the ministry. Counseling is the work of the church. But it will be my priority to shepherd the flock in this area of ministry.
If you love God, if you love His Word, if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, if you have been affected by the Gospel, and if it’s your desire to make Disciples of Christ and obey the Great Commission, then Biblical Counseling is your mandate as well.
Whenever you are encouraging someone to trust God, or to believe in Jesus, or to love the Lord, or to place their hope in God, or to rest in the Gospel of God’s amazing grace, then you’re a Biblical Counselor.
The church needs to reclaim the ministry of Biblical Counseling. The church is not a place for perfect people; it’s a hospital for the hurting and a training center for those who have been redeemed by God and who desire to glorify God by admonishing one another with the hope we have in Christ!
The purpose of a Biblical Counselor is not to give my ideas and advice. My ideas, my ability, and my advice won’t change anybody. So the goal of a Biblical Counselor is to point people to Jesus, and our textbook is the Bible.
The goal of a Biblical Counselor is to help people make a connection between the problems they are facing to the power of the Gospel. It’s to help people grow in God’s grace as they become more and more like Jesus.
My role will be to listen and care for the people I’m counseling and then help them understand their root issue of what’s going on in their heart, and then give them the hope that is found in God’s Word and in the Gospel.
I will receive my Certification in Biblical Counseling through Rick Thomas and the Counseling Solutions Group. Their website is RickThomas.net. The program is a two year program which only requires about 4 hours of my time each week. That is easy for me and will in no way affect my higher priority to my family and to my church.
I am paying for 100% of my training. But it is also a self-paced program so if things get busy I can do less work or if things are not busy I can speed up my work.
Anyone in the church is more than welcome to get certified as well. The great thing about this program is that it will not only help me to grow as a Counselor, but it will also help me to grow spiritually and that helps me as a Pastor.
As a Biblical Counselor I will be able to help people who suffer with, and deal with a host of relational, emotional, and spiritual issues.
Confidentiality is an utmost priority, one that will be guarded while at the same time – seeking counsel and accountability through the church that will also be a means of experiencing God’s grace as we grow together.
True growth and change comes not through one person, the Pastor, it comes through the church when together we are growing in Christ-likeness and we are all using our spiritual gifts to glorify the Lord.
The counseling I provide will be completely free to those who attend our church. If someone wants counseling and they don’t attend our church the fee for them will be to attend our church on a regular basis.
If they attend another church their pastor will know I’m counseling them and I’ll try to influence him to get certified.
Biblical Counseling is the same as discipleship. If you think that counseling is not for you, then you’re basically saying, “I’ve arrived, I don’t need to grow, and I don’t need discipleship.” But let me remind you; let me practice “nouthetics.”
Jesus said in Mark 2:17, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So, as fallen broken people who live in a world surrounded by fallen broken people – we all desperately need Christ to rescue us and to restore us. Biblical Counseling is not about beating someone over the head with our Bible.
It’s about loving people with the love we have been shown in Jesus Christ. It’s about pointing people to the Lord who is the Gospel, He is the good news, and He is the way, the truth, and the Life!
I will no longer refer someone to see a “professional” who will charge you hundreds of dollars when we have the answer right here in the Bible.
The Gospel is an inexhaustible well filled with wisdom, love, and grace for all who run to Jesus for rescue and restoration.
God’s grace is sufficient and His Word is sufficient to speak into people’s lives and to transform them forever. His grace saves us in a moment, but Biblical Counseling is really helping someone grow in the grace of sanctification which is a process.
I’m excited about this opportunity to grow in this area of serving our church. I want to do it for God’s glory. I want to see lives transformed by God’s grace, and I want to be a part of a congregation that shares in the vision of helping people look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
I do have plans in the future to provide a free seminar on equipping the people in our church in Biblical Counseling. So you can have an opportunity to be trained as well. That free seminar is not a Certification program – it’s an all-day seminar, or we can break it up and do it in two days, but it will give us the basics to have a Biblical Counseling ministry in our local church which is something most churches don’t even have because they probably believe that lie as I did.
Here’s what changed my mind: When hurting people become captivated by Christ, when broken people stand in awe of who God is, when sinners delight in God their Savior, when Jesus is their Lord and Master, when they love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, captives will be set free! The truth will set them free!
They will have hope for the future, they will have an unending joy despite their pain, and they will be emotionally and spiritually healed by God’s power alone. They will be delivered from sin and restored in their relationship with God. Even in their suffering they will see that God is good!
So, I want to thank the Church Board and I want to thank you for your prayers and support as I seek to become certified. I pray that it will be a blessing to many people. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask me. And thanks for letting me share this with you. To God be all the glory!