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Elder Update Regarding New Counseling Ministry

This past Sunday, the elders gave an update regarding a plan to address what they recognize to be a growing need within our congregation, specifically the need to develop a more structured, formal counseling ministry to the members of our body.

This is not an idea that has only been thought of in recent months or even years.  Even though this was considered in greater detail during the last elders’ retreat last March, this has been recognized as a growing need as far back as 2005, when an attempt was made to establish an in-house counseling ministry which, in God’s timing, did not come to fruition at that time.  Since then our congregation’s size has grown, and we anticipate that the need for biblical counseling will continue to grow. It will outgrow the ability of the current staff and elder board to meet those needs, both from a numbers and from a training standpoint. 

God's Word is the foundation for counseling

But before we give more details about what we have planned, we would like to clarify the meaning of the term “biblical counseling.”  Why is it important and how different is it from counseling apart from a biblical context, which is a commonly available service these days?  The answer to both questions stem from our recognition that scripture, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, contains Godly wisdom that we can rely on to bear on the problems of life. Colossians 3:16 states “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  We do not ignore the fact that there is much practical wisdom that we can glean from life experiences and analyses of human behavior, but we want to consider these observations through the lens of God’s word.  Only then can we give wisdom that accounts for our fallen nature due to sin as well as remedies that are centered on the gospel. That is what transforms counseling based on worldly wisdom to biblical counseling.

The ministry will need a leader

The next logical question is: What will this ministry look like?  First of all, we envision a point person, a program leader to spearhead the ministry.  And because the nature of counseling requires a significant time commitment in order for it to be effective, we are looking to establish a part-time staff position, one which we have given the designation of  “Associate Pastor of Counseling.” We envision the role of this position to not only be directly counseling members with identified counseling needs, but also to develop the framework for the ministry. Part of that will be assembling a team of lay counselors within the body, developing and providing the needed training. In the end, the word of God calls us all to be counselors to each other in some form or fashion. Training can be provided to those who are especially gifted in this area, so that more can be involved to address our growing need.

This ministry position is one good way to repurpose our money

We anticipate a time commitment for this position of around 20 hours a week.  You may recall that some months back we asked for prayers for wisdom on how we can repurpose the money that used to go to paying off our mortgage. We see the repurposing of some of it to meet this need as a good investment in better serving our congregation.

As far as where we are in the search process, we have identified and are currently interviewing a candidate for this position. As decisions are made in the hiring process, more details will be given but we expect things to be moving quickly in the coming weeks.  We covet your prayers in this regard.