Kevin Kolb Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, St. Charles, MO
I’ve often been asked, “why does our church emphasize and provide biblical counseling?” And given the current demand on a pastor’s time, “why do I counsel people?” I love helping fellow pastors think through these questions.
Remember back to your teen years when the church youth group would take its annual float trip. There would inevitably be some unlucky pair who made the river a very dangerous place. They would fall into the water before they even had their life jackets on. They had no experience in a canoe, much less on a river. Halfway down the float they were bloodied, bruised, and hopelessly exhausted. They were discouraged, frustrated and would quit if they could find a way out. It was at that moment a youth counselor would navigate alongside and help them out of the current. In a safe place he would explain the process of steering a canoe, let them practice the strokes and might even put someone in the canoe with them for a while to guide them. He would stay close to them through the rough stretches. He essentially guided them home. That is what loving biblical counselors do.
Biblical counseling is coming alongside someone who is suffering due to sin, listening carefully in order to discern the problem, then using the Word of God to help the person change for the glory of God and the benefit of the counselee.
We should counsel members of our church who are affected by sin because restoring fallen and struggling members is consistent with Christ’s current work in His church. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us that Christ gave himself for the church (referring to His death and resurrection) for the purpose of sanctifying and cleansing it (referring to our holiness and usefulness). The means for that cleansing is clear; we are changed by His Word. The beauty of Christ’s bride progressively develops one sanctified believer at a time. Pastors should see their role as that of a bridesmaid, assisting the bride as she prepares for her groom’s arrival.
No friend of the bride would ignore the stain on her gown, or let her walk down the aisle with her hair out of place. No loving youth pastor would ignore or make fun of discouraged young people flailing on a float trip. And no biblical pastor would ignore the anxious, depressed, fearful, or afflicted in their church.
Pastors should embrace the call to biblical counseling because Christ’s goal is lasting change in a person’s life, which is only accomplished through the sufficient scriptures and results in great glory.