Understanding Pastoral Counseling
Pastoral counseling is the practice of talking with individuals, couples, and families to increase their understanding of emotional and religious conflicts and to help resolve problems using the Bible and other resources. Pastor is a biblical word for shepherd, one who cares for the health and salvation of believers. Pastoral counselors are called and entrusted by religious communities to help people strengthen their faith in God.
Pastoral counseling has been one of the tasks of Pastors and other leaders, talking with people about their concerns, illnesses, and fears since the early Church (Acts 7).
Counseling is very important in everyone’s life especially to believers because God never meant for Christians to live alone. The number of difficulties in life can at times be overwhelming. But this is no surprise to Jesus, who told us that in this world would be trouble. But he also told us to take heart, for he has overcome the world.
Crisis are bound to happen to everyone, believers and unbelievers, young or old, rich or poor.
Because crisis situation is a stressful time in an individuals life where they experience a total breakdown, there will be a need to have someone stand with or by him/her.
“We will rejoice at each other’s happiness, and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.”
Counseling helps a believer to endure and to overcome an existential problem. The pastor will help, care, love, and will exercise authority over you through the ministry of the Word. Counseling therefore helps believers keep their faith, even if it is very less.
The reconciling function of counseling seeks to re-establish broken relationship between believers, and between believers and God. This function may either employ forgiveness or discipline or both.
Counseling helps guide or assist believers to make difficult choices. This helps them draw out of their own resources of experiences and values or lead the believer to adopt a set of values and criteria by which to make his/her decision.
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25, 46) and they must follow the example of the “Good Shepherd”. God gave counsel to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:15-17, 3:8. We are given the Holy Spirit as our comforter.
We see the Godhead performing counseling duties in the lives of believers.
The goal of biblical counseling is spiritual growth. Pastoral counselors use their gifts to counsel because they want people to grow in greater maturity in Christ.