Follow-up to “A Growing Need for Counseling Pastors”

In my previous post, I briefly outlined the growing need for Counseling Pastors. In this post, I will attempt to briefly describe the heart and qualifications to look for in a person who will fill such a position. (The terms “Counseling Pastor” and “Christian Counselor” will be used interchangeably)

Let me begin by pointing out what a counseling pastor is not. First, a counseling pastor should not be a clinical (state licensed) counselor. There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest, perhaps, is that a clinical counselor is subject to ACA guidelines and is legally bound to not be “directive,” meaning they cannot tell people what is morally right or wrong. This, unfortunately, removes the counselors’ most powerful tool. Second, a Christian counselor must recognize that even though we can be directive, we must do so sparingly. Many pastors who counsel take the wrong approach by being significantly over-directive. This, however, can be perceived as judgmental and cold. I will not elucidate any further here, since this is beyond the scope of this article.

Third, the Christian Counselor must be competent. Anyone can quote Bible verses or give advice, but that is not what counseling is. Competency in a Counseling Pastor looks like this. A person who is:

  • An excellent listener
  • Humble
  • A good communicator
  • A good problem solver
  • Someone who can balance logic, reason, and the leading of the Holy Spirit
  • Someone who has knowledge and wisdom, and the ability to apply them appropriately
  • Someone who knows people (knows how they think and what they feel, what motivates them, etc.)
  • Someone who has and continues to apply all of the above to his own life first.
  • And, of course, successful experience in counseling ministry is a big plus.

While not an exhaustive list, these are just some of the things to help discern which candidate is best qualified for your Counseling Pastor.

Jesse Walker is an ordained pastor who is a Christian Counselor.

He is the founder and lead counselor of Christian Counseling Ministries in Phoenix, AZ.

  1. I have found myself in the counseling role more often this past year than ever before.

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