Instead of just, “Wow, we tried counseling, focused on that specific problem, now that problem’s back again. What do we do?” It’s kind of zooming out and saying, “Let’s look at it from a different angle and make sure we really pour resources into their walk with Christ personally. “Yes. I can say, in concrete terms, I can think of a couple where different ones of us have tried to meet with them. You think you solved the problem in that the crisis ended. They’re smiling a week or two later but then it keeps coming back. It’s like, “You didn’t finish the antibiotics and so the bug is never killed and it keeps coming back.”
The most recent approach has been much more intensive discipleship. Not firefighting with marriage crisis or even marriage problems, but just growing in Christ as believers with the fundamentals of the faith. Some have been using a book by Jerry Bridges called The Discipline of Grace. It’s not a marriage book, it’s a living as a Christian book but I’ve seen far better results with this couple from having spent months in that book just to grow in Christ than I did with all the firefighting efforts that proceeded it.
Some of this might be – with ongoing problems – maybe what we have in our mind is that intensive Biblical counseling should solve the problem and if it doesn’t, we’ve done the counseling wrong, something’s wrong with the people. It seems like I get questions like that quite a bit of, “We’ve tried this, it’s not fixed. What do we do?” Has your perspective of that changed, as you’ve counseled over the years, in what it takes to really help people grow?
- Listen to this episode: 001 Counseling in Cases of Anger
- Booklet: Help! My Anger is Out of Control by Jim Newheiser
- Audio: Anger Mismanagement: Only Grace Transforms the Heart
- Handout: The Anger Card
- Jones, Robert: Uprooting Anger
- Newheiser, Jim: “What Provokes Me to Anger?”
- Priolo, Lou: “Anger ‘Hot Button’ List“
- Prolo, Lou: “Anger Journal/Heart Journal“
We can’t be clueless anymore, we need to be aware of what’s going on, and know how to vote intelligently, and biblically, so that would be one thing. Also, churches need to be aware of how to protect their own ministries, so that they don’t become broiled in litigation that they don’t need, and yet they still want to be an outreach to the community.
Yeah. Is there any one particular area, one or two, that you say, “I find that most churches maybe might be ignorant of protecting themselves in this way.” If you had the opportunity to speak to church leaders you’d say, “Here’s one or two things that, if you’re not protected, or if you’re not aware of, you should have these things in place.”
Well they need to have well written governing documents, and written policies. For example, for the use of their facilities. A church might want to invite people from the community in for their wedding ceremonies and receptions. If you’re going to do that, there needs to be a religious fence around it, so that you’re not hosting a ceremony that conflicts with your religious doctrine. Counseling, I mean it’s wonderful to minister to the community, and I know Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana, Steve Viars, they have a wonderful outreach, I mean it just blows me away to hear about it. The important thing there I think is distinguish between the people who represent your ministry, and the people who are potential beneficiaries of your ministry.
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You don’t have to have a counseling center to be effective in your community. In fact, you know, I would argue from scripture that it’s you know, as you go you’re preaching the gospel so you know, the church is gathering together to be equipped, to be encouraged, and then we disperse, right? We go to our work places, we go to our schools, we go to our neighborhoods. That one-on-one ministry, where now we have some equipping to be able to address some of those life issues, you know I think as a pastor I’m thinking I want the average person at our church to be able to you know, talking to their neighbor next door that evening and a life issue comes up. You know, a teenager that’s addicted to something, or you know, they’re having marriage problems. I would hope that a believer at that point wouldn’t say, “Well hey, let’s go to our community counseling ministry,” although they could do that, but that they would engage them wisely and in a loving way from the scriptures to give them gospel hope in that moment.