What is Biblical Counseling?
Biblical counseling is an extension of the discipleship ministry of the local church (Matt. 28:18-20). It is an intensified, formal and temporary form of biblical discipleship to help struggling Christians repent of sin, renew their minds with truth, and practice biblical sanctification (Eph 4:22-24). The goal of biblical counseling is not to change circumstances or solve problems, but rather, to bring glory to God by helping struggling church members learn to work out repentance in a particular area.
Biblical counseling is biblical. Because God’s Word is sufficient and authoritative, it is all that believers need to live a life that glorifies God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Biblical counselors base their counsel on God’s revelation and not on man’s wisdom, opinions, experience or ideas. Counselors apply the richness and fullness of Scripture to human problems to offer the true hope and freedom found in Christ. In Christ, a believer’s life is no longer determined or defined by sins of the past, the suffering caused by the sins of others, or his own sin. Biblical counseling deals with the full range of man’s problems including marriage and family, interpersonal relationships, depression, anxiety, drunkenness, etc.
Biblical counseling is not medical care. Because of the dual nature of man (outer, physical man and inner, immaterial man), biblical counselors may recommend medical care in conjunction with biblical counseling to address the needs of the body. Counseling will continue in conjunction with medical care.
Biblical counseling is a commitment to discipleship. As disciples of Jesus Christ who wish to make disciples, Grace Church biblical discipleship counseling ministry is freely offered to members of Grace Church. While biblical counseling is offered free of charge, there is a cost of time, effort and dedication associated with learning to live by the principles of God’s Word. Out of love for God and His people, mature church members have also invested time, energy and expense to be trained in biblical counseling. Counselors expect counselees to be mindful of their own commitment as disciples and the investment being made in them by keeping their counseling appointments, completing weekly homework assignments, and attending regular worship services throughout the duration of biblical counseling.
Grace Church also offers opportunities for training in the ministry of biblical discipleship counseling. During most counseling sessions, a counselor-in-training will be present so that more counselors may be trained in biblical discipleship counseling, and more members of the church may be served.
What to Expect from Grace Church’s Biblical Discipleship Counseling Ministry
The inspired Word of God, the Bible, is sufficient to explain and address all the problems of life (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Based on the Bible’s complete sufficiency, and under its absolute authority, the biblical discipleship counseling team offers the ministry of biblical counseling to members of Grace Church. Trained biblical counselors, who are also church members, come alongside struggling members to help them think biblically about their problems, and to offer them the hope for life change that is available only in Jesus Christ through the skillful, practical application of His Word.
Biblical Discipleship Counseling Format
Members of Grace Church interested in receiving counseling must submit a completed Consent to Counsel Form and a Personal Data Inventory (PDI). Cases will be approved for counseling by the church elders, and a counselor will be assigned to work with the church member(s). In order to promote discipleship and good stewardship of resources, counselors-in-training will also participate in counseling cases alongside the lead counselor.
While the biblical discipleship counseling team will practice loving discretion, biblically we cannot offer confidentiality with information shared in counseling. The Bible teaches that Christians are to be subject to one another (Ephesians 5:21, Matthew 18:15-17) and subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1). Therefore, some information disclosed during counseling sessions may need to be reported to governing authorities and/or church leaders. The goal of both discretion and disclosure is always love for God and others, and information disclosed during counseling will be handled according to the biblical priority (1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:15-16).
Time Commitment for Biblical Discipleship Counseling
Biblical counseling requires hard work to be effective. A commitment of 4-6 hours per week for a period of approximately 6-8 weeks will be required of counselees to attend counseling sessions and complete homework assignments. Weekly homework will be assigned to help counselees implement the biblical principles they are learning. Those seeking biblical discipleship counseling must be willing to make this time commitment before counseling can commence.
If you are a member of Grace Church in need of biblical counseling, please contact us at (970) 330-1340. Please call the church office and ask to speak to an elder if you have an urgent need for counseling.
For Further Information
The following is a list of recommended resources for more information on the ministry of biblical counseling:
- Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)
- Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF)
- Faith Counseling - Lafayette
- The Institute for Nouthetic Studies
- The Master’s University