SC Seminar: Dr. Street, "A Multitude of Counselors"

Dr. John Street, Speaker
  • Prov 14:8—A truly sensible person knows where he is going in ministry.
  • Prov 16:1, 9—We can make good plans, but we also have to be flexible enough to allow God to direct
  • Prov 10:5—The importance of preparing
  • Prov 13:16—We need to be organized if we are to do counseling.
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
I. Organizational Planning
A. The place of your counseling training
1. Counseling is not an optional ministry for the church.
        • Romans 15:14—able to nouetheteo one another

        • Galatians 6:1–3—Performance-based Christianity breeds self-reliance and places burdens on people. However, Gospel-based ministry bears one another’s burdens. We don’t exalt ourselves, but are concerned with others.

2. Counseling is a part of the very fabric of the church.
        • Hebrews 3:12–13—A corporate responsibility: taking care of one another

        • Hebrews 12:15—A corporate responsibility: watch for the root of bitterness springing up within the body of Christ.
3. Counseling is not an independent ministry from the church.
        • Romans 12:1—This has to do with us as a corporate body, not individually! Present yourselves as a sacrifice. Many members, one body.
4. Counseling should be done at the creditability of the church. We don’t do this as a state licensure, because the state requires counselors to counsel according to the faith of the individual coming in. As such, you as a Christian are not allowed to counsel from a biblical standpoint if a Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, etc. arrives for counseling.
B. The priority of your counseling training

1. Counseling is most effective when church discipline is involved. Discipline puts teeth into counseling, and sends the message that we want to help people (rather than take their money for the rest of their lives).

2. Counseling is ineffective without the decisive action of church leadership.

3. Counseling training must involve pastoral and church board (lay elders and/or deacons) participation.
        • Acts 20:20—Paul went house to house.

        • v. 31—Paul ceased not to able to nouetheteo them
C. The plan of your counseling training.

1. Counseling training classes should require a minimum of 115 hours of biblical counseling instruction. (Three 40-hour weeks of instruction or spread out over 3 years)

2. Counseling training requirements should maintain a minimum of 10 hours of observation

3. Counseling training supervision should oversee at least 25 hours/sessions of the student’s actual counseling.
II. Operational Procedures.

A. The courses of you counseling training

1. 25 hours of instruction in a basic course.

2. 25 hours of instruction in principles of biblical interpretation.

3. 25 hours of instruction in practical methods and observation.

4. 25 hours of instruction in biblical/systematic theology.

5. 25 hours of instruction in hypothetical counseling cases.

6. 25 hours of instruction in actual counseling casework.

B. The curricula of your counseling training

1. Lectures must demonstrate how both counseling theory and practice grows out biblical/theological principles. Not all biblical counseling is “biblical.”

2. Instructors must constantly challenge class discussions to use biblical insight in making comments and observations and to be constructively critical of what they read and hear.

3. Practicum classes should use triads for maximum learning. (A “counselor,” a “counselee,” and an observer.)

4. Instructors need to require reading reports and formal papers to get into the thinking of their students.

5. Always use an abundance of case studies and/or counseling examples in every class.

C. The challenge of your counseling training.

1. Do not be afraid to evaluate your counseling students.

2. Give them tests and grades their reading reports and papers.

III. Oversight Paradigm

A. The assessment criteria for your counseling training

1. If your interested in insuring a qualified graduate of your training program than a means of assessing student learning outcomes is necessary.

2. Assessment data needs to be directly related to an ideal of theological understanding (handling God’s Word) and case understanding (handling people problems).

B. The assignment caliber of your counseling training

1. Assign reading reports with your reading assignments.

2. Give quizzes and tests on class lectures and discussions.

3. Let them counsel another class member in triads and in front of the class and have the observers fill out an evaluation sheet on the counselor.

4. Have them watch DVDs of other biblical counselors and then write out a critique.

5. Be sure to provide several counseling case studies throughout your training courses and have them turn in reports regularly to be evaluated (use the NANC Case Report).

6. Help them set up physical or electronic portfolio of the progression of their work.
Since most counseling students are not seminary graduates trained in the biblical languages, teach them a good Bible software program and evaluate their progress.

C. The appropriate control of your counseling training

1. Training the body to counsel is important for everyone in your church, but that does not mean that everyone who takes your course is capable of taking on more formal counseling cases.

2. Your course should be rigorous enough to identify the difference between the qualified and the unqualified.

3. One measurement is the percentage of graduates from your program that go on for advanced training in counseling in order to be thoroughly qualified to train others.

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