By Mark Mueller
Today, Christine, my wife, called and asked a pastor of a church for help on the behalf of one of his church members that was in a dire situation. Unfortunately, the lady was located half way across the country from us and we were unable to directly intercede on her behalf. Instead of being grateful that the pain and distress of one of his congregation members was being brought to his attention, he went off on a tangent about counselors that think they are qualified to counsel people because they take a "quickie counseling course", knowing nothing of her qualifications. Mind you also, she was only trying to get the lady help and was not criticizing the way he ministered to his flock. Christine was taken by surprise at his response, but like the pro that she is, did not launch into a tirade of her own about his qualifications to be a preacher and not being able to take care of his own flock. God stopped her mouth from the fierce rebuttal grabbing at her tongue. Anyone who knows Christine knows that this had to be the work of the Lord, because only he can stop her from a fierce defense when she is offended. Afterwards she offered that the preacher was one of God's ministers and they are not above the petty feelings of man such as arrogance, jealousy, and pride.
Starting her own Christian Counseling Center has been an eye opening experience. First off, it is not exactly easy, or cheap, to start a nonprofit organization. Second, trying to keep operating funds is also a large challenge. Even though we can charge a fee for our service, most of the people who really need help cannot pay the fees no matter how reasonable they are. The first thing a most business owners would say is "no pay, no play". That is not what Christian's do; we are supposed to help our fellow man, even if he cannot pay. We are doing this to help people, not get rich.
What makes a Christian Counselor qualified to counsel others? Is it how long you have been in school? Is it how you lived an unblemished life? What makes a counselor qualified to counsel and guide others is their ability to listen to their client and then gently help them to make the right decisions to live their life. Counselors do not tell clients what they should be doing, but help them discover what they should be doing. In the case of Christian Counselors, we use the structure and principles that God has shown us in the Bible. Counselors do not judge others, that is for God to do. If we are successful in our guidance, our clients will find themselves closer to God, find forgiveness, peace and happiness in the Lord, and learn to start dealing with any and all emotional scares that many people find they have. Counselors who have lived and dealt with these issues and have come out on the other side, know and understand what their clients are dealing with. It is not always as easy to be as compassionate if you don't truly understand their pain. Also you have a better insight with more of the issues a client may be faced with. "Don't judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes". It would be hard for a rich man to know what it feels like to be without money and food to feed your family. A good counselor understands that you personally may not be able to help every client, but as a good Christian, will help them find the help they do need. Christine spends a lot time trying to locate help for others around the country.
What makes a pastor qualified to preach to others? Is it how long you have been in school? Is it how you lived an unblemished life? Being a pastor can be one of the hardest and loneliest jobs in the world. People constantly want their leadership, to lean on them during a crisis, and always are looking for advice. When a pastor needs help, who do they turn to? I know the pastor answer is "the Lord", yet I've seen the human side of a pastor who lost their spouse and could not get past it, possibly even shook their faith to some degree. Sometimes knowing that the Lord has a plan and that their spouse is with the Lord is not enough. Sometimes the human side of a pastor flows out like a flood. Pastors also find the same failings as other people such as loneliness, selfishness, arrogance, jealousy, and pride. The pastor mentioned at the front of the article said that he was not qualified to counsel the members of his congregation. Then is he qualified to lead his congregation? The answer still could be yes, but it depends on how he addresses the issues of the individuals in the congregation. I believe a major function of a pastor is to guide his congregation, but not all men can be all things. When I was younger, my pastor was debating, with my class, miracle healing versus going to a doctor to be cured of an illness. My pastor explained to us that he believed that doctors and medicine were "Tools of the Lord". This made perfect sense considering, "all good things are of the Lord". If a pastor chooses not to counsel the members of his congregation, then what does he do when they seek out his help? Hopefully, he doesn't just ignore their problems; I would like to believe that he would refer them to a Christian Counselor. I said Christian Counselor specifically, not just because my wife is one, but because you do not know the principles a non Christian counselor may employ. After all he may use Zen, scientology, Buddha, or even something more devastating to ones soul. A Christian Counselor is a "tool" that can be very valuable to a church or even an individual. Still, a word of caution, not every "Christian Counselor is qualified". I've seen a few that probably needed counseling themselves, luckily none so far that were actually certified, though I am sure they exist. Make sure the counselor does use the bible in context. Many innocent people have been placed in danger because of so called Christian Counselors that have misled people. Most important, get to know the heart of the Counselor. Make sure they are in it for the client, not themselves. Most of all pray to the Lord.
Christian Counseling Center is a Christian Counseling group that helps others find peace in their lives through the Lord. We are equipped to deal with just about every emotional issue or everyday life issues.
We care about you. Our website is at: http://www.cjcounseling.com