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Breaking Down Pastoral Counseling

Many Christians worldwide often encounter and clash with many concepts, theories, practices, and doctrines in their quest for how best to live a life of spiritual fulfillment. Such Christians find themselves in a fix while trying to get knowledge to avoid doom (Hosea 4:6). These dilemmas do not spare even the ministers of God who seek to enrich their knowledge in Pastoral Counseling, since they find themselves weighing between what they believe in, what the church believes in, and what the secular world considers best.

(Benner 2003, 13) tends to think that “Pastoral counseling can be both distinctively pastoral and psychologically informed. ” This means that there is a possibility of a pastor conducting counseling to remain in Christian context, regardless of a situation seeming to warrant a secular solution. We should remember the Holy Spirit should be our counselor and we should possess a spirit of discernment (1st Kings 3:9).

Christian Soul Care Benner 2003, 14-28 says that Christian Soul Care is the support and restoration of the wellbeing of a person in their depth and in totality with particular concern to their inner life. It is also said that for care to be worthy of being referred to as “soul care”, then it has to engage four aspects namely: sustaining, guiding, healing and reconciling (William and Charles 1964, 12).

The soul is the most special part in the composition of a human being and is believed to retain life even after the death of the physical body. This serves to show that it deserves special care to preserve it. Therefore if we are able to offer the support needed to the wellbeing of our “inner-man” in totality, then we would be able to offer the restoration needed to every member of the congregation and this would re-energize the congregation and they would offer all their worship and praise to God as Psalms 150:1-5 instructs.

In accordance to McNeil 1951, vii, we should also offer a “presentation of all people perfect in Christ” , to God, by giving counsel, offering consolidation, preach sermons, write books and letters, visit people, develop and run hospitals, organize schools, offer education and engage in social and political activities (Benner 2003, 15). Forms of Soul Care Soul Care is categorized into five forms that are mentioned to be pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, pastoral care, pastoral ministry and Christian friendship (Benner 1998, 11).

Christian friendship ensures fellowshipping of believers through sharing and interaction. Pastoral care offers a helping hand to the congregation to build their faith; it also goes hand in hand with spiritual direction, which ensures focus in the correct spiritual path. On the other hand, pastoral counseling is the guidance given to the congregation to show them a path of Biblical truth for the Bible says in John 8:32 ‘And they shall know the truth; and the truth shall free them’. Pastoral ministries ensure there is always a sanctuary where the congregation can go to be nurtured in time of need.

The latter two work together to ensure that when we submit our situations for counseling, we are handled with utmost care and compassion because at that point we are very vulnerable and fragile. Case Study: Applications of Soul Care and their Impacts In my church, soul care is handled very delicately by my pastor, who understands that how well he deals with my situation will determine whether I will go back to him for more help or not. He understands that for me to lead a spiritual life of fulfillment I need to be realistic with God’s word and thus I need to be up-to-date with what God wants.

This approach has ensured that the congregations understand the need for their Praise and Worship in all situations. On a personal level, understanding myself and how I should live a life of spirituality has caused me to be a very confident individual and to be able to offer help and advice to those I find in difficult situations. Uniqueness of Pastoral Counseling On the uniqueness of pastoral counseling, Benner says that “The training of ministers is distinctive because it provides pastoral counselors with a spiritual perspective on persons and their problems” (Benner 2003, 31).

Spiritual perspective in this case means how we view or perceive issues that relate to our spirituality and how we relate to them. Pastoral counseling can therefore not be effective unless it incorporates; first being very particular to context needed for each scenario with regards to each individual case, secondly it has to involve setting of goals which encompass a spiritual insight related to each scenario, then there is the determining of the role of the pastoral counselor as either the solution or direction giver, and finally, the resources that are needed for the counseling to be successful.

Benner 2003, 29 comments that “pastoral counseling is very unique in its incorporation of religious resources” which he says are prayer, anointing with oil, sacraments, laying of hands, religious literature and scripture. Conclusion: Rationale Brief pastoral counseling is suggested by Benner 2003, 42-45 as the best approach because he argues that many pastors are either not well equipped or they are too busy to handle a long-term counseling approach. Moreover, a long-term counseling model may not appeal to the church member, who might also be too busy or they may find the approach boring due to the monotony offered by the many sessions.

We may also find a scenario where the church member is seeking a quick solution, and lengthening the process may leave them more confused and disillusioned. I therefore think that a short-term model for pastoral counseling is the most ideal for any type of pastoral counseling. Bibliography Benner, David G. Strategic Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Counseling Structured Model. 2nd Ed. Grand Rapids, Mississippi: Baker Publishing, 2003. Benner, David G. Care of Souls: Revisioning of Christian Nurture and Counsel.

Grand Rapids, Mississippi: Baker Publishing, 1998. Clinton, Tim and Hawkins, Ron. Biblical Counseling Quick Reference Guide: Emotional and Personal Issues. Nashville, Tennessee: Baker Publishing, 2007. McNeil, John T. A History of the Cure of Souls: A Cure Oriented Approach. West Street, New York: Harper & Bros Publishing, 1951. William, Clebsch A and Charles, Jaekle R. Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective: An Essay providing Exhibits. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Publishing, 1964.

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