What is church-based counseling?

  • Church-based counseling is an attempt to draw “counseling” into the general discipling work of the local church. It’s practicing counseling by equipping members and leaders to meet one another’s counseling needs rather than referring people “out” to experts.
  • Church-based counseling does not wholly eschew the role of the “expert” or even referral, especially for more difficult cases. Yet it’s grounded on several biblical convictions: (i) counseling works best when counselor and counselee know one another’s lives because they belong to the same covenanted community; (ii) counseling needs are best addressed not by just one expert, but by the gifts and love of different parts of the body (see 1 Cor. 12).
  • Church-based counseling looks for ways to train members of the congregation for the work of counseling, thereby multiplying the church’s counseling ministry.
  • Church-based counseling intends for all the members of the body of Christ to grow to maturity as they serve together, teach one another, and bear each other’s burdens (Eph. 4:11-16, Gal. 6:2).
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