Sarah Rainer: Six Guidelines for Ministers Who Counsel

choosing-1Interesting post from Sarah Rainer on guidelines for pastors (ministers, in the Churches of Christ, of course) who counsel. Also for elders.

1. Competence

A lack of training in counseling and mental health issues would indicate that a pastor should refer these issues to a professional in the area. …

2. Certain Disorders

… There are certain mental health issues that are probably best left to specialists in the area. Schizophrenia, severe eating disorders, and certain substance abuse, are amongst the few of these disorders. …

3. Emotional Involvement

… When pastors begin developing a deeper intimate connection with a particular counselee that extends beyond a pastor-church member relationship, they should consider the impact it could have on the counseling relationship. …

4. Personal Life

When counseling sessions are extending into the pastor’s personal and work life, a pastor should consider alternatives for their counseling work. …

5. Lack of Progress

Despite several months of counseling, the counselee is not making improvement. …

6. Personal Relationships

… It is a good idea for pastors to steer clear of counseling someone with whom they have a close and intimate relationship (i.e. family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers). …

What would you add? Disagree with anything?

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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3 Responses to Sarah Rainer: Six Guidelines for Ministers Who Counsel

  1. John says:

    Great advice. I have always had doubts regarding most ministers delving into matters outside spiritual areas. In the yearning to be accepted as a “professional” many ministers take upon themselves more than they know or understand. In particular, the mental and emotional lives of many teenagers have been destroyed by incompetent “righteous men”.

  2. John says:

    I also wish to add, that nothing is more arrogant than a young preacher, and sometimes his wife, who have small children at home, to insinuate, that the parents of teenage or young adult children who have “rebelled”, are at fault and are failures. The number of self righteous men and women who have had their words and accusations to come back to haunt them are countless. Yet, still some still insist, “But I know how to raise my children”. So said them all.

  3. scc0009 says:

    We need more trained elders and less “preachers” starting their own franchise.

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