Ministering to the Spiritual Needs of Man; Elementary Course
Before we begin, we need to get a couple of things clear! First off-Unless you have been trained and Licensed to do so, you must not represent yourself as a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist. A Psychiatrist is a doctor who treats mental illness with medicine and procedures, and a Psychologist is someone licensed to study behavior and provide therapeutic services, and counseling. For that matter, the best credentials you can have is to represent yourself as a Minister of the Lord! In other words- You are a Minister who can listen, be there for emotional support, and Pray for God to help them. You are none of the above. Secondly!- If you are confronted by anyone exhibiting unstable or dangerous behavior, it is strongly suggested that you do not engage them at all! Refer them to their personal Physician, that he might get them the true help they need.
You may counsel as part of your ministry in the described manner, but do not represent yourself as a counselor. A good alternative to the term "counselor" is the word "coach" or "Biblical Coach."
As a Minister of the Lord- You should never begin trying to give directions in another persons life, without first talking to the Lord about it. Remember! When life gets so rough that people seek your input, for them it has gotten critical and they know they can no longer handle things by themselves. You may run into things, you may not be able to handle right off the bat. You need to Pray that the Lord will open your mind and help you to be receptive, to the needs of others. Ask the Lord to help you to be humble and non-judgmental towards the person you are about to counsel. Never enter into a session with preformed notions or ideas. Allow God to lead you into understanding the person’s problem.
Try To Understand The Problem-Before You Try To Fix It!
When you begin talking with someone, allow them to speak and you listen! Don’t assume they’re just lost, and need to repent their sins. Sins might very well have absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on. If you do this!-They’re going to detach from you and just want the whole session to be over with! In one of our Mentoring Courses-We learned that God allows things to happen in people’s lives for several reasons. It may very well be, that it is “sin” that’s causing the problem. But-It could also be that the person is failing to follow a call from God, on something the Lord wants them to do. Like Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale, because he refused to go to Nineveh as the Lord had instructed him to do.
It could also be that God is trying to Purify them. Sometimes He will let things happen, as a way of helping them become stronger in Christ! Sometimes- Trials and troubles, may be more of a sharpening stone, God uses to hone us into the tool, He desires us to be. Always remember these points and listen long an hard, before you fly into preaching “Salvation” to them!-For they may very well -already have that! Listen to what they have to say, and pray for the Lord!-To lead your sessions with them in the way they need to go.
Getting Down To It
After you have heard the problem that’s causing them so much grief. Have prayer with them. Ask God to guide both of you, and help you to understand what the problem is!-And Why!-It’s happening. If need be-Listen to them problem-Pray!- and schedule another appointment to address the issues later. You might need to get away and meditate with the Lord for awhile, and pray for a Scripture guide line to go by. Remember! To fix the problem!-You must first!-Understand the problem. Take the word of God in with you, and never try to handle things yourself.
Whether you decide to pray and reschedule! Or continue while you’re with them, go into the counseling with God on your side.
Conduct the session quietly and calmly.
Begin by asking a question and listen to the reply, Then give a response, in other words, make the call! one question at a time. A good first question, (after you have listen to their problem carefully,) Should always be;
“Are you Saved? Do you know the Lord?” If the answer is “No!” Your response should be;
“Then before we begin-I would like to offer you the opportunity to be Saved. God will be a lot more receptive to your needs, if you are one of His children, rather than an un-saved person.”
Offer this hope as a lifeline opportunity. Do not try to force them into something they are not willing to commit too. If they say ”yes”-then pray with them. But-if they say “no!” Don’t try to force them, at this point, and don’t tell them you’re not going to help them if they don’t! We are not trying to give an unruly child his medicine! We’re trying to help them to come to realize-That without Jesus!-There is little help for them.
Explain how Jesus forgave sins, and healed people of their affliction. As with the man who was blind and deaf and dumb! Jesus healed him and told him to go and sin no more lest a worst thing should come upon him. Tell of the harlot- that was brought before Jesus, when the men wanted to stone her to death under the Laws of Moses. Jesus told them, “Let he that is without sin cast the first stone at her.” When the men had all walked away, he asked her, “Woman-Where are thine accusers?” When she told him that they were gone! He told her, if they didn’t accuse you neither do I. Then He told her to go and sin no more. Then tell the person you are counseling, if at any point they wish to pray for God to forgive their sins, just let you know, and you will help them to receive the Lord at any point.
Now we get down to the individuals problem itself. We will now discuss several scenarios, and the application of counseling to each situation;
Financial : I would pray that none of you who take this course, would be one of those that believe the answer to the problem , lies in the person gathering every dime he has, and giving it to the poor, or the church or some preacher. If he had the money to do that-He wouldn’t be having financial issues.
Pray with him for God to give him relief for his financial stress. Ask God to open his eyes, that he may see other solutions to his dilemma. Ask the person himself to pray for God’s help. Let him ask the Lord himself, for the help he needs to resolve the issue. Ask that this be done in Jesus name.
After the prayer-Advise the person to talk with people at his bank or credit union, or the people he may owe. Ask them if there is anything the man can do to lighten his load a little.
Advise him to cut back on things he don’t need; Is he wasting money of things like lottery tickets,- or gambling? Is he spending too much money eating out?
Questions like these can sometimes reveal things the man can do for himself that can make things better. He will need to realize, God loves to help those who help themselves!- And not just make a mess, and dump it into God’s hands to fix.
Sickness and Disease : The person tells you that he or someone close to him, has just found out they have a life threatening, or a disabling disease. You find this out in your session and he asks for prayer.
Pray first!- Ask God if it his will-To relieve the condition. Pray sincerely, that God will intervene on the person’s behalf. Have them to pray also. The most important prayer prayed-will be from the one who needs the intervention. Establish this with the person, and stress how important it is.
Again if-The person is un-saved! Now would be another excellent opportunity to witness Christ to them, and the great need they have- to do this. You may even tell them-”I’m not trying to force you into heaven, but God will be more willing to answer a prayer from someone who receives him-Than he will from someone who wants his help, but-Don’t want anything to do with him.” Always remember! Our first duty to the Lord!-Is to win the lost! If the person is then not willing to receive the Lord! Bless them!- That God will intervene upon their life, and help them to come to know the Lord. Bless them!- That God will heal their sickness, and by so doing, reveal to them -That God is faithful and true, and wishes no man to suffer. Ask God to move upon their life in Miraculous ways. After you have Blessed them, Disengage. Advise them that God remains ready to help them, but they will have to help themselves first! They must be willing to accept Jesus into their hearts, and receive Salvation for any further help to come into their lives. Advise them-If they are not ready to accept the Lord’s help, then perhaps their doctor may be able to help them in some way. But they need to know! God is standing by waiting to help them get through this thing, if only they receive him. Sometimes- God still does miracles. It may be, He will do one for them, and bring them to Him by the miracle. Remember!-Sometimes things may move in a certain way, but you might not be able to see it at the time.
Death of a Loved One : The hardest thing to discuss with people is the death of someone close to them. This is especially true-If the person you are talking to is lost.
Lost people see death as always the end. They don’t believe they will ever see that person ever again, and all is lost. Consoling a lost person is especially grievous. Jesus Christ is what we have to offer them to take the pain away. First you ask them if the person who passed was a Christian? In most cases, (at least we hope) they will say yes. If They do! We can assure them the person isn’t dead!-But, gone to be with the Lord! Recite John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever!, believeth on him, should not perish; but have everlasting life.” Explain for them God’s plan to reunite them one day in heaven. Stress the importance of them giving their life to Christ, in order for this to happen. Offer to pray with them, that God will receive their loved on into heaven, and grant that they will again see them some day. Ask that God have mercy on them, and help them, to make the right decision to receive the Lord.
If the person who died was lost, it is harder to console the person you are counseling. The greatest thing you can do is pray with them. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!
Do not dare-Wander into no mans land, by trying to assure them brother John is somehow in heaven now! And God didn’t really care that he was stoned when he died in that car crash. Brother John is more likely in hell, but that too is God’s call to make!-Not ours!
Instead you assure them that God is merciful! God is Love! It is not His will that any should perish! But-That all would have everlasting life. God is able to deliver whom ever he may please. Tell them to pray sincerely that somehow!-God gave brother John a last chance before he died to receive Christ, and instruct them to pray and seek the answer. If they are lost!-Tell them God loves them, and don’t want them to be worried. That if they will accept Jesus!-They will find rest in their souls concerning their dearly departed brother. Witness Jesus! For he will direct all conversations, and give answers to those who will seek to find them in Him.
By now you can see why I said, Not to fly into preaching Salvation to them at the beginning of this study. What you are technically doing, is giving them many chances to change their lives for the better, by receiving Christ. Christian Counseling is not like Psychiatric Counseling. The objectives are entirely different. Psychiatrists look at things from a medical and emotional stand point! Pastors and Christian Counselors look at things from a Spiritual stand point. For the most part, we are here to give the person a chance to vent, and in doing so, give them a chance to use Jesus to make their situation better. Most people who seek Christian Counseling have a deep Spiritual need they are trying to fill. That is why they sought you out to begin with. They know there is a void in their lives-They just don’t know how to fill it. Our Job, is to help them get their hand in Jesus’ hand. For many-This will begin to alleviate some of their stresses. Always remember! You are not a Psychiatrist! And you don’t even play one on TV, so don’t try to figure out something that goes deeper than a Spiritual need. The sequence as I stated is Pray-Question-Respond-Pray! The Word and Prayer!-Are our greatest tools when attempting to do Christian Counseling. Learning how to use them effectively, is the responsibility of every Christian Minister and Counselor.
Applying the same technique to person who are saved, involves several things not involved when Counseling a lost soul.
Is there a sin in their life?
Are they ignoring a call from God?
Have they did something they should not have done?
Are they robbing God?
Have they done wrong to someone?
Have they told lies?
Is there anything that they have done to upset God?
It might do you well to print out the previous page and save it somewhere, in case you are counseling someone who claims to be a Christian. More often than not! One of these will be at the root cause of the problems they’re going through. Either that!-Or like I said at the beginning of the book!-God is using the problem to purify them in some way. Good Christians are wonderful people! They really are! They seem to have one small problem though! Many of them tend to see themselves as perfectly Righteous! Just a tad-Holier than Thou!
I would suggest you pray in earnest on these cases before you ever start to try to advise them on how to address their problems.
Start, (after the prayer) by asking the afore mentioned questions one at a time. Allow plenty of time for Soul searching before moving on to the next question.
1. Is there a chance that there is sin in your life? Quiz them, and get them to respond in a truthful manner. Tell them you’re not going to condemn them!-You just have to ask these questions to find the direction their problem is coming from.
2. Has God placed a calling on your life that you are ignoring? Caution them-That if God has called them to do something, the only acceptable answer is, “Ok-Lord!” Explain that God may be chastising them for not following what he has told them to do! (back to Jonah and the whale.)
3. Have they done something they should not have done? This may be something as taking something from the church and not bringing it back!- Or something such as spreading gossip on someone else.
4.Are they robbing God? This could be failing to pay tithes or paying less than they are suppose to. Or using church funds for personal use.
5. Have they done wrong to someone? This could be a lot of things! From telling a falsehood on someone to stealing something from them, or simply bad mouthing them behind their back.
6. Have they told lies? Gossip!-telling stories-spreading rumors, this covers anything that is spoken by mouth to cause confusion or harm to someone’s reputation.
7. Is there anything that you can think of, you may have done to upset God? This would include things like missing church to watch a football game on TV. Staying home to wash the car. Figuring you have went enough here lately!-You deserve a day off. All of these concern the worship of Idols!
“Wow!” Did I feel the eye brows go up on that one! Yet it is the truth! If you consider that football game more important than church! You put that before God!-And THAT!- makes football an Idol!-A false God!
So you see there are many things to consider when you are counseling a Saved person, that you don’t have to deal with a lost person. For even though all of the above might apply!-It doesn't matter because they are lost!-And God is of no importance to them. Even though God sees the same symptoms he sees in a Saved person, He doesn’t attribute that to them. He sees them as lost!-It’s just more sin to them. And that covers all of the above.
The first thing you establish with a Saved person, is does any of the things mentioned apply to them? If they do!-It will be necessary for them to make thing right with the Lord. Once they do!- They will see things beginning to improve in their life. Pray-Question-Listen-Respond-Pray! That is the formula. God shall be with them so long as they are with him. Yet-If they wander!-There are wolves that lie just outside the gate. Seeking whom they may devour.
Death to a Christian is an easier subject to discuss than it is with a lost soul. A Christian knows that- all lies with God! And God will handle all things. The unbelieving husband shall be justified by the believing wife. The unbelieving child shall be justified by the believing mother, and so forth. Sickness shall be healed. Or it shall be used to purify the saved soul, to be more perfect in the sight of the Lord! When hard things come into our lives, we must remember!- What is your life? It is even a vapor. It is here for a short time, then vanishes away. All good things come through understanding. After all when all is said and done! These are only things! Things we endure in a fleshly life, that we may be more perfect in that Spiritual life that is yet to come.
Jesus too! Endured many things. It might be a good idea to point that out when you counsel people. For He was born on the earth for one reason! and one reason only! To deliver man from sin and Satan,-And also from the one thing that is man kinds greatest enemy!-”Himself!” God in his infinite wisdom devised a plan. A plan to reconcile sinful man, with the Holiness that is God. Go now! and Counsel! But always remember the greatest counsel you can give to any man-Is God’s Saving Grace! May God Bless and be with you all! A-men.
1) Once I begin to Counsel, it is ok to represent myself as a Counselor?
No!- You’re not a Counselor, You’re a Minister of the Lord.
2) If they’re having problems, obviously they are lost and need to be Saved?
No! They may be lost, or they may be ignoring a call of the Lord.
3) The first thing I need to do is to tell them to shut up, and listen to me?
No! The first thing to do is to Pray, the next thing is to listen.
4) I should try to understand the problem before I try to fix it?
Yes! If you don’t understand the problem, how are you going to fix it?
5) Bad things happening in our lives, are always the results of sin?
No! Remember the deaf-dumb-blind man Jesus healed in the temple.
He was born that way, that God might be Glorified with his healing.
6) I should concentrate only on the problem and not be concerned with
No! The first question you should ask them is, “Are you Saved?”
7) If someone is heartsick because an Un-Saved loved on has died, we should;
Tell them point blank, “They went to hell!” “Witness God’s Mercy.” tell
them “God loves them, and would that all were Saved” (Circle one)
8) When Counseling, I should act like I have all the right answers?
No!-When counseling, you should pray to God for guidance, and present yourself humble before the Lord.
9) Death is a subject easier discussed with Christian, Than a lost person?
Yes!- Because Christians understand how God works! Death isn’t final.
10) The greatest counsel you can give someone, is God’s Saving Grace?
Yes! and Yes again. For God Himself will dry their tears.
Weeping may endure through the night-But Joy comes in the morning.