Your counselee is doing well. He has worked hard for many months, has completed his homework well, has memorized Scripture, and God has granted repentance. After much prayer you have decided it will soon be time that he graduate from formal counseling and return to normal discipleship within his church. It would be well to schedule a couple follow up appointments 4-6 weeks out just to make sure he is continuing to move in the right direction. But, is there something you can do to help him continue to put into practice the things God has revealed to him during your time together? I believe the answer is yes, and it is not a difficult proposition.
Many years ago I was exposed to a time management system that I have adapted for this very purpose. It is a fairly straightforward adaptation with four (4) simple components. I highly suggest that in order for this to be effective in the life of your counselee, you first work through it in your own life.
First, What are my ruling values? What are the things most precious to you? This might be defined as what you want to “Be.” This will help you determine what is most important in your life. Examples of mine: I love God with all my heart, mind, and strength, I am an outstanding father and husband, I am honest in all things, I toil and labor for Jesus as an under-shepherd in his church (I find it helpful to write these in a sense of already being accomplished). This will probably be a difficult exercise for you and the counselee. It takes time, effort, and concentration to determine the things most precious. I assign this part of the plan as homework 2 weeks before I anticipate their graduation so that we can discuss it together.
Second, Set Goals congruent with those values. This is the “By When” portion of the plan. Your goals are achieved one step at a time. What do you need to be, do, or have to become the man you value? These are objectives such as: I will regularly honor my wife by showing her my love in practical ways that she appreciates, I will read through my Bible once every two years and read the New Testament twice each year, I will find ways to regularly be still and contemplate the greatness of God.
Thirdly, Plan your week. What can I do this week to move closer to being who I have identified I want to be (my ruling values)? This is the “How can I do it” portion of the plan. I prefer to do this each Sunday evening or early Monday morning. A level of expectancy is set in my mind that I will move closer to accomplishing this each week. Ideas such as: I can honor my wife this week by finding time to run the vacuum through the entire house.
Finally, Plan each day. What can I do today to move closer to being who I have identified I want to be? I set aside 5-10 minutes each morning in an attempt to accomplish something today that brings me closer to accomplishing what I believe God will have me do. It doesn’t always work. “Life” often rears it ugly head and my days sometimes simply evaporate. But, my heart is daily poised toward that transformation God will accomplish. And so, today can I find time after work to run the vacuum through the entire house.
People I have counseled have reported back that while the first part of this exercise is difficult and time consuming. Overall it has helped them stay on track for a long time following the end of their formal time with me.