At Clearcreek Chapel, we have both an ACBC Certified Training Center, and a biblical counseling center. It is a tremendous privilege to be able to serve the Christian community in Southwest Ohio through both of these entities. It is also a great privilege to have young men and women in our church complete the rigors of ACBC certification. While a significant part of that certification is counseling under the supervision of an ACBC fellow, I am convinced that we must come alongside and help mentor these young counselors as well.
This conviction in no way diminishes the profit of the certification process, but WE know the candidates personally. We worship with them, study with them, participate in community life together with them, and so see them in a much deeper way than the ACBC fellow. With that in mind, what are some of the opportunities that we have that can play out in the relationship of biblical counseling together.
First, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to make sure our young counselors continue to understand the Christian life and grow in their biblical thinking about the issues of living. We have an opportunity to help hone ministry skills because we are together week in and week out. We have opportunity to come alongside and pray for our counselors. It is a difficult and demanding ministry to come along side those brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling with suffering and sin in their lives. Over time, Galatians 6:1 ministry to others, takes an accumulated and weighty toll on a counselor. We have opportunity to help them see the Holy Spirit working across the table from them. And thus, we come alongside helping them to continue the grind and to not become weary.
Second, while it is a danger for all counselors, it is especially true of newer counselors, to remain faithful to the Word and a biblical view of change. I believe it is often the case, that we tend to begin to trust our own ideas and plans, because biblical counseling is an emotional pursuit. There are times when we want to give advice out of our own anger over another’s sin, yet the Bible leads us in a different direction. Separation, divorce, protecting our own interests, and setting emotional boundaries, are all areas in which we easily tend to have strong emotional responses.
Another area of mentoring involves regular training and discipleship on proper scriptural exegesis. We can never take for granted that our young counselors are skilled in the proper handling of God’s Word.
A final point, although there are many others, is to continue to help the young counselor understand and clarify the area of their own personal responsibility. This includes being careful to watch their character and conduct as a believer (to walk in a manner worthy…). It also includes a proper understanding of their responsibility in the counseling room in conjunction with God’s responsibility. Very often, young counselors become easily discouraged because they don’t see transformation as quickly as they would like. As a result, they come up with special techniques, or even gimmicks, to help the process along. It is our responsibility to help them through these times with prayer and patience.
In summary, while the young counselor is excited and energized, there still needs to be fresh reminders of the gospel, the power of the Scripture, what it means to listen well, and a continuing commitment to trust that God will do his work in his time. And oh, what a joy it is to see God work in his way and in his time!