What is one of the primary heartbeats of TIL?
It’s to get YOU involved in the ministry God has called you to do which is to have “love one to another.” We are all called to love one another and while there are a variety of ways to accomplish this, one great way is through biblical counseling.
At TIL, we agree that good preaching, small groups, Sunday school teaching, and just "one anothering" takes care of much of what people go to secular counselors for. A strong, biblical pulpit ministry is so valuable to biblical counseling! That's why we counsel under the authority of the local church! It's so essential to have solid teaching and preaching from the leaders of the faith family!
But a strong pulpit ministry devoid of a faith family that participates in loving one another is all some churches have and it’s where I see biblical counseling can fill a void in what I call “personal ministry.” Learning the Scriptures and how they apply to everyday problems is an EFFORT (time) problem more than it’s an ABILITY problem. All saints have the ability to do biblical counseling since they have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and a copy of God’s Word. The problem comes in the willingness to get involved. They do not think they have the ability; therefore, they put forth no effort. But that’s worldly thinking and it’s wrong!
Where I wanted to urge the readers of this blog to think is that YOU are potentially great biblical counselors.
While someone who has been doing counseling for many years may have more experience in certain problem areas than you, I think YOU are potentially a fantastic biblical counselor. So I would not say it’s a special calling as though Jason or myself or anyone has any special calling above the average Christian. It’s just that they have the TIME set aside to be trained and to do biblical counseling of others whereas you do not have that kind of time!
Do you have time to sit and ask questions and gather data and gain a rapport with someone? Can you dedicate a night or day to a minsitry like TIL where you will have time to work closely with hurting souls? If so, then you can spend the time to learn how to handle the Scriptures skillfully to help others!
No person is an “expert” since the Holy Spirit is THE expert working through any willing, skilled person (lay or professional – though I hate the label “lay counselor”). The Holy Spirit gives ALL Christians the ABILITY to do biblical counseling.
Although I and others like me have spent more time in learning counseling skills through training, I think the key variable is TIME (effort). I have been set aside and willing to do it. I am willing and able in my position in the church as a leader rather than as a senior pastor to shepherd the flock of God in a house to house ministry (Acts 20:20) rather than in a pulpit ministry.
I really do wish all elders & deacons in the church would do more shepherding of God’s flock. I cannot do it all even in my church.
I think of it like someone who mows the grass. Most all of us can mow our grass, but there are times where added skill to our lawn might be needed if we are planting a tree, putting in a bird bath, or whatever task is above and beyond our immediate ability. At that point, we have a choice:
1) hire someone to do it
2) do it ourselves and learn the skills necessary. This is where most people feel ill-equipped as though they cannot learn or be as good as a counselor as I am because they see it as an ability issue rather than a time & gaining experience issue! But it’s effort and time, not ability! It’s really the Holy Spirit’s power and not ability!
This expert mentality is sad to me because we need everyone in the body doing ministry! The idea of “specialists” and counseling as a “special calling” hinders some from getting involved because they think: “I’m not gifted. I cannot counsel. It’s not my calling.”
In the illustration above (comparing it to biblical counseling), I think if a willing saint has the time to spend doing the extra lawn task (or biblical counseling), then the job could be done by a novice saint who might not do as nice a job as a more skilled person who is set aside to do it and does it frequently, but could figure it out if he had the time to invest in the project. In other words, most anyone could make a bird bath and lay bricks down in a walkway for their home but it would not look as good as someone who does that every day.
Could that novice mess up someone’s life, you ask?
Great question and great concern which is why in biblical counseling, we want the novice to work with a more experienced partner so the person would learn and the body would be strengthened which is why I am training people to do biblical counseling in teams of TWO now (Luke 10:1). I put 2 saints (lay counselors) together – one more experienced with one less experienced ideally – and people love doing ministry together. It is strength in numbers and it protects the counselees and the counselors!
What I want the church world to see is that this issue is simply more a TIME issue rather than even a special calling because most people just do not want to take the time to do this type of work – which is a lack of willingness, not ability, as the skills would develop in time. Some people say, “I’m too truthful to be a counselor” which is WRONG! We need the truth in the room. The truth is essential to counseling. Maybe what the person is really saying is that “I’m not gracious enough to speak the truth in love.” That’s a different issue and an issue that may prohibit one from counseling but it could be labeled as prideful or unloving!
TIL is a ministry that gets ALL the saints involved in ministry who are willing and trained to do this type of ministry in a loving and truthful manner. We need more “average Joe” believers to do biblical counseling in the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-16)!
We are all called as “saints” to “love one another” and counseling is what people call it now. Unfortunately, we have the expert mentality today even in the church when we think of “counseling” and that is unfortunate to me because there is only one Wonderful Counselor Who works THROUGH believers!
At TIL, we want to get you involved in ministry. We don’t want spectators, we want participants! And you can do it because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world! Amen!
Put forth the effort and time to do this because Christ in you has the ability!
-Mark (urging the body of Christ to be the active body of Christ)