5 Myths About Counseling in the Church

Myth #1: Counseling is for the professionals.

This myth suggests that counseling is a professional term and can only be done by professionals. And yet, it is better to think of counseling as wise, helpful conversations. Professional counselors might bring experience—which we certainly value—but, at their best, professionals are having wise, helpful conversations. They bring no particular magic.

When you remember the people who have helped you in your times of need, you probably think of friends, family, and others who love you. These have always been our go-to helpers, and they still tend to be the place to begin.

Myth #2: As a pastor, you don’t have time for counseling.

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The thought of adding extra hours to a packed schedule might be enough to make you cry. The pastoral care needs in a fifty-person church are probably too much to bear. Even the pastoral care needs in your own family might seem overwhelming.

The reality is that you cannot care single-handedly for every soul in your church. You need members who are equipped to help other members. Meanwhile, your goal is to be increasingly loving, skillful, compassionate, wise, and prayerful in the conversations you already have. You can do a lot in five minutes of listening and three minutes of praying together.

Myth #3: You can’t counsel because you aren’t a good counselor.

Some people have more native gifts in knowing and helping others. But what might this myth actually mean? You don’t love people? You don’t listen but prefer to talk? People don’t want to talk with you? Probably not.

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