Thom S. Rainer on the 10 Most Challenging Issues Pastors Face When Counseling Church Members

Among the many responsibilities of pastors is counseling church members. Some pastors spend a lot of time counseling members. Others do limited counseling before referring the member to someone they view to be more qualified.

But all pastors are counselors.

We took the opportunity to ask pastors on social media about the most challenging issues they face when they do counseling. While there were some definite outliers, these ten were among the most frequent responses.

  1. Marital infidelity. Many pastors lamented the horrendous damage done to marriages and families when one or more of the spouses are not faithful.
  2. Divorce. Obviously, the first two are related. A number of pastors said that those who come to them with divorce on their minds usually have their minds made up. Counseling is either a formality or an appeasement toward a favorable divorce settlement.
  3. Sexual and physical abuse. Some pastors said this issue was the fastest-growing topic in counseling. They don’t think sexual and physical abuse is new; more victims are now willing to come forward.
  4. Mental health issues. Depression and anxiety were mentioned frequently, but others were noted such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.
  5. Teen sexual issues. More teens are seeking help with issues of sexual identity, sexual pressure, and sexually transmitted diseases.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Thom S. Rainer