Last year, with the support of my Church leadership, the decision was made that I would no longer offer any counseling. I will stick strictly to my area of expertise, teaching the Bible. If someone has questions about anything Biblical or involving the Church, I will gladly meet with them and try to help. Beyond that, I am only referring people to professionals.
There are several reasons I made this decision.
- I am untrained as a counselor. My degree is in theology with a New Testament major. I have taken a counseling class and learned by experience, but this is not where I was trained.
- The work is getting more and more specific. Counseling is no longer dispensing advice. Instead, it is about handling a range of personality disorders, psychological backgrounds, and trauma. The more we learn about the human mind, the more we need a trained counselor to guide us.
- There are more resources than ever. You can now speak with a trained psychologist online in the privacy of your own home. Covid forced people to use technology with everything, including their emotional health. The opportunities for help are many.
- It is often a waste of time. People value things for which they pay. My counseling as a pastor was free, and most people disregarded it by the time they left the parking lot. People need a personal investment to motivate them.
- Free up more time for other things. Sometimes you have to say “no” to good things to focus on the areas where God has gifted you. Counseling is not my strength.
Lately, I refer people to trained Christian professionals who can help far more than I ever dreamed. Honestly, it appears to be going well for the people and me.
Why do I tell you all of this? Two reasons. First, I want the people in my congregation to understand the move. Second, I want Christians everywhere to develop a similar mindset. When someone comes to you for quick advice, then go ahead and offer it. When people need counseling, could you leave it to the professionals? I am afraid that we do more harm than good if we don’t.