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"My Pastor can't counsel someone! He's not qualified!"

Think of one of your favorite preachers/teachers either in the Birmingham area or around the country. Quite likely, this pastor would be a godly man, full of integrity and passion for Christ and the lost, and very knowledgeable. So would this pastor be a good counselor? Would you want to meet with this pastor for biblical counseling? Probably so.

Yet in the state of Alabama, a pastor is not qualified as a licensed professional counselor unless he has taken certain courses in school, had a supervised internship, and passed the licensing exams. He would have to know a lot about psychology to pass the exams but biblical knowledge isn’t necessary to pass those exams. So, technically, the state would not allow this pastor who may be a wonderful pastor/teacher of the Word of God to “counsel” others. He’s not qualified by state standards but is he qualified by God’s standards?

Consider this question: What is this pastor NOT qualified to use in counseling? He’s not qualified to counsel using psychological theories! He cannot (nor would he) claim to be a licensed professional counselor because that type of counsel is not what he is offering. He is not offering the ideas of a man but the truths of God.

To the above, I say: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord that your pastor cannot use psychology to counsel others. Praise the Lord that he is ‘limited’ to using the Holy Scriptures ONLY for the counsel he gives to others as a pastor/teacher! Praise His Name!”

That’s what I say! I see it as a blessing not a curse that your pastor must only use the Scriptures to help others! I am “limited” in that way, too, but it’s no limitation because Hebrews 4:12 states:

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

What else do we need to discern the heart of mankind other than God’s Word and the Holy Spirit? Nothing!

Your pastor IS a competent biblical counselor who is equipping others to do the work of discipleship through biblical counseling!

I would take your pastor any day to counsel me regardless of what the state of Alabama says qualifies someone to counsel.

-Mark (grateful to the Lord for your pastor and hoping he understands that he is a counselor to others from the Word of God)

*The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Heb 4:12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

2 thoughts on “"My Pastor can't counsel someone! He's not qualified!"”

  1. Christian/Pastoral counselors are not required to be licensed by the state licensing board. They can however get a christian counselor certification which shows that they have had some kind of training. Anyone can “counsel” unofficially, but to be a licensed professional counselor means that you have been through the training program required, which is a masters degree. There are training programs at Christian Universities that include biblical counseling. The reason for licensing boards in any profession is to give the licensee a standard set of expectations and ethics. It’s just like going to a medical doctor or a lawyer. You know that if they have the license to practice then they have been approved by a board of professionals who approve of their qualifications. It also holds them accountable to do their job with the client’s best interest in mind. I am a christian and I’m currently finishing up my lpc requirements. I see the importance of a license for a professional. As for a pastor, I think pastoral counseling is great if the pastor is called and skilled in counseling. Some pastors think they can counsel just because of their title and they really mess people up emotionally. I’ve seen this happen numerous times. I think it’s important for a pastor who is called to pastoral counseling to get some christian counseling training.

    1. While I agree with you that people need training in how to handle the Scriptures properly when counseling/discipling someone, I guess I’m not afraid of what you call really messing people up emotionally. I have a bigger goal – it’s called presenting the TRUTH of God’s Word in the love of the Holy Spirit – and frankly, when I read His Word of truth and the Spirit convicts me, I get messed up because I am convicted about how I have been trusting in myself and not the Lord Jesus Christ. Emotionally, I might feel down for a bit but the goal is bigger than a momentary emotional letdown – it’s an eternal goal.

      Here is my disagreement: counseling IS the work of a pastor. In fact, counseling IS the work of ministry of all members of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). We are all called to disciple others by “teaching them to obey/observe all Jesus commanded us to obey” (Matt. 28:18-20). It is not some specialized training like doctors and lawyers need to do their job because it is spiritual soul care to help bring healing and reconciliation to people who need Christ. I don’t like your emphasis on specialized training and standards because they often are SECULAR standards and not biblical.

      Basically, I could go on and on. I appreciate your heart for adequate training. Isn’t it sad that most people believe pastors are NOT able to counsel? How sad and far we have fallen! Here in America we have more seminaries, churches, Bibles, and other Christian resources yet we are so weak that we think a pastor is unable to help someone with inner issues of the heart! Your response truly saddens me because you do not believe a pastor IS called to counsel – only called I guess to present a 30 minute sermon on a biblical topic that is unrelated to counseling…how sad our churches are today if we only see a pastor as a preacher!

      May the Lord open your eyes to less specialization and more globalization of discipleship through biblical counseling. I pray He will make these issues LESS complicated in your eyes! Take care, Brother or Sister, and I pray you see that the counselor is only an instrument in the Redeemer’s Hands and not the source for counseling!

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