Letter to Pastors
As a pastor, you’re on the front lines and are usually the first person your members turn to for counseling. As a result, you regularly provide faith-based, enrichment-oriented pastoral care and counsel for those in your congregation preparing for marriage. You minister to those dealing with separation and divorce. You offer wise counsel for couples and families grappling with parent-child or parent-teen issues. You provide comfort to those who grieve.
Many pastors find their pastoral counseling ministry is highly effective in helping people navigate normal life transitions. However, you may be less confident when a member presents other concerns. If you realize that the presenting problem is beyond your clinical training, time or expertise, a good referral may be the most effective and efficient intervention.
When you make a wise counseling referral, you are helping your member find the right help at the right time from the right person. Your ability to make a wise referral for your member rests on how well informed you are about the Christian counseling services available in your community. This would include the counselor’s credentials, experience, and expertise. Equally important is how their faith influences and is integrated in their counseling.
As a Christian counselor, I believe and affirm the following statements of faith:
The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men, and the divine and final authority for faith and life.
There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and during this age, to convict men of sin; regenerate the believing sinner; indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for Godly living and service.
Man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is therefore lost, and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be attained.
The shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for the justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ by faith are born of the Holy Spirit and become the children of God.
The personal pre-millennial and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ is our “blessed hope” and has vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.
There will be a bodily resurrection of all dead, of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord, and of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.
The church is composed of all such persons, who through saving faith in Jesus Christ, have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the body of Christ of which He is the head. Water baptism by immersion soon after accepting Christ as personal Savior is a testimony of death to sin and resurrection to a new life, and the Lord’s Supper is a memorial service, setting forth in sacred and symbolic manner the death of the Lord Jesus Christ; all true believers and only believers should share it.
Bill Clark, Ph.D, LPC-S