Divorce. Depression. Death. Addiction. Just four of the many heartbreaking challenges of life in a fallen and broken world. While every pastor knows you’ll be confronted with these difficulties, that’s not the same as being prepared to help people through them when they happen. As a ministry leader, people will come to you with a myriad of issues and struggles. Here are a few ways you can provide counsel and direction to the people you encounter.
1. Know When to Refer
As a pastor, you aren’t necessarily a professional counselor, unless you have the qualifications. If you don’t have those qualifications, it is important to make that clear to the people who come to you for help. Do your research and always have a good list of licensed and professional counselors to refer people to. Don’t let pride or thinking you know better get in the way. Know when to refer.
2. Know as Much as You Can
Get more counseling education. You at least need to know the basics of how to react to whatever situation walks into your office. It’s important to know what you don’t know and learn as much as you can. Keep learning. Stay current on the issues of the day, issues that people you serve are struggling with.
3. Utilize the Support System in Your Church
You are not the only minister in your church, even if you are the only person on staff. Every person who belongs to God is a minister. Don’t attempt to do all the ministry yourself. Utilize others to provide care to those who need it. Utilize your groups to help people build relationships with other people who can listen and offer encouragement through the challenges of life.
This article originally appeared here.