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3 Ways Pastors Can Provide Better Counseling

3 Ways Pastors Can Provide Better Counseling

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. 

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Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, he served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary and has authored or co-authored several books, including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. He is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.