Equipping Counselors For Your Church: Equipping and Empowering

May 17, 2012 — Leave a comment

9781596383814Yesterday, we started into Equipping Counselors For Your Church by looking at the opening two sections, Envisioning and Enlisting. In Bob’s race metaphor, those are the first two laps, so today we’ll look at the final two: Equipping and Empowering. This is more my particular niche, so after the good reminders from Bob about the need to develop an MVP-C statement, I was ready to dive into his thoughts on the actual equipping process.

Equipping Godly Ministers For Ministry

Much like Bob, “coaching and equipping are in my blood, in my DNA.” I’m still somewhat socially awkward when it comes to the former, but I’m well equipped for the latter (so I can focus on growing in the former). Anyway, in this section the focus is on the 4C’s of equipping (176):

  • Biblical Content/Conviction: head/knowing – how to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth
  • Christlike Character: heart/being – how to reflect Christ
  • Counseling Competence: hands/doing – how to care like Christ
  • Christian Community: home/loving – how to grow together in Christ

Chapter 7 is dedicated to explaining how these 4C’s provide the counseling training goals and objectives. Chapters 8 and 9 then shift the focus to actual curriculum development. One advantage of Bob’s approach here is that he doesn’t dictate a one-size fits all model. Rather, after spending considerable time fleshing out the goals and objectives, these two chapters are more aimed at helping you think through how you might develop curriculum for your own specific context. As he says, “Based on your gift-mix, your specific church, and your unique community, use these categories as a guide for designing the particular materials, content, and lesson plans that are the right fit for your trainees” (202). Chapter 10 then gives advice on particular strategies and methods when it comes to the actual equipping process.  As in the earlier sections, there are a number of appendices to help you along the journey.

For this section, Bob’s ROLOs (not the candy) are that readers be equipped to (177):

  • Develop comprehensive four-dimensional training goals and objectives for equipping biblical counselors in the 4C’s
  • Map out focused curriculum and materials that will become your subject matter and lesson plans for equipping
  • Apply transformational training strategies and methods that comprehensively equip your trainees

A huge strength of all this is Bob’s Romans 15:14 directed 4D focus on head, heart, hands, and home. I think there is a strong tendency in equipping to focus the efforts on one dimension or the other, leading to unbalanced ministries. Particularly helpful in this section are Bob’s four core relational competencies (which fall under the hands dimension):

  • Sustaining: empathize and embrace (using the acronym GRACE, see Bob’s series on this one)
  • Healing: encourage and enlighten (RESTS)
  • Reconciling: expose and exhort (PEACE-E)
  • Guiding: empower and equip (FAITH-H)
This is a particular area I need to focus in on myself, and maybe as I do I’ll flesh out more from these acronyms. Even if you’re not directly involved in a counseling ministry, there is much to glean in developing these competencies. Also, the way Bob links spiritual formation to counseling (mainly in chapter 9) would be useful for anyone in a discipleship relationship, whether or not it is explicitly thought of as a biblical counseling.

Empowering/Employing Godly Ministers For Ministry

In the final section of the book, Bob covers two important issues. First, in chapter 11, how to keep a newly formed counseling ministry going. Second, in chapter 12, what ethical and legal concerns you need to bear in mind so things will sail smoothly. In some ways, I would imagine these chapters are most useful once you’re in the thick of things, but I also imagine its not a bad idea to have at least read through the material before the ball starts rolling in your ministry. The ROLOs Bob has in this section are aimed to equip readers to (279):

  • Oversee the ongoing organizing of the organism through God’s empowering for God’s glory by administrating ministries, mentoring/supervising ministers, and passing the baton of ministry
  • Care carefully by following sound principles of ethical behavior, legal norms, wise practices, and biblical standards

These provide a nice capstone to the material and are accompanied by three very useful appendices. Even though they may not cover the most riveting aspects of a biblical counseling ministry, they are vital to the ongoing health of your ministry. The fact that they are included in the book testifies to Bob’s highly organized and comprehensive equipping approach that comes with many years of experience in doing this kind of thing.

Tomorrow then, we’ll finish up our look at Equipping Counselors For Your Church!


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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

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