I recently learned that in the few short years the INSTITUTE has been in existence, we have already graduated over fifty students from our full time 160-hour course. Congratulations!
From time to time we hope to be contacting you with information, suggestions, general thoughts, and the like. Today, let me say a word about how to get started. Just in case you haven’t yet been able to begin counseling and were wondering how to begin, here are five suggestions:
- Contact your pastor and volunteer to help with overflow counseling. You don’t want to replace him or do his counseling for him. But you might be able to relieve him a bit.
- Offer to sit in on counseling sessions with the pastor or elders of your church whenever he must counsel a single woman. He will want a third party present. Perhaps the elder or deacon who usually sits in is not available on some occasions. At such times you might make yourself available.
- When someone calls and wants to get something off his/her chest on the phone, say something like this: “This matter is too important to discuss on the phone. Let’s set up some regular time to get together to discuss it.”
- Spread the word over the congregation (with the pastor’s permission) that your are available. Be wise as a serpent in doing so—and as harmless as a dove. Don’t cause trouble; use finesse.
- Approach persons who need help on the basis of Galatians 6:1 (See Ready to Restore). It should not be embarrassing to do so since you are not taking fees. Again, be sure that you are not working at cross-purposes with your congregation. When the word gets out that you can help people, you’ll soon have to get others to take this course so they can help you.
If you are a recent graduate who hasn’t yet done any (or much) counseling, get ready to do so. I say “get ready” because surely the Lord doesn’t want you to waste the knowledge and training that you have received. If the Lord wants you to do counseling—you will counsel!