What is Biblical Counseling?
When people think of “counseling”, there are any number of things that go through their head. Some people mistakenly think of counseling like psychotherapy, with someone laying on a big brown leather couch and a doctor with a notepad scribbling thoughts. Others think of being in a room face to face, one on one, with someone who is going to ask them to search their inner child to uncover all their issues in life. Still others have a more “normal” view of counseling: spending time with a trained person who can help them understand and unpack many of life’s issues and problems.
But none of that quite gets at what Harvest means when we use the word “counseling”. That’s because, from a Christian and biblical perspective, counseling is an activity that incorporates not only the counselor and counselee, but brings the Word of God to bear on the situation and depends on the Holy Spirit to do the work of transformation in someone’s life. In that way, we believe the best form of counseling could and should rightly be called biblical counseling.
Counseling is something God desires and expects to be done within a local body of believers, i.e. a church. This may surprise some. The tragic reason it surprises people to hear counseling is something God wants done in the local church is that the past 30+ years have seen a radical abdication of responsibly by many churches to have the “serious” issues in people’s lives farmed out to modern professional counseling and psychotherapy. Not only that, but as time continues to march on it’s not only the serious issues being farmed out but nearly every issue is seen as a reason to seek professional counseling outside of a church. The church is the place you go to learn about God; it’s not the place to get help for untangling serious issues related to marriage, singleness, depression, grief, addiction, parenting, and so on.
The bottom line is this: God has given the believer all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). The revelation of these “things” is found in the Bible, and it is applied to our lives by the Holy Spirit who takes up residence in every believer. This means good, godly, and wise counseling using the Bible should be applied to every Christian’s life for literally every scenario, problem, stage of life and trial. Is your exact circumstance listed? Maybe, maybe not. But every form of sin is, and God by his Word and power stands ready to transform your life through the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2).
So how will counseling happen at Harvest? We are in the beginning stages of equipping Harvest Counselors with the tools and wisdom needed to skillfully and lovingly bring God’s Word to bear in people’s lives for their growth in Christ. This is not a new, separate ministry in our church, and that is no small point. This is part of our ongoing desire to deepen our discipleship. In fact, it has been said that counseling is an intensive form of discipleship and nothing more. For this reason, counseling at Harvest is being designed to come alongside our small group ministry, which is our long-term disciple making model at Harvest.
If you want to learn more about Harvest Counseling and what it will take to become a Counselor at Harvest, sign up for our informational meeting on February 4th from 11:15 - 12:15pm at Granite Bay Highschool. You will be able to ask questions as well and have a better understanding of the exciting plans to glorify God by deepening our discipleship ministry here at Harvest.