Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pastoral Counseling Advice: A Short Interview with Randy Booth

A short outline of Pastoral Counseling advice from Randy Booth:

I think we should spend about hour together talking about your past. No matter how bad it was, it’s important for you to face it, put it behind you, and not wallow in it.

There are four possibilities (or combinations of them) that are the reason(s) you are having problems:

1. You don’t know what to do.
2. You don’t know how to do it.
3. You need some help doing it.
4. You don’t want to do it.

As a pastor, I can help you with the first three. I can’t help you if you’re not willing to do what needs to be done. There’s no point in continuing to meet if number four is the case.

Before we start, you need to know that I can’t fix this for you, nor will I try. This is your problem and it will require you to change. Wherever we find sin, you must repent and face the consequences head-on, doing whatever God says needs to be done to repair and rebuild.

If we don’t see any progress after three sessions, we need to discontinue the counseling.

Some other assorted golden nuggets:

- Know the name of every child in your congregation; love of the children will cover a multitude of pastoral sins.
- Be patient with your people through change; new things are supposed to feel odd, God intends it.
- His favorite pastoral metaphor is being the father at a foster home. God gives you people with problems and it’s your job to shepherd them.
- Use your liturgy as a chance to demonstrate warmth and hospitality to visitors and those not acquainted with it.
- Stay short on your sermons: 25-30 mins.

1 comment:

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

I don't hear/read much from Pastor Booth, but I'm always impressed when I do. I especially like the list of four reasons. The one thing I'd nuance a little is the three-session rule: I'd clarify "progress," noting that baby steps count, and the counselee isn't going to be expected to have his act together in three meetings.

1 Thess. 5:14 comes to mind: "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all." Paul prescribes dealing differently with folks depending on their attitudes, not a one-size fits all approach. That requires a rare degree of discernment.