The Importance of Pastoral and Lay Counseling

a re-post from Brandon Cox:

Some of the spiritually healthiest people I know are in counseling. There seems to be some stigma around it, but getting help with our mental and emotional issues is really a matter of choosing to grow with the help of others. And the New Testament reveals a pretty neat idea in the mind of God … the church can be a growing body of compassionate counselors. If you’re a Christian, you need counseling from other Christians, and you need to offer counseling to others too.

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Soul Care Conference

Soul Care retreat

Soul Care retreat

The fall Soul Care retreat for pastors was held last month at America’s Keswick in Whiting, New Jersey. John Woodward spoke on “Vital Dimensions of the Cross.” (See a PDF summary here). The next Pastor’s Conference there is scheduled for Feb. 2-5, 2015.

Here’s a testimony from one of the men who attended:

Dear Brother John,
Thank you so very much for your ministry at our recent Soul Care Conference. I sincerely believe it was the best we’ve had. The LORD ministered to my heart. I’m working through Dr. Solomon’s book Handbook to Happiness and am profiting greatly from it. The one point that helped me most was when you told us that God changes our past. Mine was an alcoholic home with a lot of fighting. My entire family was split up when I was ten. To discover my new identity in Christ is my only answer… My life is truly changed and I will be forever grateful. My wife keeps reminding that I’ve changed. When I ask how? She responds with “you aren’t protective of yourself any more.” That, in itself, is a huge help to my life. So, thank you for your kind help at Keswick.
-pastor from Connecticut