Pastoral Counseling

Several ministries are offering a free class in Pastoral Counseling on Wednesday evenings in Prince William County, Virginia, beginning April 17, 2013, from 7:00 to 9:30 pm.

The class is open to all members of the Body of Christ from local churches (not just “pastors”!), and likely will run about twelve weeks.

To give some idea of the type of counseling we will be teaching others to do, I’ve reprinted below a blog about one session I had with a deeply troubled man last year.

This is the second time we’ve offered this class, following numerous requests based on the life changing experiences of our first group of students – many of whom are now routinely helping others with the principles and techniques they learned.

It will be taught primarily by Marianne and me. We have years of pastoral counseling experience on tough issues – including deep emotional wounds, abuse and addictions. Joining us is John Ashton, a licensed professional counselor with decades of experience who took the class two years ago and has since integrated what he learned into his own counseling practice.

The instructors have helped hundreds of people get to – and transparently expose to the Lord – their core beliefs, hurts and life controlling issues. When we help people honestly do that, and then invite the Lord to bring His loving but transforming truth into those areas of turmoil, the Lord meets them there with healing.

Time and again we see dramatic freedom come as we apply – without watering them down – Biblical principles like confession, forgiveness and repentance. The beauty of helping people expose their core beliefs and issues to the Lord, and then letting Him bring often quick and dramatic healing, is that we don’t have to figure out how to “fix” anyone or tell them how to “fix” themselves.

The class will be taught from a solid Biblical framework, with practical techniques developed through years of experience. Students also will obtain ample hands-on experience as they learn how to apply what they are learning by doing actual counseling sessions – first with mentors (students from our first class), then each other, and later as part of some free clinics.

To reserve a seat (space is limited), or if you have any questions, please contact Jim and Marianne Wright.

In the meantime, here’s a reprint of a blog I wrote about one counseling session from last year. It is a good example of the kind of ministry you will be equipped to also do:

Getting to Simple

The more I minister to folks, the more I realize how simple it is.

And the more I realize how hard it is to get to simple.

A Healing Hug from Jesus

This morning, I met with a man who loves the Lord but has had re-occurring bouts with drug addiction. He’s now serving time in the local jail and part of an indigenous church we’ve planted there.

Jesus the Shepherd

He was carrying lots of guilt and shame from things in his past. He was confused, because he couldn’t shake the weight of those sins.

I simply invited him to confess and expose to the Lord the sins and the burdens that were weighing him down – openly and fully.

He did so.

I then simply invited him to ask the Lord to forgive him – in his own words and in his own way.

He did so.

Then, I simply asked him to bundle up all the guilt, all the shame, and all the confusion he had been carrying and lift it up in his spirit as he gave it to the Lord –  and to tell me when the Lord took it.

He did so…

… and he was free.

I then just sat back and simply stayed quiet as the Lord came and ministered to him.

After several minutes of watching the Lord’s peace and calm engulf him, I asked what had happened. (I always love asking folks to tell me what happens when the Lord meets them!)

He said the Lord had been hugging him.

I smiled, because I knew that Jesus had just brought profound healing to him, and had lifted from his life the pain that kept driving him back to drugs. He now was on the road to recovery.

The Challenge of Simple

I didn’t need to have the answers, or the cure, or even figure out the problems in this precious man’s life.

I just needed to get to simple, which for this brother meant walking with him to the place where he could confess, seek forgiveness, and trustingly turn his burdens over to Jesus.

And like He always does, Jesus showed up.

That’s the Jesus I know. He heals the brokenhearted, delivers those captured by sin, and brings liberty to the oppressed.

Yes, it’s simple to walk with folks to the place where Jesus is waiting to meet them.

But I would be misleading you if I said it was simple to learn how to minister in simplicity.

There was so much religion that God had to burn out of me. So much performance-based crap, and feeling it was all up to me.

It took years. But once I finally made it to simple, then His grace started shining through.

If you have a heart to minister, I urge you to get to simple.

When you do, you too will be amazed at what God can do.

~ Jim


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2 responses

  1. Its so easy for us to want to do the work of God for Him, rather than guiding someone into how they can be in a place that will let the Lord do the work in them. Good on you Jim.


  2. Pingback: Intentional Ministry « Crossroad Junction

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