Interview: Why Counseling Should Happen in the Church
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I recently sat down with my friend, Will Lohnes, to be interviewed by him. Will is working on his D.Min. and is doing his dissertation on soul care in the local church.
Below are the show notes, which have Will’s questions, plus my bullet point answers. I have also added time stamps if you want to index forward in the interview to listen to a specific question and answer.
Key Idea: Can using the biblical soul care model in a small group setting address problems and accomplish discipleship in the local church?
(07:43) Purpose of the interview – BSC (biblical soul care) is speaking of truth in love with compassion and skill by both the certified and trained individual. My focus is primarily within the church by the church.
I count Rick as a leader when it comes to caring for souls in a more formal fashion with biblical counseling in and out of the church. So my questions hover around how soul care happens inside and outside the church.
(13:17) – What are the strengths of biblical counseling when used inside the church as opposed to the strengths used outside the church?
- No artificial timetable for change: repentance is a gift from the Lord (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
- More body contexts for care: everyone can participate.
- Relaxed settings in that every interaction is not trying to change someone: allowing the “counselee” to experience body life outside the counseling office is transforming.
- Long-term relationships v. short-term counselor relationships: continuity of care for years to come.
(25:56) – Why is local church counseling/discipleship so effective?
- We have a community that allows us to image God, the original community.
- Sin divides the community. Soul care in community removes the sin problem that divides the community.
- The church can be envisioned for soul care.
- The church can be equipped for soul care.
- The church can be engaged in soul care.
- The church can enjoy the benefits of soul care.
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(40:44) – What are the effects of a pastor who does not do soul care?
- He can be a great preacher.
- He will be disconnected from his people.
- His preaching will not be practicalized to the people he is preaching to.
- Knowledge is one-sided; there must be application of knowledge.
(45:36) – What needs to be changed in biblical counseling to become more efficient, effective, and excellent within the church?
- Ongoing dialogue within our community is essential.
- Basically, the same problem that Jay Adams identified 45 years ago: The church needs to do the heavy lifting when it comes to soul care.
- Return to biblical language, definitions, and practices.
- Create biblical sanctification contexts that look like discipleship.
- Do all you can to remove the two-tier system by making discipleship everybody’s responsibility.
(54:10) – Should a church seek to take care of the spiritual problems of the individual by the church itself or just relinquish it all to outside help (either biblical or integration).
- The church should not relinquish soul care to anyone (Hebrews 13:17). They should seek to do all soul care inside the church.
- We have all we need: 2 Peter 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
- Pastors and leaders must be trained to do soul care so they can train their people.
- The counselors outside the church must have a high view of the church, which will be an asset to the leaders in the church.
(1:03:35) – If you could make a church function the way it is best for soul care, what would it look like? How would it function?
- 2 Timothy 2:2, where leaders are replicating themselves in the lives of others.
- Ephesians 4:12, where the leaders are equipping the church to care for others.
- The essentialness of and the exportability of the gospel.
- I think the small group leader model is the best model to accomplish this. The pastors/leaders train small group leaders to do competent soul care.
- The small group leaders would do two main things:
- Care for the people in his small group.
- Identify and equip future leaders from within his group.
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Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).