Ep. 159 Distinguishing Good and Excellent Counselors

Ep. 159 Distinguishing Good and Excellent Counselors

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Shows Main Idea – Everybody can counsel according to their God-given capacity, which implies that there are differences between good counselors and excellent ones. In this podcast, I’m going to talk about those differences.

Show Notes

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I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. – Romans 15:14

There are three components to counseling, or what the Bible calls discipleship.

  • Theology – Understanding Christian doctrine
  • Psychology – Understanding the human condition (sanctification)
  • Application – Applying theology to sanctification

The hardest part is always the last part–application. Christians love studying theology and learning about sanctification. But many Christians struggle with taking these two disciplines and connecting them to real people with real problems practically–the application phase of discipleship.

Six Discipler Types

  1. Those who aren’t interested in helping others. Sigh!
  2. Those who are afraid to help others.
  3. Those who want to learn, but are not sure how to go about it.
  4. Those who speak mainly from their experience when helping others, typically mapping their experience over the person’s problems.
  5. Those who repeat what they have read from a book or what they heard someone teach.
  6. Those who know how to discern people. God has given them the gift to (1) intuit the person with whom they are helping, and they know how to (2) customize God’s Word to that unique individual. Cf. John 3:1-15, 4:1-30

Five Discipleship Elements

  1. Prayer – The discipler knows who the Counselor is, and they talk to Him often, especially while discipling an individual.
  2. Practice – The discipler spends their life studying God’s Word and applying it themselves.
  3. Pneumatic – They ask the Spirit to take all their training from their pre- and post-salvation “experience and education” to help them disciple the person.
  4. Prophecy – They speak forth in faith the “customized words” that they believe God wants the individual to hear.
  5. Patience – They prayerfully trust God for all outcomes from their watering and planting (1 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Four Counselor Characteristics

  1. Character – The foundational qualities to build your life
  2. Calling – The internal and external call
  3. Capacity – Everyone has a specific soul size
  4. Charisma – Persuasive, winsome, entreatable, etc.

All of our Mastermind students will not be able to be excellent counselors because God has not gifted them with the ability to be “high-end formalized counselors.” But they will be excellent disciplers, spouses, parents, small group leaders, and good friends.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. – John 17:17

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. – John 16:13

The Parrot and the Pneumatic

There is a difference between “parroting” information to a counselee vs. being pneumatic while counseling a person. The pneumatic discipler is not as fearful. They are “excellent and experienced” counselors who know how to bring customized soul care to unique individuals.

Here are three characteristics and differences between “parrot counselors” and a pneumatic ones.

Predetermined Counsel

  • The novice wants to prep as much beforehand so they can pre-determine what they want to say when they meet.
  • The experienced counselor knows how to trust God while meeting the counselee “at the moment” of need with customized care.

Mapped Learning

  • The novice “maps standard Christian concepts” over the counselee regardless of whether it perfectly fits the individual and their situation.
  • The experienced counselor has a symbiotic relationship with the Spirit, and believes that God will bring to the counselor’s remembrance the necessary things from their “education and experience.”


  • The novice counselor finds comfort in their self-reliance, i.e, standard “Christian advice.” They don’t want to go into a counseling situation unprepared.
  • The experienced counselor rests in the fact that God will use his entire life (pre- and post-salvation) as the “knowledge base” from which to bring the nuanced and customized soul care to the unique person, who is sitting in front of him.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:5-8

Two Ditches for Counselors

Ditch #1 – Fear – Uncertainty about how to disciple cannot be your starting point. The woman at the well said what she knew and then appealed to the crowd to meet Jesus for more detailed soul care.

So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. – John 4:28-30

There are two ditches that you want to avoid. In the one is paralyzing fear that keeps you from doing anything and in the other is not knowing your limitations, believing you are something that you are not.

Ditch #2 – Certification – This second ditch of not discerning your ability is a lack of sober self-assessment, which is one of the unintended consequences with certification. It can connote an ability that does not exist. This problem is one of the reasons our program does not certify.

We train Christians to be the best that God has called them to be, but we don’t want to suggest that every person who finishes our program is at the top-range of discipleship ability.

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