Biblical counseling seeks to discover ways in which a Christian may be disobeying God’s commandments as taught by Jesus, and help the person to have faith and submit to the will of God. Conversely, evangelism is the act of publicly preaching the gospel with the intent to spread Jesus’ teachings. Various books identify the two disciplines as different, whereas the biblical understanding of the two reveals that the two are congruent (Lee, 2017). The most common similarities between the two are that they both glorify God’s name.
Despite the different definitions, counseling and evangelism is one thing with the same goal and should not be departmentalized. Some people believe counseling is meant for believers experiencing problems in their lives and who need hope, while evangelism is meant for nonbelievers. The separation of the two is invalid since the book of (Matthew 28: 19-20) indicates that God wants people to be called to him and be taught how to live according to God’s teachings. For instance, in their mission to spread the gospel, pastors encounter people who deserve counseling and are forced to intervene. On the contrary, counselors also quote the teachings of the gospel and elaborate them during counseling.
Evangelism and counseling is an opportunity for counselors to present the gospel to people with spiritual challenges and direct them to live according to the scriptures (Branch, 2017). It helps an individual to understand that Christ died for the sins of humanity so that human beings can come closer to God. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice with his blood so that people could be saved from sin. The book of Romans (3:23) indicates that sinners are rewarded with death, while believers are rewarded with eternal life. The scripture shows that all humans are sinners, including the counselor, but Jesus already paid for their sins, and thus, they should live according to Jesus’ teachings to achieve eternal life.
The reward for evangelism and counseling is to see nonbelievers convert to Christianity and obeying God’s commands. Evangelists are missionaries who focus on delivering God’s word to the lives of individuals. Jesus Christ commanded his disciples to go to all nations, spread the word of hope, and help those who listen to change their ways and follow God’s commandments (Goode, 2017). Missionaries continue with the work of Jesus as was ordered in the gospel. They spread the message with the hope that God might be glorified across all nations, which is the ultimate goal of all evangelical activities. In their work of winning people back to God’s kingdom, evangelists and counselors are required to establish a connection with the counselees first. Since not all people who seek counseling are ready to receive God, evangelists share the word of salvation, take them patiently through the process of coming closer to God, repentance, having faith in God’s promises, and help them initiate the process of sanctification. Counselors and evangelists experience significant challenges in their mission. Some of the challenges include:
People believe that counselors and evangelists are too coercive.
The rules of social behavior require that leaders earn the trust of whomever they are dealing with, by establishing some a connection and showing care towards them. Both believers and nonbelievers expect counselors and evangelists to invest some time in their relationship before preaching or teaching. While it might be easy when dealing with one person, it is challenging when trying to establish a connection with each person in a multitude (Gentry II & Min, 2017). Evangelists also sometimes preach rehearsed scripts explaining reasons why Christ died on the cross and announcing rewards for those who live according to the scriptures while proclaiming judgment to those who do not follow God’s commandments. In such situations, the congregation feels like they are being coerced to follow the rules. When people feel that they are being compelled to act on something, they are more likely to rebel against the idea, and that pushes them far from God.
Divisions in the church
Just like during the time of Paul, when divisions in the church were rampant, the situation is still experienced in churches today. Evangelists work in groups to assist each other. However, some circumstances occur, and teams fail to arrive at understanding and thus, creating rifts between them (Varghese, 2017). The division may extend to the congregation, where some people tend to side with a section of the leaders while the other group associates with the other section of the leaders. Such situations that have led to church divisions are the reason there exist many church denominations today since the divided people go and establish different churches.
Pastoral counselors are faced with numerous duties in their daily lives. Other than providing counseling services to the congregation, counselors also prepare services, conduct funerals, attend to the spiritual needs of the sick and even have to serve inmates who call upon God’s intervention. Even though the activities are demanding, counselors find it hard to say no to people requesting their help. Pastoral counselors become overwhelmed with their spiritual duties that they may neglect other responsibilities and consequently end up in family problems. The excess work may also cause burnout, thus, rendering the counselor inefficient.
Every problem facing the world came out of sin, and Christ died on the cross to wash away all the sins of humankind. To ensure that they follow God’s commandments, he ordered the disciples to spread the word to the world. Evangelists and counselors act on God’s commands to spread God’s word and glorify God’s name. Evangelism imposes God’s standards and values among Christians. They should work according to the scriptures while executing their duties and know that counseling only achieves its purpose when the counselee converts into a believer. Moreover, they should face challenges and temptations with faith and humility, knowing that they do God’s wish and God is always with them.
Branch, C. J. (2017).
Gentry II, T. J., & Min, D. (2017). Unleashing faith by bearing one another’s burdens: an exploration of the biblical rationale for and practice of Christians helping Christians through lay counseling ministries. a research and ministry journal of temple Baptist seminary of piedmont international university Winston-Salem, North Carolina SPRING 2017, 150.
Goode, W. W. (2017). Biblical counseling and the local church. Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically, 222-30.
Lee, Y. (2017). Two Way Discipleship Curriculum: Correlation of Discipleship with Pastoral Counseling for South Korean Churches. Liberty University. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2560&context=doctoral
Smith, L., Velez, B., Chambers, C., & Baranowski, K. (2019). Economic Disadvantage at the Intersections: Contemporary Stereotypes in the Headlines. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 47(3), 190-206.Varghese, V. (2017).
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