Policies for Counseling?

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We have a church/diaconate hoping to help cover the cost of counseling for those who request it and want to formalize the process for consistency and fairness. Got any suggestions for them? Or do you have a policy you could share?

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I would suggest using financial support in a much different way that will be theologically/philosophically different BUT will also be more long-term, sustainable and bear great fruit for the Kingdom. Let me explain:

Our church provides free counseling to members first and then if there is room in the schedule, we also offer free counseling to anyone. Now with that said, we DO have a full-time staff member who is a certified Biblical Counselor, but part of his job is also to train lay counselors within the church who will go on to help counsel others. Lord willing, the number of those being trained will continue to grow. The need and demand are great! One thing we also realize is that "everyone" needs counseling and its with this understanding that we hope to remove the stigma that only "those" certain people need counseling. Truth is, we all go through things in life that need to be addressed biblically. Not only this, but Scripture seems to indicate that ANY spiritually mature Christian should be competent to counsel. Perhaps not what we normally think of in a formal setting (which is what we normally think of and what we do have in place at our church with set times and meeting places) but rather in everyday informal ways. How do we counsel others? The truth is, we give people counsel and advice all the time, but much of it is rarely biblical, and can unfortunately fall into the category of the "wisdom of the world." What if we not only saw counseling as a need for everyone, BUT also viewed every believer as being trained to "admonish one another!" It is for this reason (trusting the sufficiency of God's Word for everything pertaining to a life of godliness) that we grieve the almost assumed, acceptable practice of out-sourcing counseling to the "professionals."  I realize this may be far more (or different) than what you were asking for, but this is how I would encourage your whole church. I see that you are in Canada and so I'm not sure if it is the same (I'll look for you) but there very well may be a Biblical Counseling Training Center near you where both staff and members could attend and be trained. I would highly recommend budgeting money to that end... and the fruit you will see will be great. Its so much more! In addition to counseling, it's an easy way to evangelize and disciple others.  I realize that not every church is in the position to hire a full-time staff member to focus on this... however, this does not have to be the case. If there are already funds under consideration to be designated for such a purpose, then I think training up leaders within is a much better solution. Now once that is in place and more and more are being trained to counsel, you of course will have to come up with different "policies" in regards to implementation and availability. And the problems you have will be different, but very GOOD problems. Trust me, word of mouth does wonders when lives are being transformed by the power of the Gospel and when the Holy Spirit speaks through the Word.

It does look like Biblical Counseling is on the ground in Canada, you can check out this link: https://biblicalcounselingcanada.ca/

Here is one article that may be more informative concerning counseling in Canada: https://ca.thegospelcoalition.org/article/should-canadians-churches-adop...

I hope these resources help you, but more importantly the whole body of Christ.

Blessings

Community Builder

Thank you for this thoughtful response! We'll be sure to share it with the church requesting help.