Pastoral Hub

IFGF Global


Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
(Proverbs 20:5 KJV)

Easily offended, prone to anxiety, quick to anger, suspicious, feeling unworthy, despondent, or, on the flip side, always feeling right, resistant to input, overly confident to the point of insensitivity—these are some signs of mental health disturbances that can disrupt a person’s productivity and relationships with others. Helping individuals with such issues is not easy because they often do not realize their condition. Or they may be aware but feel ashamed to admit it or reluctant to seek help.

Mental health issues are not limited to a person’s thoughts, emotions, and will but are more complex. Various elements constitute a person’s mental state (“current state” in counseling terms), including life seasons, personal pathways, upbringing, family background, personality, and gifts. When there are unfavorable elements in one’s life journey, it affects mental health, including thought patterns, attitudes, and responses. Generally, a person’s mental health is influenced by past experiences and does not develop overnight.

While we should not dwell on the past, consciously or unconsciously, our behavior is often influenced by it. For example, someone who is easily angered or quick to take offense did not develop these traits overnight; there is usually a history behind them. Efforts toward recovery should not only focus on addressing trigger factors but also require the ability to delve deeper into the underlying conditions.

In ministry, we often encounter congregations or married couples who face recurring issues despite frequent prayers, visits, or altar call responses. Others may perceive some congregations as “difficult people” who consistently cause problems within the community. Many chronic problems in the church require more serious and holistic interventions. Counseling, as one possible solution, is still an underexplored area in the church environment.

The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
(Luke 10:2 NKJV)

Counseling is the art or science of addressing mental health issues. As one of the common graces, similar to the medical field, it equips counselors with specific skills, especially to “operate” on the hidden problems beneath surface-level problematic behavior. Counseling is not merely about providing answers to problems but attempting to help counselees discover the root causes of their issues.

“If you give a person a solution, you can counsel them for a day. But if you teach a person to find a solution then you have counseled and equipped them for a lifetime.”

Isn’t the Lord Jesus our Great Counselor? Let us, as children of God, also emulate the actions of the Lord Jesus by serving as counselors.

I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
(Ezekiel 34:16 ESV)

I earnestly desire that every church begins to contemplate the benefits and realize the significance of “Church Counseling” in ministry. May the church continue to grow and become healthier, knowing that there are families that are thriving in every aspect.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may enjoy good health, as it goes well with your soul.
(3 John 1:2 ESV)

Source: Ps. Agus Prihardjo (Coordinator of Mental and Moral Health)

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