Mark Shaw

Are You Discipling Your Replacement, Part 2

August 10, 2011

Mark Shaw

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Mark Shaw

Are You Discipling Your Replacement Part Two

Note: You are reading Part 2 of a two-part blog mini-series. To learn the biblical foundation for team ministry read Part 1.

Biblical counseling is totally dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with God’s Word in the heart of the counselee to bring transformation. Having experienced both single counseling and team counseling over the years, I have witnessed how team counseling de-emphasizes the exaltation of the counselors and better points the counselee to the wisdom and power of Christ.

Two Are Better Than One

Now, when you look at this picture, who is counseling and who is being counseled: the one man or the couple?


Change your perspective and imagine that the two are a married couple counseling this single man. The couple is experiencing the great strength in numbers in the team approach to biblical counseling. (For more on co-counseling and how to implement it in your ministry and/or church, read my book, Strength in Numbers: The Team Approach to Biblical Counseling, Expanded Edition, Focus Publishing, 2010, available at

Those are not psychological degrees hanging on the wall, by the way, they are certifications by the leadership of the local church or other Christian ministries (like NANC, IABC, ABC, etc.). As Christians, we need to be leading the world and not following the world so why not have two biblical counselors working together providing strength in numbers for the glory of God? It may require a greater commitment of time and resources to provide two counselors, but the results will make God known to a lost and dying world when counselees see a sacrificial demonstration of love.

Back to the Basic Command

While those are the many benefits of team biblical counseling, the greater truth is that we are commanded to make disciples of Christ. So, back to the original question: if something were to happen to you, who are you discipling to take your place in ministry?

One simple way you can obey Christ’s command to make disciples is through team counseling. Not only are you helping hurting counselees in team counseling, but you are also making disciples by teaching your co-counseling partner what you have been taught in the Word of God as well as your counseling skills and techniques. It is a great method of counseling that will produce stronger followers of Christ who are more skilled as ministers of the Gospel. It is a replication ministry.

The Lord is not limited to one model of ministry as He can accomplish His will in a variety of ways. However, we have found the team approach to biblical counseling to be not only supported by Scripture but powerfully effective for maximum growth in the body of Christ. Not only will counselees grow from a team approach to ministry, but the pair of biblical counselors who works together grows too! It’s a win-win scenario that glorifies God.

Personal Testimony and Encouragement

In our ministry in the past three years, we have had the privilege of serving the Lord primarily in a team biblical counseling model. During one calendar year, I had over 50 biblical counselors sit in to observe and participate with me in sessions. I do not allow my partner to remain quiet but invite my co-counselor to teach the Word of God, share insights and personal testimonies, and to pray.

That is one of the primary ways that new counselors learn: by doing biblical counseling in a safe, supervised setting. It is like a college chemistry course with classroom instruction and a lab where you practice what you are reading and hearing from the lecture. The hands-on experience or “on the job training” is one of the best ways to truly grow, and biblical counseling is no different.

Let me encourage you to recruit someone to sit-in with you and learn while you operate in your gifts whether you are a biblical counselor, pastoral counselor, or any type of minister (i.e. a pastor visiting the sick in the hospital). Take a disciple with you and never do ministry alone! In so doing, you will not only be insuring that the ministry entrusted to you will continue when you are gone, but you will be obeying the command of Christ (Matt. 28:18-20).

Join the Conversation

How could team ministry impact the disciple-making process?