BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part 5 of a multi-part BCC Grace & Truth blog series on Biblical Counseling in the Local Church. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. We asked a number of experienced biblical counselors who provide biblical counseling leadership and equipping in local churches to write on “a topic you consider important to local church biblical counseling.” We’re confident that their varied perspectives and topics will add greatly to your insight into biblical counseling in the local church.
I (Deepak Reju) am a pastor, and my fundamental calling in life is to work as an elder and teacher in my local congregation. I teach; I lead; and I shepherd the sheep.
But, I am also a counselor. I’ve studied counseling. I’ve been affirmed for my gifts as a counselor. And, as you might expect, I do lot and lots of counseling in my role as a pastor. Yet, I’m different than most pastors. I love counseling. I really like helping people who have difficult problems, and I like sorting through other people’s messed up lives.
You might think I’ve got a split identity. Is he really a pastor, a counselor, or maybe both? You might say that I’m a part of a new breed of pastors who are uniquely called out to work on staff and to focus much of my energy on counseling.
A Growing “Trend”
Have you noticed that a lot of churches have taken to hiring a pastor of biblical counseling?
- Reformed University Church (Kevin DeYoung) hired Pat Quinn.
- Village Church (Matt Chandler) hired Lee Lewis and Michael Snetzer.
- Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper) hired Jack Delk.
- Harvest Bible Church (James MacDonald) hired Garrett Higbee.
- Parkside Church (Alister Begg) hired Jonathan Holmes.
- Highpointe Baptist Church (Juan Sanchez) hired Josh Hayward.
- Mars Hill (Mark Driscoll) hired Mike Wilkerson and James Noriega.
- Clifton Baptist Church (Tom Schreiner) hired Jeremy Pierre.
- Sojourn Community Church (Daniel Montgomery) hired Robert Cheong.
- Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Mark Dever) hired me—Deepak Reju.
And the list could go on and on.
Why Hire a Pastor of Counseling and Equipping?
After an associate pastor, a church secretary, or a youth minister, the typical hire for a church staff is typically not a pastoral counselor. But many senior pastors who are committed to the Word have seen the value of hiring someone on staff who will pour into the discipling and counseling ministries of the church. Why? Why not just stick with a more “traditional” hire?
Pastors obviously like having someone on staff who can handle the really hard stuff—the suicides, eating disorders, the bad marriages, and many other seemingly hopeless situations. But more than just “doing” counseling, pastoral counselors also equip the church to learn how to counsel one another with the Word. They help build a culture of counseling and discipling in their church.
So, what say you, senior pastor? Might you consider hiring a pastoral counselor in your church today?
Join the Conversation
What priority would you give in the hiring process to a pastor of counseling and equipping?