A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the first of a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series on Uniting the Pulpit Ministry of the Word (Preaching/Teaching) and the Personal Ministry of the Word (Biblical Counseling/One-Another Ministry). This series demonstrates that both preaching and biblical counseling are Word-based ministries. While helpful to pastor-teachers, this series is beneficial to everyone who counsels and to everyone who sits under the teaching/preaching of the Word and receives Word-based counsel from others in the Body of Christ. Today, in Part One, Pastor Kevin Carson describes how preaching helps counseling.
How Preaching Helps Counseling
Weekend corporate worship impacts every aspect of personal ministry throughout the week. On the typical weekend, people learn, questions are answered, relationships are built, and help is offered for living in the midst of a broken world.
Public teaching as part of corporate worship constructs the necessary parameters for private ministry in various capacities among the members of the body. Sunday morning messages set the agenda, provide the content, and cultivate the context for personal ministry throughout the rest of the week.
How does Sunday morning help you counsel on Monday?
Setting the Agenda for Personal Ministry of the Word
Weekend messages help set the agenda for personal ministry throughout the week. Weekly the congregation hears a compelling description of God’s purpose for life—to become more like Christ. The congregants become increasingly aware of God’s desires for them in the midst of various life pressures to grow and change.
Through this teaching, the pastor-teacher equips the believers to do the work of the ministry and to build up the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Building up the Body of Christ essentially relates to each individual’s challenge as part of the Body to grow in Christ. The process which describes this change is progressive sanctification. As the attenders learn this process, they begin to understand God’s agenda for them to change. By implication, they also learn of their responsibilities to help each other grow and change as they speak the truth to each other in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Providing the Content for Personal Ministry of the Word
Weekend messages provide the content for personal ministry throughout the week. The pastor-teacher through the pulpit ministry teaches congregants biblical truth which grows the congregation in the unity of the faith and knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). The teaching process provides the content necessary for the church to be able to speak the truth in love, which is their duty.
Key issues of content that help enhance personal ministry throughout the week include the following sampling of pertinent subject matters:
- Union in Christ: The relationship “in Christ” after salvation.
- Power of the Gospel: The ability in Christ to live consistent with what God desires.
- Love of Christ: The motivation for living life in a God-honoring way.
- Grace: The call and comfort of living in Christ.
- One-Another Commands: The instruction given to help believers live with each other in love.
- God’s Character and Conduct: The basis for trusting God’s promises and living by faith.
- Person and Work of Christ: The living Word of God we imitate in daily life and practice.
- Power and Presence of the Spirit: The believer’s comfort and source of strength.
- Sin and Suffering: The various pressures of life fit within one of these two categories.
- Put Off and Put On: The daily response to identifying areas of needed growth and actively pursuing living righteously in Christ.
These various areas of content help provide the necessary foundation from which personal ministry happens. As congregants understand the Bible, conversations flow from known theology. Individuals comprehend what matters most in the midst of pressured circumstances because they share a fundamental corpus of truth which provides for them key biblical ideas whereby they grow in discernment and insight.
Cultivating the Context for Personal Ministry of the Word
Weekend messages cultivate the context for personal ministry throughout the week. The environment of the church promotes an agenda of grace and restoration (Galatians 5:13-6:10; Titus 2:11-15). The entire milieu encourages real life change through personal conversations and lifestyle choices between brothers and sisters in Christ.
Vital to this conversational ministry is the development of authentic relationships among the membership. These relationships provide the atmosphere where truth can and will be spoken in love. There is a passion to see each other grow in Christlikeness together. Each member does his or her part because together they desire God’s best in each other’s lives (Ephesians 4:15-16).
The Pulpit Ministry of the Word Benefits the Personal Ministry of the Word
The pulpit ministry of the Word benefits the personal ministry of the Word. As each pastor prepares the weekend teaching, it is necessary to keep the end in mind. The goal of preparation is to clearly communicate the meaning of the text in an effort to provide the agenda, content, and context for personal ministry where people begin to live out the implications of the text together.
Join the Conversation
How is your church doing? Do your church members participate in each other’s lives in an effort to love and live the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do they speak the truth in love to each other as they live out the one-anothers of the Scriptures? Do they use God’s Word to help each other maneuver through life’s suffering and sin? Where do you see evidence of people restoring each other to usefulness in the body?
If you don’t see those things in your church, possibly you need to consider the style, quality, and passion of your weekend messages. In the process of assessment, consider the content of what you are preaching. Are you sharing the vision with your church of life together honoring God as part of each other’s life? Are you communicating a passion for the agenda of growth and change? Are you sharing the message with clear applications and implications for daily living?