A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the fourth 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. In Part One, Pastor Kevin Carson described how preaching helps counseling. In Part Two, Pastor Steve Viars explained how counseling helps preaching. In Part Three, Pastor Kevin Hurt pictures the beautiful synergy that occurs when these two Word-based ministries are united. Now in Part Four, Pastor Nicolas Ellen outlines four ways of connecting these two Word-based ministries.
Connecting the Pulpit and Personal Ministry of the Word
God has given me the privilege and the gift to proclaim His Word through the pulpit and through the personal counseling ministry. I have been walking in this privilege and gift for about 18 years now. From personal experience and the wise counsel of God-honoring pastors, I have developed a way to connect the pulpit ministry to my personal counseling ministry. Let me suggest to you four things I do to make the connection.
#1: I identify the central themes explored in counseling that are applicable to all in the local assembly.
As I work with various individuals within the personal counseling ministry, I study certain sin and/or suffering trends. For instance, if I see a consistent large number of members working through the issue of anger, I will develop a series of sermons dealing with anger. Or, if there is a consistent large number of members working through issues from the past, I will develop a series of sermons on how to deal with the past.
#2: I focus on issues that are inclusive of all in the church and not exclusive to some in the church.
When evaluating various topics from the counseling arena, I choose topics that are applicable to all, not just some. I do not focus on marriage issues which then excludes all the single people. Nor do I focus on singles’ issues which then excludes all the married people. In order to address those particular issues, I put those people groups together according to their affinity and address their issues accordingly within a small group. Therefore, when it comes to preaching to the congregation overall, I deal with issues such as temptation, trials, idols, lust, spiritual warfare, disappointment, etc. These are matters that all can relate to within the context of their lives regardless of their affinity.
#3: I am systematic in my exposition and organization of the topics.
As I glean the various topics that all can relate to from the counseling arena, I research the Bible for all areas where the subject may be found. I also study topical and theological books on the subject. Then I identify the central passages that highlight the central themes on the subject. I study those passages according to proper Bible study methods. This leads to learning and listing the central themes illumined from the passages studied. As I discover the central themes deriving from the text, I place those passages and themes into an outline for presentation to the congregation.
#4: I present the topics to the congregation according to the central themes.
I present the central themes of the topic to the congregation. For instance, if I believe the topic has 14 foundational principles that are key for the congregation to learn, I may do one principle a week for fourteen weeks or two principles a week for 7 weeks. I do exposition on those passages that unfold the central themes each week accordingly. My goal is to make sure each principle builds on the next principle with application assignments tied to each.
As I present the topics accordingly from Scripture, I make sure that there are no illustrations or anecdotes that can be traced back to individuals who have been counseled by me or others in the counseling ministry. I deal with the principles without discussing or hinting to the persons who may have had the issues. This protects the privacy of the counselees while addressing the issues that all can relate to. There are times when people want to provide testimonies as to the how the principles where helpful as they applied them to their situation, and I allow it when I believe it will be helpful to the congregation.
For an example of this, go to my website at www.mycounselingcorner.com. This will bring up Expository Counseling Center. Click on media and then audio sermons. From there you can choose various topical sermon series I have done over the years to get an example of how I do this.
Join the Conversation
How could you apply these four principles within the context of your ministry?