How can the counseling demands of the 1980s be met by the local church? Five leaders share their observations.
Fifty years ago people didn't usually seek a pastor for counsel until a personal crisis had reached an intolerable level: bereavement, divorce, run-away child, or bankruptcy. Everyday personal or family problems, vocational questions, anxieties, and the like were usually considered outside the pastor's sphere. Today, it seems nothing is outside that sphere. Emotional problems once suffered in private are now laid at the church's doorstep with a request for understanding and healing.
In many ways, this increased breadth of the pastoral care task can be traced to a revitalized understanding of the church fellowship. A New Testament church of today deals not just with spiritual questions, but with whole persons, and so the church is overwhelmed with its own success.
Knowing that the increased workload is rooted in positive growth doesn't make it any less a workload or trauma for harried ...1