In a world full of stress and uncertainty, some pastors find that people from outside the congregation ask for counseling-premarital counseling, family counseling, vocational counseling, counseling for emotional problems.

Says Ken Schamens, pastor of Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Anderson, South Carolina, "It reached the point where I had to decide: How much time can I spend counseling nonmembers?

"My calling is to minister the Word and sacraments to the members, equipping them to become disciples," Schamens said. "But at the same time, I feel it is also part of my calling to be available to those who are in need, whether they belong to my church or not. It's a real conflict."

Is it part of a pastor's duty to provide counseling to anyone who asks?

Reasons pastors say no

Some pastors have concluded that at times saying no is best for the pastor, the church, and the person seeking counsel.

Rick Collins, pastor of Cornerstone Assembly of God in Anderson, South Carolina, said he learned this ...

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