It is no longer news to say that counselling is a ministry in the church. This is because there are aspects that need guidance and counselling. That is why these days several churches employ professional counsellors to offer the members professional services. But in the church, other people can still be involved in counselling apart from the professional counsellors. This article will expose the churches to procedural processes in church counselling.

The Pastor/Preacher

At the time of the invitation, the pastor/preacher should receive those making decisions by shaking their hands, getting their names, and finding out the kind of response each one is making (to accept Christ as Saviour, rededicate life, move church membership etc.). A person responding to the invitation should not be ignored or left standing, but ought to be greeted by the pastor as soon as he comes to the front of the church.

Even where there are trained counsellors, the pastor is primarily responsible for dealing immediately with those who respond to the invitation before telling them that counsellors will talk and pray with them about their decisions. When the pastor has preached for change, and someone responds to the preaching, it is discourteous for that preacher to show unconcern for that person.

The Counsellors

The counsellors should be seated near the front of the church and begin to move out as soon as they see people coming forward in response to the invitation. After the pastor has received those making spiritual decisions, the counsellors should direct them to the counselling area. This could be done even before the service closes. If many respond to the invitation, the Director of Counsellors should divide them into small groups according to whether they come for salvation, rededication, or transfer of church membership. From the smaller groups, they should be assigned to individual counsellors who will assignments, women should counsel with women, and men with men.

Counselling Guidelines

The following counselling guidelines will aid each counsellor in the counselling process:

1. Remember the courtesy of concern by being mindful of the inquirer’s comfort, privacy and time.

2. Discover his spiritual condition. In many cases a person responding to the invitation has only begun the repentance-faith-commitment process; so do not assume a firm decision has already been made or that a person is either saved or lost. We cannot over-emphasize that a counsellor must take time to listen to diagnose the inquirer’s condition.

3. Determine the real decision being made by asking, “What decision are you making?”; or “What spiritual help do you need?”; or “’What do you feel God is saying to you?”. Ask him if he is willing to do whatever God wants him to do.

4. Do not begin preaching to the inquirer or arguing, but talk quietly and give him a chance to respond. Do not put words into his mouth, such as asking questions that require only yes or no answers. Listen well, for he may convince himself of what God wants him to do, as he talks to you.

5. The following two diagnostic questions will show whether the person is trusting Christ or good works for his salvation: where do you know for certain that if you died today you would to Heaven? (b) Imagine that you are standing before God right now. What would you say if he asked, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”

6. After you determine the inquirer’s need/condition, use appropriate Scripture to help him, but keep your presentation simple. (See some suggested presentations in this book.)

7. Briefly share your testimony with the inquirer if it applies to his condition.

8. Pray with the inquirer and lead him in making a firm decision. Say, “If you know what God wants you to do, will you tell me about it?” Ask him if he is ready to do it, then say, “Let us pray and tell God what you have decided.”

9. When a decision has been made and understood by the inquirer, help him fill| out a decision card. (Be sure the decision card is taken to the proper person after the counselling session is over. Do not take it home with you.)

10. Give the inquirer an appropriate tract or follow-up disciplining materials and urge him to be faithful in daily prayer and reading of the Bible.

11. If the decision has been made in a crusade, urge the inquirer to make it public in a church worship service, and to share his decision with his family and friends.

12. Make a follow-up appointment with the inquirer. Be sure you know how to find his house or agree on a· meeting point for further contact.

13. Seek to enlist the inquirer in (a) fellowship with the church, and (b) the church training and teaching programmes.

  1. Assure the inquirer of your continued prayer support and your availability if he comes to you.

Counsellor Follow-Up

Jesus gave us a Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) to teach converts to observe all his commandments. The Soul-Winner/Counsellor’s task is not finished until the new believer is committed to the spiritual disciplines which help him to mature and become fruitful.

Perhaps we fail often at follow-up evangelism because it is not clear who is responsible for the new converts. The Soul-Winner/Counsellor works hard and gives much of his time, so he may feel his responsibility has been discharged when the person accepts Christ.

What of a natural mother who suffers so much to give birth? Does she feel that her work is finished when the baby is born? Oh, that we might be mindful of newborn souls! They suffer Satan’s attacks without the “Whole Armour of God.” No wonder that so many fall away! Pastor, Counsellor, and Church plan how the spiritual babes can be helped and who is responsible.

Young babies, both physical and spiritual, need: (1) Love, (2) Protection, (3) Food and (4) Training. Eventually, they shall be able to feed and protect themselves.

The spiritual nurture and Follow-up procedure begins in the counselling room. The tract “Welcome to God’s Family’ could be used to explain that a Christian’s spiritual birth gives him a new relationship with God and with other Christians through the church. It helps us point out the need for Bible reading, prayer, and baptism. Be sure to find out where the convert lives or works and arrange for someone to meet him within the week to discuss these matters.

For a series of contacts, we suggest the six disciplines. lessons, “Christ Indwelling Your Life.’ If he is willing to do these lessons, give him the first lesson to be done at home. If he studies the lesson. On your visit within the week, you may with this series of lessons until he completes the six lessons with six visits from you.

Enquirers Handbook is another step in disciple-making and is the normal preparation for baptism in most churches. Each new member should have his book, and consideration should be given to some highly educated people who could be taught tutorially at a faster pace rather than attend class with others.

All along, the new member should be in Sunday School and Church Training. Urge him to attend regularly and on time, studying his lessons at home.

The next discipline course is a book of daily Bible studies called Follow the Master which lasts eleven weeks. Each disciple works through the lessons by himself, but this should be supplemented by a weekly seminar to discuss each lesson and rehearse the memorized Scripture verses. Serve the Master, another book of Bible studies lasting eleven weeks; is designed for study after completion of Follow the Master.

Master Life discipleship training is a high-level programme for training potential church leaders. It is internationally controlled and can only be taught by a Certified Master Life Leader. By this stage, the disciple becomes mature enough to reproduce his disciples.

Disciple-making takes much time and seems at first to be a low process. However, as each mature disciple becomes reproductive, we are soon multiplying Christians at a more rapid rate than by mass evangelism. Research has proven this to be the quickest way to win the world to Christ. Furthermore, we have come to realize that this was exactly what Christ intended for the church to do.

To summarize “Counsellor Follow-up,” spiritual parents must feel and act responsibly toward their children, remembering that newborns may not survive without special care. It is God’s will that every Christian should grow strong so that he can stand alone and find his spiritual food. A physical dwarf is no more pitiable than a spiritual dwarf, of which we have too many.

If your children never grow up, are you pleased?

If your children never have children, are you satisfied?

Neglected children tend to become delinquent!

Follow up and disciple your spiritual children