This article is designed for use in selecting and training church members to help anyone in the process of spiritual change. When a preacher delivers God’s message, he should call for a response by giving an invitation to people in the congregation to come for prayer and counselling. When people come, trained counsellors should be prepared to hear them and guide them. In many cases, those responding to the invitation have not fully decided, or may not know, what to do next. They need help immediately, while the Holy Spirit has their attention.

This text should be equally helpful in preparing Christian workers to counsel souls anywhere they meet them, whether in an evangelistic crusade or in a social contact. Wherever the Holy Spirit leads a Christian to people who are open to a relationship with God, these same techniques will work.

The work of spiritual counselling deserves every Christian’s best effort, for the most important work a Christian can do for God is to help souls find that narrow way which leads to Life Eternal.

Salvation costs God a premium price. To save condemned souls, his Son was crucified. Every Christian should be willing to pay a price also for the salvation of the lost and adopt the attitude of Paul as reflected in I Corinthians9:19-23, “… I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more…”

With the experience of saving grace comes the call to every Christian to be a witness of Christ, the only way of salvation. As much as a doctor needs training for his life-saving task, so the counsellor of souls should be trained to help interpret God’s message to all kinds of people and guide them in their responses. We hope this text will provide essential training for Christian Counsellors.

The purpose of this book is two-fold: first, it will equip individual Christians to be effective. witnesses who will give the necessary time for counselling the inquirer when he responds to the preacher’s invitation; and secondly, that it will aid the counsellor in following up and disciplining those making decisions of all kinds.

Unless stated otherwise, all scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. In most instances, the inquirer is the term used for the person. being counselled, whether that person is still seeking salvation or has already passed from death to life in Christ.

Selection of Counsellors

It happens too frequently when a sudden need arises, that any nearby Christian is enlisted for spiritual counselling, without any consideration of his capabilities. One may as well employ a man with no building experience to construct a house. Counsellors should be very carefully selected, trained, and equipped for this spiritual task.

When Jesus chose his twelve disciples, he did not call for volunteers but prayerfully selected them. So should a pastor follow Jesus’ example and lead prayerfully and carefully choosing those with certain qualities to be spiritual counsellors? Consider the following prerequisites in selecting counsellors:

  1. Above all, a Counsellor must know Jesus Christ in his heart. He must be experientially aware of having passed from a state of sin to a state of forgiveness. He should be able to relate when and how this experience took place and that he be able to justify his faith by the scriptures. (II Timothy 1:12).
  2. The redeemed life of a Counsellor must match his testimony and demonstrate that he knows Christ. God’s command to his priests of old is appropriate here, for they were told to consecrate themselves for a special task. Romans 12:1,2 should be the standard for all counsellors.
  3. A Counsellor must know the Holy Spirit, not just as a source of power and guidance, but at THE source of spiritual power. He must not depend on his wisdom and knowledge, but be willing for the Spirit to speak through him.
  4. The daily habit of prayer is essential for a Counsellor to “abide in Christ” (John 15:5). Prayer is the artillery that softens the enemy stronghold before the battle, for Satan does not easily give up his disciples.
  5. Those who become spiritual Counsellors must be students of God’s Word. They should love the Bible and take it as their spiritual food, using it as a book of instruction and a source of wisdom. In our spiritual warfare, the Word is a ‘double-edged sword”’ with which the Counsellor may drive the enemy from hearts. This needs daily private study as well as participation in Sunday School and other church-sponsored Bible studies.
  6. Normally, only faithful members of a church should serve as Counsellors. They should be well-informed about the doctrines and policies of the church. It has been suggested that a church may need six counsellors for every 100 people a chúrch averages in Sunday morning attendance. For an area crusade, we recommend six to eight counsellors for every 100 expected to attend. A Director of Counsellors or Chairman of a Counselling Committee should co-ordinate the ministry and participate in the selection of new counsellors.

Training of Counsellors

We suggest a formal counsellor training course of four reasons to study this Guidebook and the counselling materials. (See counselling materials listed in Chapter III.). Along with this, the trainees should be required to memorize at least ten Scripture verses to be used in counselling. Each counsellor should also be guided in writing a brief testimony of his own salvation experience using the following outline:

  • My life before Christ came in;
  • How I heard God speaking to me;
  • How Christ came into my heart;
  • What does being a Christian mean to me?

There should be a continual effort to improve the counselling ministry. The leaders of counsellor training need to anticipate every question that may arise in the counselling room and prepare the counsellors to have the answers at hand. An alert, a growing disciple of Christ collects many of these answers in his pilgrimage. Being active in his church enables him to answer most questions about his church. Victories over Satan in his private life enable him to tell how it can be done.

Personal witnessing experiences prepare the counsellor for any of the strange views held by unregenerate or spiritually immature people. A well-planned presentation of the Gospel may make the difference between Life and Death for seekers. A concern for the souls of people is a characteristic of a good counsellor and should move him to train seriously for witnessing.

Realizing the gravity of their responsibility, counsellors should further prepare for each witnessing/counselling opportunity by:

  • Studying and revising this book and other materials on counselling;
  • Continually reviewing the Scripture verses and memorizing more verses as time permits;
  • Praying for God’s view and Christ’s compassion for souls;
  • Asking for the Holy Spirit to speak through them;
  • And interceding for souls in the darkness of unbelief.

Equipping Counsellors

All counsellors should know in advance where the counselling is to be done so that they can plan their action. If possible, it should be away from the centre of after-service activities. A nearby Sunday School classroom could be utilized if the service is in a church building. For outside crusades, an area behind and away from the platform is needed. Inquirers should be seated with their backs to the crowd.

Privacy and quiet are conducive to good counselling. The Director of Counselling should always be sure that the counselling area is ready and that materials are on hand. There should never be a time when those making decisions have to wait while counsellors find materials. Each Counsellor should have his own Bible, but extra Bibles may be kept on hand as well as extra biros, decision cards and tracts.

We recommend that several counsellor’s packets be provided for each session, containing materials for likely counselling encounters. The following are suggested counselling materials:

  • Decision Record Cards (See sample below.)
  • A Witnessing Tract such as “The Only Way to God”’ or “Four Spiritual Laws”.
  • An Assurance Tract
  • “Welcome to God’s Family”’ (This explains the spiritual new birth and contains a new birth| certificate.)
  • “Christ Indwelling Your Life” (A set of six Bible lessons- give the first lesson and arrange to meet weekly to give the others one by one.)
  • A brochure telling about the church – her doctrines, programmes, policies, finances, fellowship -and what the church expects of her members. Show relationship with the association, conference, convention, and international bodies.
  • A copy of the “Church Covenant”.

Decision Record Card

Name

Birth Date

Postal Address

Residential Location

Phone Numbers: Home

Office

I come to make the following decision (Check one)

To make public my faith in Jesus Christ as my personal

Saviour and Lord.

To transfer my membership to this church from:

(Name and address of church)

To rededicate my life to Christ in repentance/obedience.

To receive Believer’s Baptism by immersion.

To accept the call of God into the ministry of:

Other:

Follow-up appointment:

Date: ____________________

Time: ____________________

Place: _____________________

Person:______________________

Counsellor’s name (Print)

Date: ________________________

(OTHER NOTES ON BACK)