Counseling the Counselor

by Bob Gerow

"Ready or not," here they come!

The call to ministry can sometimes present unexpected challenges. The ministry of counseling God's people may be one such responsibility. Some of us received an introduction to the matter in seminary or Bible school, but many of God's servants have not. Either way, "real life" can still be a shocker. Our calling may be sure but our preparation for this part of the task may not be so clear.

Enter Counseling the Counselor. Don't be put off by the down-to-earth tone throughout the book. Down-to-earth is where your counselees are. "Real life" has just about swallowed some of them. You need to know where to begin and in which direction to head. Denny Whitesel points the way.

The way is UP!-God-ward, that is. The unassuming tone of the book is an acknowledgement that the counselor is primarily a steward. God Himself is the Counselor. The counselee is God's handiwork, so He knows what your distressed parishioner really needs. The human counselor is God's agent, and had better take his or her cues from God alone if there is to be any lasting difference.

The first five chapters set the stage by addressing theological and practical basics such as calling, conduct, confidentiality, and spiritual gifts. The remaining chapters address the kinds of issues you are likely to encounter and some more "basics." It helps to know you are not the first to face them and to get a word on how to approach each issue from someone who has been there. The closing pages provide a summary, and a list of notes and resources for further study.

If your ministry as a counselor needs some early pointers, Counseling the Counselor is a great place to start.

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