Effort or Ability?


Recently, I heard a discussion between 2 of my mentors about biblical counseling. I think they missed the heart of the issue when discussing biblical counseling as a “special calling.”

Biblical counseling is NOT a special calling. Nowhere in the Bible is it found in there as a special calling. In fact, I would argue that all saints are called to the ministry of biblical counseling which is simply “one anothering” and “discipleship.” All are called to make disciples and to love one another by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:12-16).

The error today is that people think biblical counseling is a special calling which implies a special enabling, or ability. To these well-intended but errant brothers & sisters, some people have the ability to counsel while others do not.

But I disagree and here’s why.

I say it’s not a matter of ability but a matter of effort, time, and skill development. All saints can learn the skills necessary for counseling. They can attend training read the Bible and study to show themselves approved. All saints are equipped with the Holy Spirit so the “ability” is there but it takes time to develop the skills of listening, gaining involvement, building a rapport, discerning lies, and teaching truth. All of this CAN be learned by a Spirit-filled believer who puts forth the effort and time necessary to learn these things.

That’s why at TIL we pair people up with a more experienced partner in ministry. Following Jesus’ model in Luke 10:1, we pair a less skilled (less time doing counseling) counselor with a more skilled (more time spent in counseling thus more experience) counselor. In time, our hope is that the learning counselor will develop into a lead counselor and take on a new counselor.

So that’s the simplicity of our model and why we believe it’s an EFFORT (time) issue rather than an ABILITY issue since all believers have the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

-Mark (grateful that GOD is able and we are to learn from Him)

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