Today’s guest blogger is Ellen
Castillo of Word of Hope Ministries. Ellen has written and published a
Level One Biblical Mentor training course called “Life On Life, Applying the
One-Anothers of Scripture.” Ellen
will be speaking at our biblical counseling conference in March, 2014.
When some people hear the title
“Biblical Counseling”, they conjure up all kinds of stereotypes and
cases against it. In the past, many have experienced it as harsh, “beating
a person over the head with a Bible”, even legalistic and incomplete.
 
If that’s you, please consider
revisiting the ministry of Biblical Counseling as a means of grace to believers
and the local church. 
It’s a new era in Biblical
Counseling, with new leaders and authors and teachers and mentors, and I am so
honored to consider these people my colleagues. Why? Because of the
Gospel-rich, grace-filled, loving and competent counseling that exists under
the title “Biblical Counseling” in this generation.

I once was one of those people who disregarded Biblical Counseling as
a solid means to caring for hurting people. That is a part of my testimony for
another post, but I was proven wrong. Don’t discount Biblical Counseling based
on stereotypes. Instead, embrace it because we (and I hope you) believe that
God’s Word is truly sufficient and that God equips His people to minister hope
to one another.

2 Timothy 3:16-17: 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and
profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in
righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for
every good work.

I am so encouraged to see more and more churches realize that the local church
should be a place of deep healing. Think about this – when someone new comes to
our church, we welcome them and get them connected to the ministries available.
We may even befriend them, invite them to our homes, and determine to engage in
deeper relationship with them.

But then they reveal something we aren’t prepared to hear. Maybe they tell us
they are having depressive symptoms and have been thinking of suicide. Maybe
they divulge frequent use of pornography. Maybe they tell us that they are
thinking about getting a divorce. Maybe they confess that their teenage son
just told them he is a homosexual. The list could go on and on. What do we say
to someone at this point? Too often, it sounds like this:

“We are glad you are at our church. We are glad you have joined our small
group. We welcome you in to our home. We want to be your friend. But that
serious problem you have – that thing you confessed to us – we can’t help you
with that. You need to go somewhere outside the church so that a professional
can help you because we do not have the means to help with those kinds of
things.

OUCH, hm??!

It sounds ridiculous when put this way, but this happens every single week at
local churches everywhere. When it comes to the deep struggles of life, we say
that we can’t help. Essentially, we are saying that GOD can’t help. We are
saying that His Word is not sufficient. Is this what we really believe? If we
believed His Word to be sufficient, wouldn’t we offer to help this person
instead of telling them to go elsewhere?

We have many excuses for not helping those who are hurting. We are afraid of
transparency. We are afraid we won’t say the right things. We are afraid that
our own sin will be exposed. We don’t feel equipped to share what God’s Word
says. We are afraid that we would be responsible for another’s wellbeing. None
of these are valid reasons to send people outside the body of believers for
help.

If your local church hasn’t tapped in to a Biblical Counseling ministry, maybe
He is calling YOU to do something about it. Whether your church develops a
Biblical Counseling Ministry, or instead chooses to support and utilize a
nearby Parachurch Biblical Counseling Ministry, please consider how you might
be called to this kind of one-another ministry.

If you need help becoming equipped, please contact Word Of Hope Ministries and
we will be glad to offer you our Biblical Mentor Training or point you to training
with a Biblical Counseling training organization that we support. Our desire is
that you become equipped to help others by preparing you to share hope from
God’s Word.

1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being
prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope
that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”

This calling to help others as the body of Christ begins with erasing the
stereotypes and giving God’s Word a chance. It heals. It is HOPE. It is
sufficient.

About Ellen: She is a Certified
Biblical Counselor by the International Association of Biblical Counselors. She
has worked as a Women’s Counselor in the context of her local church ministry,
and most recently as the Founder and Director of Word Of Hope Ministries. The purpose
of her ministry is to train and equip women to do one-on-one mentoring within
their own local church family in the spirit of Titus 2:3-5. 

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