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.
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.
Word Of Hope Ministries provides Biblical Counseling and Mentoring, Coaching, Consulting and Mentor Training. We are a Biblical Counseling and discipleship ministry. We believe that the Bible speaks to whatever problem anyone may have. We do not offer licensed or medical care, but it is instead a form of pastoral care, or soulcare, which is a form of deep discipleship. We disciple our clients through their struggles and we disciple trainees to help others to work through their struggles. We do this by offering Biblical Counseling as well as Biblical Mentor Training.
I believe that Biblical Counselors are uniquely positioned to address the health of intergenerational relationships within the body of Christ. As I realized that The Lord was leading me to become passionate about mentoring and counseling the younger generations, I started to look for a training program that I could refer women to - something less intense than a counselor training program, but deeper than the women’s mentoring books on the market which seemed to be lacking the Biblical principles that are crucial for deep discipleship and helping women with their hurts, struggles, and strongholds. I could not find such a mentor training. So – God led me to shift my ministry from only counseling to counseling, writing training materials, and equipping.
As a Biblical Counselor, I work with women and girls of all ages. As I counsel, and during the years I was a Women’s Ministry Director, I started noticing something that bothered me and I couldn’t shake it.
I noticed that as I served females, the older women were struggling to fulfill their calling to teach the younger women. I can’t back that up with statistics, but I can back that up with experience and by observation. The older women say that they feel as if they have little to offer, or that they do not feel equipped to mentor. It often boils down to insecurity.
And the younger women are struggling to be mentored by older women. They cite various reasons for the struggle, but the most common thing I hear is that they aren’t sure how to reach out to the older women. They feel awkward approaching them, and they worry that the older women won’t receive them for one reason or another. It often boils down to insecurity.
Mentoring IS a calling, for both women and men. At this point, Word Of Hope Ministries serves women and girls, but we have a vision and goal for having the same kind of counseling and mentor training by men and for men, too. Because I deal primarily in girl-world right now, I am targeting this towards women. But men, you are called to similar and you also may have women in your lives that need to be encouraged towards intergenerational relationships that will benefit the sanctification process.
Insecurity is the common underlying reason that this kind of mentoring isn’t happening. So as I have pondered this, and as I have continued to counsel and equip women, I am convinced that us women, both older and younger need to get past our insecurity and start to fulfill this calling. The way that we do that is to become equipped.
This equipping is part of the purpose of the Biblical Mentor Training at Word Of Hope Ministries. The heartbeat of this ministry is the concept of caring for one-another through intergenerational relationships.
Titus 2:3-5 ~ "3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
So I wonder – where lies the responsibility for the struggle for women to fulfill their Titus 2 calling? Is it on the older women for not availing themselves to the younger, or on the younger for not seeking out the older? I think that it’s a little of both.
Who am I referring to when I say “older women”? I am referring to YOU. I am also referring to those who are older than you either chronologically (or possibly also in spiritual maturity in some circumstances). When I refer to “younger women” I am also referring to YOU. I am also referring to those who are younger than you either chronologically (or possibly also in spiritual maturity in some circumstances). We are ALL both the “older woman” and the “younger woman”.
This observation about relationships between the generations among women in the body of Christ in our current culture has evolved in to a full blown ministry for me. When I certified as a Biblical Counselor, I had no intention of doing anything but counsel. God has grown me up as a Counselor, expanded my burden and my vision to the possibilities of fulfilling a need for the older and younger women in the Spirit of Titus 2:3-5.
Thus the term “Biblical Mentor”. In my training program at www.biblicalmentor.com, women are trained and equipped to teach (mentor) others in a manner that is deeper than what so many other mentoring programs for women offer. Biblical Mentoring is a blend of mentoring with some basic Biblical Counseling tools to use in mentoring others. In this way, we are different from other training programs that I have come across.
The term “mentor” comes with some baggage. It is a catch-phrase in our current culture. It insinuates that someone must be confident, secure, and see themselves as having achieved something higher than what their mentee has achieved. When I coined the term “Biblical Mentor”, I wanted to begin to present a more Biblical model for mentoring. Biblical Mentoring is not about the mentor or any self-confidence, security, or achievements they have obtained. Instead, it is about Jesus Christ and what He has done in the hearts and lives of His servants.
Becoming equipped to mentor is Biblical (call it “discipleship” instead for a more familiar term.) In fact, all believers are called to this. Consider it a form of “one-another ministry” ~ a ministry done life on life, believer to believer, a more mature Christian (the mentor) walking alongside someone who can learn from them and grow in their own faith. Ideally, that person (the mentee) will then mentor (disciple) another. Ministry should multiply!
Our first level Biblical Mentor Training is a 13 session course. There is a workbook for homework, and a live teaching for each corresponding lesson. These live teachings are also available in an online format for those who wish to take the course on their own, which is great for those who do not live local to the ministry. The videos are also useful for those who may be absent for a session and do not want to fall behind.
We cover quite a bit of ground in the course. Each week is divided in to 4 sections:
*A “life on life” section, focusing on a specific topic related to mentoring.
*A “Word of hope” section, which presents a struggle common to women and how to apply Biblical Truth to that problem. Lay-counseling tools are taught.
*Examples of Biblical Mentors in Scripture, unpacked.
*A one-another verse, unpacked.
Our second level Biblical Mentor Training is an individualized curriculum that offers deeper study of Biblical Counseling and Mentoring, self-paced, as the trainee enters in to a mentorship with us for the duration of her training.
I challenge each of you to consider how you are doing as a Titus 2 woman. In your sphere of influence, are you sharing the Gospel not only for salvation, but also for sanctification by walking alongside someone as a mentor? If not, why not? If so, do you feel that you would benefit from learning more about the deeper issues common to women and how to apply the Gospel and think Biblically about those issues? Biblical Mentoring is a great opportunity for you to become further equipped.
Come back to this blog often ~ you will find more Titus 2 challenges and further equipping on a variety of topics here ongoing. You can learn more about Word Of Hope Biblical Mentoring at our website, www.biblicalmentor.com. Don’t hesitate to contact Word Of Hope Ministries if we can serve you in any way!
Ellen Castillo, Biblical Counselor and Mentor Trainer