1. What is the counseling ministry?
The Center for Biblical Counseling (CBC) is a ministry of the Word. We believe the majority of counseling needs people face today are spiritual in nature and that the Scripture is sufficient and applicable to address them. We offer counseling for people in need and training in counseling for those who want to sharpen their knowledge and skills in helping others. Many who participate in one or both of these counseling ministries find they are blessed with a greater recognition of God’s grace and power in their life and an increasing appreciation for the wisdom and applicability of His Word.
2. What is Biblical counseling?
In the past, the term counseling has taken on a purely secular meaning, but at CBC we strive to use it in its biblical context. The Bible tells us that God is the Mighty Counselor (Is. 9:6). Jesus regularly met with people who were having a difficult time living with God and others. And Jesus regularly helped people solve their problems in living. He fed people, he healed people, he transformed people and he did it by being with them and getting into their lives and by letting them get into his.
Jesus rose from the dead and is doing the same ministry with people he has always done. He is still feeding people. He is still healing people. He is still changing people by getting into their lives and them into his. People have always brought people to Jesus for healing and help. At CBC we are simply continuing the process of bringing others to Jesus so that he can transform them and change them into his likeness.
At CBC, we are not doing magic. We are not using psychological gimmickry. We are simply helping people come to Jesus for healing. He said, “come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). We are simply showing people how to come to Christ for load swapping.
We understand that the Bible was written as a help for “life and godliness” (1 Pet. 1:3) and that it is “profitable for teaching… and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16), and we believe that this is true. Consequently, we translate everything people tell us into biblical terms and then help them hear the voice of God concerning their current dilemma.
But information does not transform lives. God transforms lives, so we give a lot of homework. The homework always directs people to meet with God for healing and transformation. As people visit with God, entreating him to change them, and obeying what he has for them, he works in them to make them more like Jesus. As they become more like Jesus their problems drop away and they become “mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28).
3. You don’t teach?
We do teach. But we are very careful to help people know that God works through the teaching as people walk with him in obedience and joy. The information is not what transforms people. Information alone can only frustrate people or puff them up. The Gospel frees people and that’s what we want to help people realize; freedom — in Christ. This is because freedom only comes through a right, solid, and maturing relationship with Jesus.
So, we do teach, but our teaching has as its primary goal to point people to living with God in Christ, in a transformative and regenerating way.
4. What does it cost?
CBC is a ministry of Christ Church of Moscow Idaho. As a ministry we do not charge for our counseling.
However, we do give away a tremendous amount of literature to those we counsel as a help in bringing them closer to Christ. If you are interested in becoming involved in the ministry of CBC through financial means, please feel free to contribute.
5. Who is in charge of the counseling ministry?
CBC has a board of directors which is overseen by the session of elders of Christ Church, Moscow. Pastor Mike Lawyer is an associate minister with Christ Church and he is the executive director of CBC. Dr. Lawyer pastored for twenty years before coming to Christ Church. He has been with us for thirteen years. He has received a Bachelor of arts in Philosophy from the University of Idaho, a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry in Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Mike also certified by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).
6. Does anyone else counsel?
Yes. There are others who counsel to a lesser degree and still others who are being trained. It is our hope that the number of people trained in counseling will increase. In reality everyone counsels every day. Each time we give advice, make a suggestion as to how someone might respond to a situation, correct our children, or give comfort we are counseling; always working to point people to being like Jesus. Our desire is to help people grow in their ability to do this.
7. Where is the counseling done?
Most of the counseling is done at the Anselm House, which house the offices of Christ Church and CBC.
8. How long do the sessions last?
The first session usually lasts a little over an hour. Subsequent sessions run slightly less than an hour.
9. How many sessions does counseling usually last?
The number of sessions depends on the nature and severity of the problem, the response of the counselee, and the number of problems that need to be addressed.
10. Must you be a member of the church to receive counseling?
No you do not have to be a member of Christ Church to receive counsel.
11. What type of problems do you counsel?
We counsel a wide variety of problems such as marital conflict, depression, panic attacks, anger, parenting issues, anxiety, drug and sexual enslavement, various types of sexual problems and more.
12. What is your view on psychiatric medication?
Medication can be helpful in certain situations by allowing a counselee to recover enough clarity of thought to enable him to interact and respond to counsel sufficiently in order to facilitate change. Medication, though, does not address the root of non-organic (spiritual) problems. It is important therefore to address such problems spiritually from the Word of God. Biblical counselors, unless properly licensed, do not prescribe or take counselees off of psychiatric medication. We do seek to work with medical doctors when addressing questions regarding such matters.
13. Is the counseling kept confidential?
The Bible clearly says that gossip is sin. Therefore, those who counsel as a part of CBC’s counseling ministry will not release information about particular counselees except in the few situations required by the Bible and then only to those who need to know. Those situations are: (1) when someone is being or in danger of being harmed, this includes the counselee; (2) when necessary to prevent a crime from occurring or to report the occurrence of criminal activity (see Romans 13:1-7); (3) when someone persistently refuses to repent or to stop a sinful pattern and it becomes necessary to seek assistance from his/her church (see Matthew 18:15-18).
14. What if I miss an appointment?
There is no penalty for missed appointments, but we do ask that you be a good steward of your time and the counselor’s time as well. Repeated misses may result in the cessation of counseling until the counselee is able to make scheduled appointments.
15. Is there anything else I should know?
Yes, there are several things that might be helpful.
- Part of CBC’s counseling ministry involves teaching and training people to counsel. It is possible that someone in training might sit in with your counselor to observe the session. You may inquire as to who that might be and if there are practical reasons why it would not be wise to have that person sit in other arrangements can be made.
- We believe the counseling of non-organic (problems with spiritual roots) problems is properly viewed as a ministry of the Word of God done in the context of shepherding (Ez 34:1-16, 2 Tim 3:16). It is one part of CBC’s effort to proclaim God’s truth so that the “manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church” (Eph 3:10). Therefore since we counsel under the authority of the church and see it as a vital part of her ministry, if the counselor believes it is necessary to seek the advice of or report to a person’s elders he/she will do so. That is a rare occasion, but we do want to be upfront with you. Should that occur the counselor will speak with the counselee first regarding the matter.