A Counselor’s Resume

by Paul Tautges | March 31, 2017 2:01 am

What should a biblical counselor’s resume look like? What would you list to demonstrate your qualifications? Actually, the Apostle Paul has already written such a resume for us. It’s found in Romans 15:14. I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. This is an important verse because it gives us four qualifications which are necessary to be effective in the personal ministry of the Word. However, before we consider them, the following case study will help us see how important they are. (This story and the listed qualifications are adapted from Bob Kellemen’s book, Gospel Conversations[1], a part of the Equipping Biblical Counselors Series).

A CASE STUDY

A married couple, Tony and Trudy, were recommended to seek marriage counseling from you. At the beginning of the first meeting, Tony leans forward, looks you straight in the eyes, and says, “I want you to know that I have seen a divorce attorney already. I was recommended by someone to see you before we make any final decisions. If I’m putting my future on the line with you, I want to know what makes you qualified to help us.” 

Well, that caught you off guard, but eventually you regain your composure and manage to say, “Tony, one of the reasons I’m qualified to help you is my commitment to the Scriptures as the sufficient source of wisdom for life, and for helping you and Trudy in your relationship to Christ and your relationship to one another.”

So, Tony leans back, strokes his chin and responds, “That’s great. Now, could you tell me how that’s working for you in your marriage?” Tony raises a good question, doesn’t he? The application of biblical wisdom to our lives, relationships, and ministries ought to be high on the list of qualifications for effective biblical counseling. God calls us not only to know his Word richly, but to apply His Word relevantly to our lives so that we grow in Christ-like character.

So, you say, “Tony, that’s a fair question. By God’s grace, my wife and I seek to apply God’s Word to our marriage. While our marriage is not perfect, it is a growing marriage that honors Christ as we both seek to lovingly minister to each other so that we become more like Jesus.”

Tony nods favorably. Then he squints and says, “Okay, thank you for your honesty. I have one more question. So, you know God’s Word and you apply it to your life. But how successful have you been in helping others with their marriages?” Tony raises another valid point. Rich knowledge of God’s Word applied to our lives provides a powerful foundation for biblical counseling. But counseling involves engaging others and helping them in applying truth to their lives. Therefore, our competence as a counselor in sharing Scripture—relating truth to life— is also vital.

So, you might say to Tony, “By God’s grace, couples confirm that their marriages have been significantly helped by my counsel.”

FOUR QUALIFICATIONS

This story illustrates the importance of the four qualifications we find in Romans 15:14.

As we consider these four qualifications, we must realize there is weakness in a de-emphasis of one or more of them. We may have biblical content, but if it’s only head knowledge we will not be able to relate truth to life. We may be all heart and compassion, but lack biblical insight and counseling abilities. We may think of the counseling session as the “magic hour,” without exhorting the counselee to be in a nurturing environment of a local body of believers.

Thinking about the “4Cs” of Character, Content, Competence, and Community, which do you think is your current strength as a biblical counselor? Which do you think is your current weakness and needs growth and development?

[Today’s guest post is written by Armand Tiffe, Pastor Emeritus at Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, and director of our counseling ministry[2]. He is also the author of Transformed Into His Likeness: A Handbook for Putting Off Sin and Putting On Righteousness[3].]

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Endnotes:
  1. Gospel Conversations: https://smile.amazon.com/Gospel-Conversations-Equipping-Biblical-Counselors/dp/0310516153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490803789&sr=8-1&keywords=gospel+conversations+kellemen
  2. our counseling ministry: http://cornerstonemayfield.org/ministry/biblical-counseling
  3. Transformed Into His Likeness: A Handbook for Putting Off Sin and Putting On Righteousness: https://www.biblicalcounselingbooks.com/products/transformed-into-his-likeness-a-handbook-for-putting-off-sin-and-putting-on-righteousness
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