Can a Pastor Do Marriage Counseling? Most Pastors in their careers will need to do some Counseling. By the Nature of the respect, the Pastor holds by his devoting his life to drawing close to God and his intimate knowledge of the Bible, Mans Owner Manual. many situations can arise
- Marital Struggles
- Pre-Marital Counseling as a new Couple seek God’s direction as they start their lives
- Funerals – Loss of Loved ones and grief and comfort needed.
- Children – Struggles
- Financial Challenges and God Reassurance Needed
- Depression – Being overcome
Many Christians are looking for marital counseling, and are wondering who would be the best person in the church to offer them the service. Christians understand that God hates divorce and want to avoid it at all costs by going for counseling to save their marriages. A couple will seek marital counseling because they have been unable to resolve their problems them. They are looking for someone to help intervene and save their marriage. The bigger question couples have is: Can a pastor do marriage counseling?
This is not a question that has a straightforward answer because there are many factors that come into play. In this article, we will look at when a pastor can or can’t do marriage counseling.
Can a Pastor Do Marriage Counseling / When Should a Pastor Do Marriage Counseling?
The Pastor is a Licensed Marriage Counselor
Marriage counseling requires one to go deeper into the issues that plague marriages, and this requires training. Some pastors have undergone training to be marriage counselors and can, therefore, counsel a couple. A pastor who counsels couples has also created time to help marriages in trouble in addition to his or her pastoral duties. Pastors can let the congregation know that they do marriage counseling so that church members can come to them for help.
Many Times today in Christian Colleges many Ministers not only major in Bible, but they also take many classes and get degrees in counseling. It is very important when a storm arises in one’s marriage that one seek the wisdom that comes from God. many times we believe what we know best but God has the ability to look to actually what is best.
Couples can get so close in their conflicts that it takes sometimes someone who can look objectively and help untangle the mess that sometimes we can get ensnared in.
When the Marital Issues are Not Deep
If the pastor assesses that the marital issue a couple has is simply a lack of understanding of e.g. personality types, then he or she can offer to counsel them. Some marital issues can be sorted out once a couple understands how to create harmony in their marriage so that they will not clash a lot. This applies mostly to young couples who are trying to build a life together. The pastor can share the common problems that couples encounter and lead them to additional resources that can help them.
There is no Marriage Counselor in the Church or the Surrounding Community
In some communities, especially those on the outskirts of the city, there may not be specialists in marriage counseling. Couples living in such communities can seek the services of their pastor to help them sort out their marriage problems. Pastors in such communities tend to carry out a number of tasks that are done by other professionals. The pastor in such a community will need to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit when counseling a couple. The Bible has the answers a couple needs for a healthy marriage and the pastor should point them toward God’s Word first. Other resources that can help with marital problems should come second.
It is wise also for a person a minister to be wise enough to also realize when sometimes people may need medical and clinical help. An that minister can help guide them to the right resources.
When Should a Pastor Not Do Marriage Counseling?
If the Pastor is Not a Licensed Marriage Counselor
Marriage counseling requires expertise and if a pastor has not undergone the relevant training, he or she should not counsel couples with serious marital problems. Trained marriage counselors know how to identify the root causes of certain marriage problems, and give sustainable solutions. Without training, a pastor may not be much help to a couple with deep issues. The pastor may also not understand how to resolve problems in couples who have been married for decades. Couples in different seasons of marriage have different issues and require unique solutions. Without relevant experience and knowledge, a pastor might do more harm than good to a couple. They need to be wise enough to discern that
The Pastor is Single
A pastor who is not married will have a hard time understanding marital issues because they do not have the necessary experience. A single pastor will see things from the perspective of a single person because they have never lived with a spouse to know how people clash in marriage. Such a pastor will try to solve a marriage issue out of theoretical understanding and not experience.
Years ago Darlene and I Had been doing Foster Care in a Local Childrens’ Home for several years. We were offering to take in another child into our home. As with many children the young one was coming from a background of lacking caring and discipline.
A Young Counselor brought the child out to our home to introduce her to our daughters. In our conversation, we told her that we would treat her as our own daughter. And we would discipline if it was needed. The Young lady then began to tell us how to discipline, what should be done, what should not be done. This conversation went in for about 30 minutes. We were all very polite. But at the end of the conversation, I asked her how many children she had. She had just had a newborn less than 3-4 months old. And she meant well, but she never had ever raised a child. She had no experience. We politely said we needed to pass on offering our home. We invited her back in several years in jest. She then could temper her methods with experience.
Possibly if you do not have the experience you need to help you can help Guide them to someone who has.
A Pastor is New to a Church
When a pastor is new in the church he or she is serving in, it would not be best to handle marriage counseling. This is because the pastor has not yet known the church members on a personal level, and people may not be free to open up to him or her. A new pastor to a church needs to spend some time learning about how things work in the church before attempting to resolve heavy issues. He or she needs to learn and receive mentoring from older and more experienced pastors on how to handle any marriage issues that couples in the church may have. It sometimes takes time and Closeness to develop trust.
A Youth Pastor
A pastor who is charged with the youth ministry should not be conducting marriage counseling. This is because such a pastor is probably young and understands issues that plague the youth. Those who are normally positioned as youth pastors are usually single and may not understand the challenges of marriage.
Counseling takes alot of wisdom and experience. You also can be put in awkward circumstance that Satan can use to Destroy lives. Even with the help you are trying to do, the inexperience of Youth can be xchallenging
1 Timothy 4:12, Paul told Timothy to “Let No One Despise Your Youth” Paul wanted Young Preacher Timothy to carry himself in such a way, that he was above the deceitfulness of sin. Even though being young we can be mature and wise beyond our years.
When the Pastor is in a Marriage Crisis
If a pastor is undergoing a marriage crisis, he or she should not attempt to counsel couples. This is because he or she is not in a frame of mind to counsel others on marriage and need to resolve their issues first before they can help others. A pastor going through marital problems will not be objective when counseling others with similar problems. He or she can give the wrong advice to a couple or give them no hope of a solution judging by the complexity of their personal situation.
It is alway wise to remember that Pastors / Preachers/ Counselors/ Teachers are just people. Walking throught this life trying to walk as close to the father as they can
At different times we all need help, support, comfort, a friendly hand to strengthen us. It is better to keep in perspectve that the people wh hold on the highest pedestals – are Just People.
- King David was followed by Mighty Men – yet he murdered one of them
- King Solomon prayed so fervently – that God’s Presence filled the Temple.
- Saul was so fervent in following God that he held the Coats of those murdering Stephen
What Can a Pastor Do If He or She Must Do Marriage Counseling?
If a pastor has to do marital counseling because the situation demands it, the first place they can turn is to God. He is the one who knows the couple and their issues, and will give the pastor the best solution for the couple. The pastor needs to understand that each couple is unique and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for marital problems. He or she needs to consider each couple individually, pray with both parties and understand their issues before offering any counseling.
Be Guided in Prayer
Seek Others Wisdom
The pastor should at all times rely on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit when counseling a couple to ensure that he or she is offering biblical guidance.
Leave You with a Word of Caution
I say this probably poorly. But when you are trying to counsel someone. That person is many times in a great time of vulnerability. Maybe their spouse has been unfaithful. And a shoulder to cry on is a very at times needed, but the person that is doing the counseling can be seen as someone, faithful, someone honest, someone that is willing to listen when the hardened mate of the person you are trying to help – will not listen at all. The person trying to help can become the object of what the vulnerable person feels that they need in a spouse etc. I have had several friends some older, some middle age, some very young, that what began as a sincere desire to listen and help drifted into infidelity and the destruction of several families and some times in the church family. I always made it a practice to take someone with me when I counseled someone of the opposite sex.
God Bless Greg