Part 2: Pastor as Counselor. In Part 1 of the Pastor as Counselor, we discussed various responses that sometimes are heard from pastors concerning counseling, as well as a couple passages that speak to the role and responsibility biblical leaders have in coming alongside the church to help them walk with Jesus. In this post I’ll briefly describe the aim of counseling, while also describing the tool that God gives us to accomplish this objective.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
- The Scriptures teach us that the heart is where pastoral ministry needs to be directed as behavior flows from a person’s heart. The heart is where a person’s thoughts, beliefs, desires, emotions, motives and choices take place.
- Jesus’s words were always aimed at the heart. In fact, he rebuked the religious leaders who had a veneer of religiosity but whose hearts were far from God. Therefore, as pastors preach, teach and counsel God’s people they need to work hard at directing their words to people’s hearts, as well as discerning the desires and motives of a person’s heart or else their shepherding ministry will fall short. This pressing of God’s Word into the live of believers is not mainly done from the pulpit but is mostly realized as pastors and leaders do life on life with fellow believers.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
- Paul’s words are specifically directed to Timothy so he will understand that to be competent and equipped for gospel ministry only becomes a reality as he avails himself to the Word of God. As he does this, he will be fully qualified and prepared to undertake whatever tasks God put before him.
- And though the immediate application is to Timothy, the implication of Paul’s words has a far-reaching effect, in that it applies for all believers. This passage is beaming with promise for the believer in that they can be competent to meet all the demands that God places on them.
A lot of Christians can readily quote parts of the Bible, as well as describe various doctrines or truths related to the Christian life. However, a lot of Christians don’t understand how to take practical steps to grow up in Jesus up and change to be more like Him. The pastor as counselor seeks to help Christians understand that in Christ we have everything we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3) and then they come alongside and practically help that person to observe all that Jesus commanded (Matt 28:18-20).
A pastor’s job is multifaceted: yes, they are to be competent to teach the Word (1 Tim 3:2) and preach the Word in season and out of season (2 Tim 4:2) but they are also to work hard at equipping God’s people to learn how to apply the Scriptures to their life (Eph 4:12-16; Heb 5:12-6:1). Lastly, it’s not the primacy of preaching that Paul is emphasizing in 2 Timothy but the primacy of God’s Word (both public and private) to God’s people to help them become more like Jesus. That’s the responsibility of every pastor, regardless of whether or not they understand themselves to be a counselor.
 Thomas D. Lea, P. Griffin Jr., Hayne, 1, 2 Timothy. The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman, 1992), 236.