As pastors and church leaders, we often encounter difficult questions from people who are suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually.
How would you answer these questions posed to me early in my counseling ministry?
If God really loves me, why did my healthy four year old son suddenly die of a brain aneurysm?
Where was Jesus when I was being raped?
Why didn’t God stop my husband before he had an affair and lost his pastorate?
Is it possible that my depression might be the result of a demonic attack?
I was ritually abused as a child. Can you help me?
I do not trust anyone, including God. Can you help me build trust?
When I attend church I get very agitated. I can’t concentrate on what the pastor is saying and the music drives me crazy! What is going on?
It was questions like these that motivated me to gain a deeper understanding of the issues many Christians struggle with. Over the course of twenty-eight years of counseling and ministering in a church, a methodology based on our understanding of the scripture emerged. It is this methodology that I discuss and share in this book. It represents the work of many people who served with me and contributed to this process by their experience and spiritual gifts. The healing model discussed in chapter 3 is the result of years of experience and is offered not as “the only way” but as “a way” to understand and organize a ministry to wounded people. It is a model that has been tested and found effective as God has blessed it and used it to help His people. I encourage you to study it with an open mind and ask God to show you how you can be more effective in your ministry to hurting people in your church.
I have written this book with the busy pastor in mind. It is organized so that each chapter stands alone and may be read based on its content without having to reference other chapters. You will also note there are chapter summaries available for a quick survey of the content of each.
This book presents an apologetic for a strong pastoral care ministry in the local church. The discerning reader will also be aware of the emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in healing, deliverance and restoration. This author sees the church as a spiritual hospital, fully equipped and staffed to facilitate the healing ministry of Jesus. I encourage you to allow your “theology of suffering” to be challenged as you reflect on how it is operationally defined in your own ministry.
This author believes that a healthy church is one that cares for its people and that this caring is easily observable among its members. I believe that churches that have strong ministries to help hurting people are ones that are growing in numbers and in influence in their communities. Just as people were drawn to Jesus by His healing ministry so they are still drawn to His church, when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us, as we minister in Jesus name. I have experienced even the most skeptical and hostile person’s attitude change when they or a member of their family has been helped by the church.
Does your church pray for the sick, comfort the grieving, seek freedom for the oppressed, support those in recovery and offer counseling to the confused and discouraged?
I believe we can answer the difficult questions that people bring to us. We have the authority of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to work through us to continue the ministry of our Lord to hurting and wounded people. I pray you have experienced being a facilitator of His love to His people!