Counseling in the Local Church

Course Description

Biblical counseling – is it just for the pastors and elders? Or for trained professionals? What does it look like to restore counseling to the local church? The purpose of this course is to:
  • to broaden students’ understanding of counseling to include all relationships
  • to build a thoroughly biblical understanding of the local church as a ministering community where everyone plays a part
  • to help students find their place of ministry within the context of the local church and to help others do the same
  • to see the importance of both public and private ministry of the Word and how they interrelate
  • to examine present ministry opportunities
Topics covered include a biblical foundation for private ministry of the Word; the role of community and relationships in the process of sanctification; developing a practical ecclesiology; and developing an eye for ministry opportunities such as conflict resolution, evangelism, and church discipline.

Course Outline

Week 1: Course Introduction: Why the Church Should be Counseling
Week 2: Redemptive Community
Week 3: Self-Counsel
Week 4: A Biblical View of Change
Week 5: Public Counsel
Week 6: Sought and Created Counsel
Week 7: Structures and Processes for Interpersonal Ministry
Week 8: Counseling Models at Four Churches
Week 9: Conflict and Pursuing Forgiveness
Week 10: Unsought Group Counsel
Week 11: Church Discipline

About the Professor

Tim Lane

Dr. Timothy S. Lane is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America since 1991 (PCA), and co-author of How People Change and  Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. He has written several mini-books including PTSDForgiving OthersSex Before MarriageFamily FeudsConflict, and Freedom From Guilt. He has experience in both campus and pastoral ministry (serving as a pastor in Clemson, SC 1991-2001). From 2001-2013, he served as a counselor and faculty at CCEF (2007-2013 as Executive Director) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim is adjunct professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Westminster Seminary California and Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, TX. 

Required Textbooks for On-site/Hybrid Students:

Contact Carly Robinson (

Required Textbooks for Online Students:

Students must purchase separately, any other required reading is provided with course access.
How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp
Life Together: The Classic exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp
Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition by Andrew Purves

Click here to purchase these texts for Counseling in the Local Church.


Course Registration