Counseling – it is where you talk about the things that are on your heart and hope to receive wise direction.
But will the person you are speaking with be careful and compassionate with what you say? Will he or she be able to bring godly wisdom to places that are complex and hard? And if you are a pastor and you suggest that someone in your church talks with a counselor, you are essentially enlarging your pastoral staff and inviting the counselor to join you as an adjunct pastor. That means you have confidence in the counselor.
If you decide to receive the counsel, that is a huge decision. But it is only the first step. Then you have to decide whom you can trust.
Let me give you some background on someone I think you can trust. I have known Alasdair Groves all his life. I heard him use big words when his peers weren’t able to talk. I watched him care gently for his brother and sisters. I watched friends respect and confide in him throughout High School. I heard the details of his small groups at Dartmouth and how he openly shared his own life and others followed his lead. I “encouraged” him to attend the seminary in which I was teaching after he completed two post-graduate years with the Dartmouth Christian Fellowship – I would have brought him to Westminster involuntarily if he resisted my encouragement. And I have recently had the privilege of being his counseling supervisor at CCEF, where he has been a colleague.
You will find many strengths and gifts in him: he loves people, he knows the Scripture very well, he has been tested through hardships such as his father’s early death and his faith has only grown in those hardships, the openness that he demonstrated in college has continued in his relationship with his wife Lauren. He is a pastor. I look to him for counsel and I would quickly recommend him to my own family if they were in need of wise counsel. Of course, we all have our weaknesses and Alasdair has his: he has a notoriously weak stomach. You could ask him about the time he was on tour with the Philadelphia Boys Choir.
I am sorry that he left CCEF in Philadelphia, though we still consider him a part of our organization. As Alasdair went through seminary his desire to return to New Hampshire and New England never waned. We send him to you with our blessings.