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CCEF for Pastors

Six free articles from CCEF's Journal of Biblical Counseling

What is biblical counseling?  We know that in some ways even using the word counseling is cumbersome because it suggests something professional and scheduled—just for the experts. But we think of biblical counseling as wise conversations in which we join the daily struggles of life with the many words and promises of God that are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. For you who work in the church, it is what you do every day.

This package of articles, written by CCEF faculty, serve as a foundation. If you are new to biblical counseling, these will help you to get oriented. If you are not new, perhaps you will find something here that you have not considered before.

The articles will remain on this page for the foreseeable future. Work through them at your own pace.

the pastor as counselor

The Pastor as Counselor

David Powlison

This article casts a vision for how counseling operates as one primary aspect of ministry. This article is written to pastors—but it is for anyone interested in counseling. Pastoral counseling is distinctively and refreshingly different from popular understandings of what “counselors” and “counseling” are all about. That difference has many implications for how all Christians should think about counseling.

understanding influences on the human heart

Understanding the Influences on the Human Heart

Mike Emlet

This article provides a theological guide that identifies how things both come out of the heart and come at the heart. Too often we can miss critical influences that shape the person we want to help. The result is that people go unheard and we miss opportunities to offer God’s care and compassion.

how does scripture change you

How Does Scripture Change You?

David Powlison

Biblical counseling is premised on confidence that the living God works in people through what he has spoken. The Holy Spirit is not simply a wild card factor, and Scripture is not merely a good, old book. In this article, David Powlison offers two case studies showing how particular Scriptures rescripted particular lives.

how to talk with someone about sin

How to Talk with Someone about Sin

ed welch

Though we tend to avoid talking with others about their sin, God has called us to encourage one another by speaking the truth in love. Ed Welch prepares us to move toward fellow sinners graciously by examining ourselves, learning to see the good in others, and acknowledging hard circumstances. He then gets specific about how to engage with people directly and winsomely.

counseling is the church

Counseling Is the Church

David Powlison

In this editorial, David Powlison asks the questions "What ought to be the social structure for counseling if we are to please the Shepherd of sheep?" and "How is the church doing in counseling?" The church, Powlison suggests, provides the ideal place for counseling with regard to sin and suffering. But, five needs must be met: wisdom in face-to-face cure of souls, creedal standards and educational institutions committed to a biblical approach to counseling, qualifying procedures for pastor and leaders, and pastoral supervision.

questions to ask before starting a counseling ministry in your church

Ten Questions to Ask before Starting a Counseling Ministry in Your Church

David Powlison

This article is for church leaders who are thinking about starting a counseling ministry. Rather than a “how to” guide, Powlison offers ten questions to help a church gain a better understanding of itself and its context. Each question is followed by a short discussion that further orients leaders as to what to consider before moving forward.

mini-conference audio

Pastor Care: Encouragement & Wisdom for Ministry After 2020

Pastoring in 2020 was unlike anything you’ve ever endured. After virtual services, countless losses, profound interpersonal tension, and personal isolation, you have reason to feel bone-tired. With so many urgent shepherding needs, perhaps you’ve had little time to attend to your own soul, and you’re exhausted. After the crucible of this season, where do you even begin? At this conference, we will apply God’s care to weary pastors and ministry leaders, seeking his hope and encouragement for you, your families, and your churches.