Review of ‘The Pastor & Counseling’ by Reju & Pierre

As a pure intro to Christian counselling this is truly excellent. Concise to the point of being almost check-listy, it covers a lot of ground in defining Biblical counselling and giving a ‘how-to’ outline, as well as integrating the concept of pastoral counselling into how all Christians disciple one another. The authors help demystify it and bring it down to something intimidating but doable for almost anyone, which is how it should be when you’re talking about counselling with a lower case ‘c’. – i.e. something not requiring specific expertise that you’d need training for. 

They define Christian counselling as, “a ministry of the Word by which Christians help others understand how their hearts are actively responding to God amid their specific life circumstances, and how faith in Christ Jesus changes those responses”. 

It’s a book full of obvious sympathy and concern for those who need counselling, with a tone and approach that speaks to helping and encouraging, where some other guides have tended to err on the side of telling people to ‘straighten up and do better’. 

The title is open about it being a ‘Basics’ rather than a particularly in-depth guide, but it’s only 117 pages and has the feel of them trying too hard to appeal to those with the attention span of a newt. I’m quite newt-ish myself, but if I’ve bothered to read a book about counselling, the odds are I can last a while longer than 117 well-spaced pages of large-ish print, to unpack some of the concepts they so usefully introduced. And really that’s my only complaint: what they said was useful and I wish they’d said more.

I recommend this to everyone starting out in counselling or who doubts whether counselling is something that pastors need to be involved with, as the authors make clear the intrinsic connection between Biblical counselling and shepherding. It’s also a good launch-pad into more in-depth study on the subject.

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