BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part Four in a multi-part series by the BCC’s Grace & Truth bloggers on Biblical Counseling in the Local Church. In addition to today’s post by Andrew Rogers, you can read Part One by Pastor Steve Viars: Biblical Counseling and Community Outreach, Part Two by Keri Seavey: Keeping Equipping Simple in the Local Church, and Part Three by Kevin Carson: The Local Church: The Place for Help. You will also read future posts by Pastor Jonathan Holmes, Eliza Jane Huie, and Pastor Deepak Reju.
Conviction Drives Our Ministry
We know that the heart is behind everything we do and that we’re called to love God “with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Mark 12:30). Intensity is the issue here. We love God with all of our being. Naturally, one who loves God with this kind of intensity will have a robust longing to do what pleases, honors and glorifies Him (2 Corinthians 5:9; Colossians 3:17).
Conviction is vital for counseling in the local church. We can tell people they need to counsel, offer training for counseling, or even put forth tear-jerking testimonials of the impact of counseling in hopes that they will want to counsel. But will their enthusiasm be driven by a conviction rooted deeply in their love for God?
Conviction—the assurance and firm belief in something—drives what people do. When fellow Christians are convinced that caring for each other’s souls through counseling is what pleases, honors, and glorifies God, then they are enthused to learn and apply the counseling training we provide.
How then do we cultivate the conviction to counsel one another? The conviction to help one another to grow in sanctification? The conviction that we are responsible for caring for each other’s souls?
Conviction Comes By Instruction
Paul commends the church in Thessalonica for their ministry of the Word to each other and to the world around them. This developed as a result of their assurance that the gospel message was indeed true. They believed it. They were convinced of its claims (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
Teaching informs our convictions. We aren’t convinced of anything without teaching. Scripture teaches us that we are responsible for each other:
1. To Pursue Holiness
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13, ESV) .
2. To Produce Fruit
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24, ESV).
3. To Promote Hope
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV).
4. To Proclaim Christ
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28, ESV).
Here are some practical ways to bring about conviction by teaching:
- Teach on the “one-anothers” as often as you can through the pulpit, small groups, and one-on-one.
- Communicate an expectation of counseling one another. Say, “When you counsel one another,” instead of “If you would like to start counseling others.”
- Assign people the task of sharing what they learn with others.
Conviction Occurs Through the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is active in the believer to:
1. Empower Biblical Understanding
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12, ESV).
2. Embolden Ministry
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, ESV).
This empowering and emboldening is …
3. Employed Through Prayer & Obedience
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4, ESV).
Here are some practical ways to generate conviction through the Holy Spirit:
- Never cease praying for God’s people to understand that counseling in the church is essential.
- Never cease teaching on the subject of caring and counseling one another, trusting that God will use His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit to convict His children.
- Wait on the Lord and don’t take matters into your hands, employing unbiblical means like “guilting” people into action.
Conviction Flourishes with Hope
There is a quandary concerning conviction. Conviction is often accompanied by timidity. We are convinced counseling one another is pleasing to God, but we see our lack of skill and competency and that makes us apprehensive about doing it.
Our people need hope for counseling one another. They need:
1. Assurance of Help
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:16, ESV).
2. Assurance of Faithfulness
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9, ESV).
3. Assurance of Strength
“That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16, ESV).
4. Assurance of Outcome
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2, ESV).
5. Assurance of Effect
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11, ESV).
Here are some practical ways to cultivate conviction with hope:
- Remind your church how big God is and how He’d never command them to do anything without empowering them to do it.
- Remind your church that God has been using imperfect people to minister to other imperfect people from the beginning.
- Never do ministry without someone with you, observing you minister the Word to others.
- Come alongside people to observe and help them minister to others.
- Recruit and develop a team of people who can help come alongside and mentor others in counseling.
Join the Conversation
In what ways are you encouraging people to engage in the personal ministry of the Word?
How can you help spur others on to love and good deeds in the area of discipleship and counseling?
How has God convinced you of the necessity of caring for the souls of others?