August 4, 2016

The first two steps to starting a counseling ministry

by Bill Shannon

Over my years of pastoral ministry I have received emails from pastors and lay-leaders and emails asking me how to set-up a counseling ministry in the local church. Those inquiring had generally been shepherding their flocks for years before finally realizing that their congregations’ counseling needs had become overwhelming.

My first suggestion is that they come to the annual ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) conference to get the basics. My second suggestion is that they do not come alone. I encourage them to bring along some of those gifted within their community of believers who want to help others understand how the Bible can give comfort in times of trial.  

This year, under the leadership of Heath Lambert, ACBC will launch a 40 year celebration of what God is doing through Biblical Counseling. This conference scheduled in Indianapolis for October 3-5, and it is designed to help the church in her efforts to minister to God’s people. Registration and information can be found at on their website.

While we all know that the problems of our day are the result of the fall, the Christian no longer needs to be incarcerated in the hopelessness of the world. God has brought through Jesus Christ the solution to man’s foremost problem: separation from God.

I wish every pastor, counselor, bible study leader would come to this conference to discover new tools in our flock’s battles against temptation and the excuses of the world. The brokenhearted have found little help in what this culture has to offer, while meanwhile we have everything necessary to help people’s hearts through the word of God.

This conference is significant for the trained counselor as well as for those who are being introduced into the counseling world. We all counsel at one level or another and this conference helps all of us to reach out to a dying and dead world. In addition there are many within the body of Christ that are broken because of sin and the inability to find answers that work. This conference will be helpful beyond measure for your life and the life of your church.

The gospel is the answer to all of life’s problems, and this conference is uniquely designed to find suitable solutions that truly help. Pastors: bring those in your congregation with the desire and giftedness to help others and that burden that you have been carrying these months and years will begin to be lifted.

Register soon, because the rates will increase as the conference approaches, and I hope to see you in Indianapolis this October.


Bill Shannon


Bill is the counseling and care pastor at Grace Community Church, in Los Angeles. He teaches biblical counseling at The Master's College and Seminary.