The following outlines several conditions upon which counseling cases will be initiated. While this is not meant to be exhaustive in scope, it does represent the philosophy of the biblical/discipleship counseling ministry of Grace Community Bible Church.
Our Goal – Our goal in providing biblical/discipleship counseling is to help you meet the challenges of life in a way that will please and honor the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31) and in a way that will bring you the greatest joy and satisfaction (John 15:11).
Our Biblical Basis – We believe that the Bible provides thorough and sufficient guidance and instruction for faith and life (Psalm 1:1-3; 19:7-8; 119:11; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). Therefore, we base our counseling on scriptural principles rather than those of secular psychology and psychiatry. Neither the pastoral nor the lay counselors of this church are trained or licensed as psychotherapists or mental health professionals, nor should they be expected to follow the methods of such specialists.
Some of the counseling at Grace Community Bible Church is provided as part of a counseling training program. To facilitate both counseling and training, the counselor may have one to two people assisting him/her in each counseling session.
Our Focus – Our purpose is to deal with issues within the scope of biblical parameters. We are confident that the Bible contains all necessary information for life and godliness
(1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:3-4). There are no problems between persons that the Bible fails to address either in general or specific principles. While our counselors do not know all that there is to know about biblical teaching and its application to life, nevertheless, they do know much and will counsel from their understanding of the Bible, and they will do their utmost to help you.
If you should have significant legal, financial, medical or other technical questions, you may choose to seek advice from an appropriate independent professional. Our pastoral and lay counselors will be happy to cooperate with such advisors and help you to consider counsel in the light of relevant scriptural principles.
Our Foundation – All counseling will be conducted in accordance with the counselor’s understanding of the Scriptures. Your counseling will be biblical counseling in which the Scriptures are, in all cases, the final authority. If you are not sure that you will be interested in biblically-based counseling, you will be given the option of attending one or two sessions to discover what biblical counseling is. If you are unwilling to use the Bible as the final authority in counseling or are unwilling to apply the biblical principles assigned, sessions may be terminated.
Our Prerogative – At any time during the counseling process, for reason(s) sufficient to him/her, the counselor shall have the option of terminating counseling. Counseling members of Grace Community Bible Church takes precedence over outside counseling.
Our Commitment to Confidentiality – Confidentiality is an important aspect of the counseling process, and our counselors will carefully guard the information you entrust to them. To ensure that you are receiving consistent counsel and support, however, the counselor(s) will need to be able to discuss your situation with others such as appropriate leaders of the church you attend, your attorney, if you have one, and/or other individuals involved in your life. When a counselor is uncertain how to address a problem, he or she may need to seek advice from another pastor or counselor. Information disclosed in counseling sessions will be held confidential to the extent that the counselor believes the Bible or the state requires. Absolute confidentiality is not scriptural; for instance, matters of church discipline (cf. Matthew 18:15ff), or criminal incidents, may require the counselor to divulge information to others. Please be assured that our biblical/discipleship counselors strongly prefer not to disclose personal information to others, and they will make every effort to help you find ways to resolve a problem as privately as possible.
Your Commitment to Confidentiality – You too must agree not to discuss our communications with people who do not have a necessary interest in the counseling process. Furthermore, you must agree that you will not attempt to force any counselor to divulge any information acquired during the counseling process or to testify in any legal proceeding related to the issues discussed during the counseling process.
Our Fee – All counseling is done free of charge as a ministry of Grace Community Bible Church. Part of the weekly homework assignments, however, may require the purchase of materials that correspond to the counseling.
Mediation – On rare occasions a conflict may develop between a counselor and a counselee. In order to make sure that any such conflicts will be resolved in a biblically faithful manner, we require all of our counselees to agree that any dispute that arises with a counselor or with Grace Community Bible Church as a result of counseling will be mediated by the church’s elder board; or elders from an outside church that is likeminded in biblical doctrine and counseling with Grace Community Bible Church. It is expressly understood that by agreeing in advance to arbitrate that the counselee is giving up his right to a trial in the civil courts (1 Corinthians 6:1-7). In addition, all counseling notes and records are considered to be the property of the church.
Church Attendance - Throughout the counseling process, you will be required to attend the Sunday morning preaching service at Grace Community Bible Church. Attending the preaching service provides another venue to learn and be counseled from God’s Word and how it applies to your life.
Having clarified the principles and policies of our counseling ministry, we welcome the opportunity to minister to you in the name of Christ and to be used by Him as He helps you to grow in spiritual maturity and prepares you for usefulness in His body. If you have any questions about these guidelines, please feel free to call and speak with a member of the pastoral staff.
If these terms are acceptable to you, please sign below.
Name (please print):_____________________________________________
Signature: ______________________________________________ Date: ___________________
Signature:_______________________________________________ Date: ___________________
* only required if counselees is under 18 years of age