Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Equipping Counselors for Your Church

Equipping Counselors For Your Church
As someone with a heart for ministering to other people, I was excited to see Bob Kellemen’s upcoming release Equipping Counselors for Your Church. In his video trailer for the book, Dr. Kellemen states that “the audience for this book is anyone committed to and passionate about one-another ministry”. Throughout this book, he uses the word “counseling” to encompass ministering the Word to one another and disciple-making, resulting in a relevant and helpful book for us all.

Dr. Kellemen’s goal is to “equip equippers so that the church is saturated with Biblical counseling”. He has created a simple, helpful framework to help leaders intentionally train and empower members to minister the Word to one another. He walks his readers through a Biblical study of God’s mission for the Church; connecting people; helping them grow in Biblical content, Christlike character, counseling competency, and Christian community; and relational organization to bring greater glory to God.

Because Dr. Kellemen has been a pastor of three very different churches (ranging from 100-3,000 members), he doesn’t have a strict one-size-fits-all approach to equipping. He establishes some basic principles that would be applicable to any size church and helps leaders walk through how to prayerfully design a structure that will best help the “unique congregation use its distinctive gift-mix to fulfill our special calling in our specific community” (pg. 41), to bring greater glory to God.

Although Dr. Kellemen’s principles are basic, he is not so vague as to be unhelpful. He includes a lot of useful forms, evaluations, application questions etc. that make this almost like a workbook that leaders can utilize to set up a ministry structure. Equipping Counselors for Your Church is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide that will likely bless a lot of people.

While Dr. Kellemen’s book is primarily geared towards those who are leaders within the church, there are some things that make this helpful for those who are passionate about one-another ministry. Equipping Counselors for Your Church helps the reader establish a Biblical vision for God’s Church and personal ministry. There are a number of useful lists within this book including Scripture passages and doctrine/theology to study; qualifications and proficiencies to pursue, character traits to cultivate; and commonly used materials for Biblical counseling. One of my favorite features is the excellent evaluation/application questions throughout the text and at the end of each chapter.

Ultimately, Dr. Kellemen helps all types of readers to understand that:
“People with changed lives know Christ, grow in Christ, and become Christ-like disciple-makers. Changed lives occur as we apply Christ’s changeless truth to help suffering people know that it’s normal to hurt (sustaining) and possible to hope (healing), and as we help sinning people to know that it’s horrible to sin but wonderful to be forgiven (reconciling), and supernatural to mature (guiding)” (pg. 65).
Equipping Counselors for Your Church is about growing in Christ-likeness, intentionally loving like He loved, and encouraging others to do the same for God's glory. May this book help many leaders to share a Biblical vision and enlist, equip, and empower their congregations to do the work of one-another ministry. May it also help them to build a team of people who are uniquely gifted and have a special passion for Biblical counseling to serve the body of Christ more formally. May it help all of us as we grow in Christ-likeness, becoming full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another (Romans 15:14).

Dr. Kellemen has graciously offered to respond to and interact with any questions and/or comments that you all might have about his book. Although Dr. Kellemen has already been interviewed by his publisher, he kindly took the time to answer some interview questions of mine. I plan to share those with you all tomorrow. ;)

*Many thanks to Dr. Kellemen and P & R Books for their willingness to send me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

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