Purposes and goals of pastoral counseling. Before stating the purpose or goal of pastoral counseling it is important to define what pastoral counseling is. The easiest way to approach a definition is to narrow the field by identifying what pastoral counseling is not since many activities aid Soul Care, or spiritual growth toward Christian sanctification. At its broadest levels, Christian Friendship can be provided by friends and family to encourage deep growth and healing (Benner, 17). Pastoral ministry includes “anything that brings people into contact with God nurtures the growth of their spirits and heals their souls” (Benner, 18), but is often stunted to maintain all pastoral roles.
We are the “Pharisees of Today.”
The 7 Woes of Christ contextualized for a modern audience.
Lead with a towel
When he [Jesus] had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:12-17)
During the Upper Room Discourse (the Last Supper), Jesus gave his disciples final teachings to to prepare them for leadership in his physical* absence. Here Jesus delivers one of the most memorable lessons on humility and leadership. God incarnate took the position of a servant/slave and washed the gritty sandaled feet of 12 sweaty men who'd been walking all day.
In Luke's account of the Last Supper (Luke 22:7-38) he tells that once again the 12 disciples began to dispute who among them was to be considered the greatest (v24). Jesus then spells out the upside down kingdom again (just as in Matthew 18:1-9) by revealing that the one who rules is the one who serves, just as Christ served them.
One positive and one negative event and the lesson it teaches from the history of Christianity. How do they apply to God's mission today?
Sadly Tertullian's famous quote that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” is not always true. In fulfilling Christ's Great Commission, the apostles used not only the Roman roads to reach Europe with the gospel, but also the Silk roads to reach Asia and Africa. Tradition states that the apostle Thomas discipled Christians who reached Persia, Arabia, India, and China. Their efforts spawned the first Christian nation of Armenia, one of the first church buildings in Dura-Europa, and even a theological missionary school in Nisibis (Persia)! By 500 A.D. half of all Christians lived in the non-west, but trials and persecutions virtually wiped them from history.
Philip Jenkins' Lost History of Christianity tells the story of great Christian movements that happened east of Jerusalem. What was great about these movements? Why did they not survive? So what? What difference should this make for us today?
It is encouraging to learn that as the gospel spread with Christ's disciples and was widely accepted far beyond Europe. The fact that Christianity once flourished under the Western Church, the Orthodox Church, and the Eastern Church of Africa and Asia dispels the common myth that Christianity is strictly “western” when in reality it is universal. Also to know that Christ is actually returning to Asia and Africa and not arriving can act as a bridge for evangelism.
Within the context of the schism between the church of the East and the church of the West – who tried to contextualize the faith and practice of the church according to culture, East or West? Were they wrong to adapt or contextualize their faith? How does this apply to today?
Power produces pride, and from pride proceeds poison. For the paradoxes of Christianity, that poison takes the form of a destructive Either/Or mentality compared to a healthy Both/And mentality. As the church of the East and the church of the West allowed the seed of the gospel to bloom within their culture's soil, they forgot Paul's message that The Church is a body with many parts. Thus when they claimed power by attempting to prune the other church's flowers, because they looked different from their own, they effectively cut off The Church's own arm.
What is the church? Compare the NT church with that of the illegal, imperial, (medieval) ages. What is your definition of Church?
A distinction must be drawn between The Church vs. A Church. The Church consists of Christ's true followers in all the earth and in all time regardless of denomination. A Church is one part of The Church, as a community of Christ Followers fulfilling The Great Commission.
How “Jewish” did you have to be in order to be included in the church before Acts 15? After Acts 15?
What forces led to this change?
Why does this matter today?
The meeting of the Apostles and elders in Acts 15 could be considered to be the first “church council.” Like church councils of the future, the meeting addressed issues occurring prior to the meeting, and then set the appropriate direction for the future.