Chapter 9 – In Conclusion

In this Toolkit, in order to provide assistance with the preparations for beginning to counsel, we began by looking at the necessity of prayer and self-examination as a minister of the Word. Next, we looked at the process of preparing logistics for counseling. We have seen the necessity of building a caring relationship with the counselee, thoroughly gathering data, analyzing the data into themes for change, instilling hope, giving biblical instruction, assigning relevant homework, obtaining commitment from the counselee, motivating the counselee to change and holding her accountable to do so.

Because counselors want to ensure that all of the key elements of a counseling session are in place with every session, multiple means by various counselors have been devised over the years to help facilitate this process. Often these aids include some type of acronym or alliteration to help the counselor remember every element. This Toolkit provides the “Biblical Counseling Record and Lesson Plan”  (figs. 2.3, 2.4, 4.4 and 4.5) and the “Agenda Log” (figs. 3.3 and 3.4) as well as checklists to assist the counselor in including all necessary elements in each session.

Chapter 2 has given step-by-step instruction for preparing and completing an initial session. Figure 2.1 provides a checklist to help the counselor ensure all steps have been completed. By following the steps in the “Biblical Counseling Record and Lesson Plan” in each session, the beginning counselor can stay confidently focused on the direction of the session.

Chapters 3 and 4 assist the counselor in moving from the first session into subsequent sessions. Figure 4.1 provides a checklist which includes the steps described in Chapters 3 and 4. By utilizing the same checklist after every session, the counselor can confidently proceed with each subsequent session by repeating the same process. As the counselee demonstrates integration of lessons taught into her life, agenda items are moved to the Case Report Question 11, “What issues have been sufficiently addressed by the counselor and changed by the counselee?” and new agenda items are gradually moved one by one onto the “Biblical Counseling Record and Lesson Plan” and the “Homework Assignment Sheet.” This process is simply repeated for each session. Therefore, by utilizing the Figure 4.1 checklist between sessions, the counselor can be confident that he has prepared thoroughly for ministering to the disciple that God has sent his way. The rest of the work is up to the Holy Spirit who will be faithful to grant wisdom (James 1:5), to reveal truth (Ps. 119:18) and to equip and empower the counselor to minister effectively (Acts 4:8, 31, 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5, 1 Pet. 1:12; Eph. 5:19-20; Heb. 3:7, 10:15). With experience, the beginning counselor can adapt or customize the system that works best for him.

Although we have viewed these key elements individually, they are actually inseparable and so as counselors become more seasoned with experience, the elements begin to blend into one smooth operating system. For example, on the “Biblical Counseling Record and Lesson Plan,” building hope and teaching a lesson are listed as two separate elements and yet, the lesson taught can be filled with truths that instill hope. They are listed separately to ensure both are accomplished, but often they blend into one.

It is the prayer of this author that somehow God will use the tools in this Toolkit as well as to bring glory to His name. There are so many hurting people in our world. They don’t have a need to belong, or to be heard or to feel validated or to love themselves more or to be self-actualized. They need the gospel of Jesus Christ. They need the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. They need the true church of Jesus Christ to disciple them that they may “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ … ” (Eph. 4:15). May God raise up Christians who are willing to step out in faith and help others through God’s Word. May it be said of Christ’s followers from every corner of the globe that we fearfully and humbly approach God’s throne and proclaim with the prophet, Isaiah, “Here am I! Send me” (Isa. 6:8c).

Fill the garden of my soul with the wind of love,

that the scents of the Christian life may be wafted to others;

then come and gather fruits to thy glory.[1]

The Valley of Vision

[1] Arthur Bennett, ed. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 179.