Shows Main Idea – Choosing a career as a counselor is more than determining if you want to be a Christian counselor or secular counselor. In this podcast, I’m going to share the many angles to factor into this life-altering decision.
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I’d like to be a counselor, but I’m unsure what direction to go. I’ve read a lot of your content and agreed with how you do counseling, in that you prefer a discipleship model over a counseling model. I was wondering what you’d advise a young person who wants to make a career out of helping others.
- What is your worldview for changing people?
- Do you want to transform lives or help lives?
- How do you want to make a living?
- What do you want to be doing when you’re forty years old?
1 – What is your worldview for changing people?
A sufficiency of Scripture worldview will put you at odds with your culture. The culture does not give you freedom to practice a sufficiency of Scripture worldview in their world. You will be restricted, disheartened, and frustrated.
A sufficiency of Scripture view of soul care does not limit who can receive your care. You can help Christians and non-Christians.
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Your worldview determines your training
If you take a sufficiency of Scripture worldview, I recommend you train yourself in applying God’s Word to the human condition. Secular training will not do this for you.
2 – Do you want to transform lives or help lives?
Only the Bible transforms lives, but you can choose a career that helps people. For example, working with Asperger children, child development, school teacher, and financial counseling are situational or supplemental help opportunities.
You won’t transform people by implementing your training, but you can help them through a situational or personal challenge. If you choose one of these fields, you will need specific training to serve your chosen demographic.
Biblical counseling is also supplemental help, not a long-term soul care solution. If your goal is “people transformation,” discipleship is the Bible’s comprehensive approach to accomplishing this aim.
3 – How do you want to make a living?
Going the secular route, as outlined above, may provide enough income for you and your family. The counseling route may not provide for your family. There are several considerations:
- Will you be the primary revenue source for your family?
- Typically, biblically based counseling is not covered by insurance, thus, you cannot charge industry standards.
- You must be debt free, or nearly debt free to do biblical counseling because of the limited income you’ll earn.
- You must have alternate revenue streams if you take a biblical counseling career path.
- Working on a church staff or a well-funded ministry that can pay you a salary is a good option.
Counseling must be a subset of what you do rather than the main thing you do. Counseling is not a good long-term career for your soul. Counseling people is one of the most difficult things you will ever do if you are good at it.
- To support yourself through counseling you have to counsel all day, five days a week. That is a dangerous and untenable model.
- You have to shorten your sessions to 55 minutes so you can meet more people. This will wear your out.
- I do not recommend counseling more than 12 to 16 hours per week.
- I recommend counseling for two hours. A discipleship model is a relational model not a counseling model.
4 – What do you want to be doing when you’re forty years old?
- Are you going to be married with children?
- Has God called you to singleness?
- Are you debt free or nearly debt free?
- Will counseling be a side job?
I recommend you become part of our ministry, go through my training, and let me be your long-term mentor (1) before, (2) during, and (3) after your training. I am a come alongside ministry that helps people figure out how they want to glorify God with their lives most effectively.
Be careful about predetermining the course of your life. Few people know what they are going to be after they grow up, and finish their lives that way.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life?
For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. – James 4:13-16 (ESV)
The Bible warns against that kind of thinking. Life is not that neat. There are many turns, angles, and redirects to life. Having someone who is willing to learn you, bring correction, cheer you on, and answer your questions is a huge benefit.
Also published on Medium.