To explain why I felt the need to develop a site for pastors that would equip them
to be counselors demands that I give some necessary background about my ministry.
God called me to preach when I was 19 years old.
He also called me to pastor my first church when I was 19 years old.
I was pastoring a church with more than 350 members and had a weekly attendance
that averaged 150 in services each Sunday.
I am thankful that God gave me enough insight about my experience or the lack of it
that I never attempted to do more than I was capable, and I knew that I didn't know
the answers to everybody's problems, and I still don't.
I was fortunate to be the pastor of very dedicated and experienced Christians who had
served God for many years.
Therefore, I preached, visited the sick, the elderly, the unchurched, and the unsaved.
I have always loved people, and made it a point to know every member and every child
who attended our church.
I visited our members in their homes and in their businesses and in their recreational activities.
Because of my lack of experience, and because of my youth, I had very few counseling
opportunities in my early ministry.
My minor in college was psychology, and my minor in seminary was psychology.
I had some excellent courses in seminary on counseling by professors who had written books
on the subject.
About nine years passed before I had many opportunities to counsel.
The first church that I pastored after seminary provided many opportunities for counseling.
I still knew that I didn't have the answers for people's problems, but I also knew that God did.
The first difficulty that I had in counseling happened when a male member of our congregation
was in church on Sunday morning without his wife.
They were always together.
After the service, he lingered behind and asked me if I would talk to him about something
I met with him, and learned that his wife had left him and was staying with friends
in a nearby city.
She called me the following day, and I met with her and learned why she had left.
She told me that this man, who was so quiet and shy and grew beautiful roses,
had become violent with her.
She would be awaken in the night by him beating on her.
He was accusing her of running around with teenage boys.
This couple had two teenage children.
They worked at the same factory.
He drove them both to work every morning.
They were never apart, and I knew that there was no way she would ever be
with anyone else.
I came to the conclusion that he was having serious mental problems.
I did not feel that I was capable of helping this couple.
So, I went into the city, and asked a pastor friend who was more experienced
and pastored a very large church if he would be willing to talk with this couple.
I'll never forget what he said to me that day.
He said: " Harold, I am sorry but I just do not have the time with all that
I have upon me.
You have been trained and taught to do this, so just ask for God to help this couple.
They are trusting you as their pastor to help them through this."
So, I met with the husband privately, and I met with the wife privately,
and God revealed to me through those conversations their problem.
The husband was 48 years old, and the wife was 34 years old.
I was not aware of their age difference.
The husband told me that when they arrived at work each morning his wife
would reach over and kiss him before she started work.
She did this every morning, but then one morning, she didn't.
So, this caused him to become paranoid, and he began imagining all the things that
she must be doing for she was still young and pretty, and he was much older
and felt that he was losing her.
They had not communicated with each other for a week.
So, after I had talked with both of them, and learned what had happened,
I set a time for both of them to sit with me, and let me explain to them
what had happened.
He asked for her forgiveness, and expressed how very much he loved her.
She forgave him and expressed that she loved him very much and wanted to spend
the rest of her life with him.
I learned from that experience that church members who love their pastor,
and who know their pastor loves them would prefer to go to him with their very
personal and serious problems.
They also knew that I would never tell anyone, including my wife, about their
problems or the counseling session.
I love pastors -- many have been and are my closest friends, and I know
dozens of pastors who never involve themselves in counseling.
Out of the many pastors I know -- I know of no pastor today who are counseling
When someone come seeking their help, they send them to a secular psychologist
or they might send them to a pastor who counsels.
A Barna survey stated that 41% of all church members go to their pastors for counseling.
I do believe that most every pastor can be an effective counselor.
I also believe that most pastors feel inadequate to deal with the problems
that many of their members are facing.
That is why I have developed this site of Practical Pastoral Counseling.
If a pastor (or mothers or fathers or husbands or wives or even young people)
would take the time to learn some practical techniques and understandable psychology,
then that pastor or Christian can become a very competent and capable and caring counselor.
I never desired to be a counselor.
I wanted to be an evangelist and a pastor.
But God sent people to me that needed help with their troubles and problems.
And I learned that when God sent someone to me that He would provide the resources
and the insight that I needed to enable that person to understand themselves
and their problems and to discover solutions.
God placed me in a pastorate in a county where there only one other person
doing any counseling, and that was limited to her congregation.
People who needed counseling were driving 60 and 70 miles to find counselors.
In the mid-60's people throughout our county began to call upon me for counseling.
In the first place, I was cheap.
I never charged anyone for counseling nor did I ever take anything for counseling.
I considered counseling as a part of my ministry to which God had called me.
And when I encountered a problem that was not familiar to me, I did my homework,
and visited libraries, and in most occasions, I purchased books on the problems.
Everything on all my sermon sites are freely given -- nothing is for sale!
I have many friends (Christians and others) who do not understand why I would never charge.
I live on a limited income, and I have been retired since 1996.
All of my sermon sites are done at my expense, and the software that I use is freeware.
All of the web sites that my sermons are on are free.
Now I will have to acknowledge that they are not mine, they are God's.
Everything I have, and every thing I know, and every skill I have, are gifts from God.
Because of a heart attack that I had more than three years ago, I am very limited
in what I am capable of doing.
But the one thing that I do every day is to spend 6 to 8 hours preparing Sermons
and other resources to share with pastors.
And I am so grateful to God that He has given me this opportunity to continue
to serve Him and and continue to be useful.
I am so blessed!
More than 50% of those I counseled were not members of our congregation.
I was also blessed to have help from doctors, human service social workers, attorneys, judges,
law enforcement, school leaders, government leaders, and Christian psychologists in a nearby city.
I never hesitated to refer people when that was needed.
These are some of the types of counseling that I have had:
Marriage counseling, pre-marriage counseling, family counseling, counseling teenagers,
Counseling CEO's of large corporations, counseling law enforcement officers
-- local and state, and government leaders.
Counseling educators, school teachers, attorneys, physicians, health care providers.
Counseling cross-dressers, child abusers, suicidal clients, abusers of wives,
infidelities, prostitutes, alcoholics, homosexuals, agnostics, drug addicts, multiple-personalities.
Counseling of owners of million dollar businesses, counseling factory workers.
Counseling of other pastors concerning family problems and infidelity on their part,
and some denominational leaders.
My counseling has taken place over 59 years of ministry.
Pastors, get involved with counseling your members -- it will bless you and create a bond
between you and your members that will expand your ministry and enlarge your church.