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June 2014

When asked for help, what frames your advice?

  • Written by  Comment: Ps. Peter Sondergeld
Last year’s workshop was attended by many from across the community. Photo: Provided

A common question that we’ve all thought, asked or heard before is: Why don’t some people change?

I’m sure we’ve all had the experience where we have invested a large amount of time with someone and then it appears to go nowhere.

Helping people to change is core business for churches, but many Christians in the church really struggle with how to actually bring it about.

Over the past 100 years many different models of change have been developed and promoted, but it is only in recent times that Christians have really engaged in this particular area, and thought seriously about a model of change that is biblically faithful and biblically consistent.

One result of this is that churches and their people can end up feeling outgunned and unqualified to handle struggles like depression and anxiety. This is because many of us don’t have a well nuanced approach to helping people change.

We say that humanity’s problem is sin, but that sells the Bible well short of its capability in dealing with the core human condition. Most churches have a solid theology of justification, but what is their practical theology of sanctification? How do they help people change?

Typically we encourage people to pray against the Devil, read their bibles, be part of a small group and go to church regularly. Whilst all of these are good, the Bible is far more detailed in the way that it handles people and what is wrong with them.

Everyone counsels every day. Every day people ask for help and every day those who listen give counsel about what the problem is and how it can be remedied. If people are counselling all the time then one of the most important questions we should be asking is: What counsel are they giving?

Change is almost always a process and not an event, and God has decided in His wisdom, that other people would be the key agents of this change in our lives. No one is exempt from this call. Are you equipped to speak the truth to others in love (Ephesians 4:15)? Do you have a framework for helping others to incrementally move toward Christlikeness?

Come and join members of the Project Church at the upcoming Biblical Counselling Training, as they learn to see themselves, others and change through biblical lenses.

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