Book Review-Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry

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Siang-Yang Tan and Eric T. Scalise, Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry (revised and updated). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016. $19.99   Paperback, 320 pp. ISBN 978-0-3105-2427-4.

Counseling ministries are becoming more and popular in local churches and Christian organizations around the World. That is, in part, the result of an increasing need for mental health first aid in our society. Though proliferation of counseling ministries is an increasing reality, there are many local churches that would like to offer counseling services but do not know where to start.

The first thing to do, then, is to research among the available literature in the field of lay counseling ministries. It is necessary to mention that there are not many books out there addressing this topic. Among the few books offering guidance to local churches to train lay people in the area of counseling, the book Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministryis a superb and self-explanatory resource. This edition is the most recent update of a classic work that has been helping church leaders and Christian organizations for decades. The authors of this book accumulate decades of experience in both the practice Christian counseling and teaching counseling to students, and both are well-known and respected professionals. So, sit back and relax, you are in good hands.

The book contains twelve chapters, all of them providing key elements pertinent to the formation of lay counselors:

  1. The Need for Lay Counseling Ministries.
  2. The Biblical Basis for Lay Counseling.
  3. A Biblical Model for Effective Lay Counseling.
  4. The Research Literature on Lay Counseling and the Role of Faith.
  5. Planning and Building a Dynamic Ministry of Lay Counseling.
  6. Selection of Lay Counselors.
  7. Training of Lay Counselors.
  8. Supervision of Lay Counselors.
  9. Evaluation of Lay Counselors.
  10. The Local Church, Community Resources, and Lay Counseling.
  11. Ethics, Liability, and Pitfalls.
  12. Stress, Burnout, and Self-Care in Lay Counseling.

The authors are aware of the intricacies and challenges opening a counseling may represent. Ethical, legal, and professional, just to mention few, are some of the aspects involving lay counseling.  However, Tan and Scalise address every single aspect concerning training lay counselor. Their volume is a thorough work that will make your training experience more enjoyable and practical.

In addition to the twelve chapters and with the purpose of providing guidance to future counseling ministries, this volume offers five appendices containing forms lay counselors can use in their ministries. The appendices are templates of basic forms every lay counseling ministry should have. The appendices are as follows:

  1. Lay Counselor Application Form.
  2. Lay Counselor Application Reference Forms.
  3. Post-counseling Questionnaire-Client Form.
  4. Post-counseling Questionnaire-Counselor Form.
  5. Sample Lay Counseling Forms.

Summarizing, if you do not know where to start in starting a lay counseling ministry by training lay counselors, you may want to consider the book Lay Counseling, a resource that will lead you in such a challenging adventure. A practical and effective work.

Buy this book from publisher or Amazon

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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