By Brad Hambrick
Editor’s note: Brad Hambrick serves as Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church and Instructor of Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Since he felt that this post would be beneficial to pastors who follow Between the Times he shared it with us. Below is an excerpt, but be sure to follow the link at the end to read the post in its entirety at Brad’s blog.
As a pastor, it will serve you well to get to know the mental health professionals in your community and identify several who have a strong faith commitment that can be a part of a trusted referral network. This post is meant to help you think through how to vet counselors in your community; whether (a) you are new to a community and building an initial referral network, or (b) a new counselor contacts your church and wants to become a referral resource.
In the eight questions below two priorities are attempted to be kept in balance:
- Integrity – You want to know each counselor you utilize sufficiently to be able to recommend them with integrity.
- Efficiency – You wear many hats and need to be able to vet potential counselors in a time frame that does not impede your ability to fulfill other ministry responsibilities.
It is preferable if you could meet in person with a counselor and discuss these eight questions. But, due to the number of counselors in their community, some churches choose to have a written questionnaire that they ask potential counselors to complete and only follow up in person with those who present as the best-fit for their church’s beliefs and needs.