For Pastors: How to Vet Potential Counseling Referral Sources

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:

  1. Integrity – You want to know each counselor you utilize sufficiently to be able to recommend them with integrity.
  2. 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.

Read the rest of the post at Brad’s blog.

 

In Case You Missed It

Dr. Ivan Spencer recently posted about Dante’s Divine Comedy at Jamie Dew’s blog. Dr. Spencer writes:

Through the halls of time, you will not find a more haunting, surreal, and exhilarating vision than Dante’s Divine Comedy. The poem’s eerie and dreamy account retells the epic journey of Dante Alighieri though hell, purgatory, and heaven. His after-worldview, written over 700 years ago, unceasingly intrigues and inspires readers and artists today. My favorite artistic renditions flow from the brush of Salvador Dali and William Blake. Each produced 100 paintings, one for each canto, a legacy of this enduring classic. The work merits reading and study from a variety of disciplines, including theology, philosophy, cultural history, literary criticism, and aesthetics.

 

Brad Hambrick shared a post on his blog discussing a new letter writing tradition for his boys.

With my boys at the ages of 11 and 9, I am realizing that the years of influence that I have with them in our home are coming to an end much sooner than I would like (sigh). This is not the introduction for a blog post of regret, but one of intentionality.

 

For several years I have made it a discipline to write my wife at least 3 letters per year. This is a time to regularly reflect over our marriage, my level of engagement, and how the hopes-dreams-fears of life have changed over the last few months.

 

Recently, wife said, “You should write the boys letters too.” She’s right. I guess I never realized they know how to read now. We have taken lots of trips together. If you look over the review of each trip, you will be able to tell I put thought into their spiritual and character development on each trip.

 

But I realized I was counting on their memories to carry the content of those conversations into the future. Let’s be honest, kids remember events (i.e., flying on an air plane, riding down a water fall, rock climbing, etc…) more than conversations. Letters help compensate for that memory difference.

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford recently shared the top 25 (or so) books for a young theologian to own (and read). Dr. Ashford writes:

If ever in history there were a non-event, this is it: my top 25 (or so) books for a young theologian to own (and read). A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me his list of twenty-five books and it “got me to thinkin.” So here’s my list, but before I give the list, allow me to make several comments.

 

First, I’ve focused this list mainly on Christian doctrine and systematic theology, and certain other types of books that relate closely to those tasks. I’ve left out numerous wonderful books that fall in other categories (pastoral theology, biblical studies, etc.).

 

Second, this list includes quite a few books with which I disagree vigorously. A theologian’s library should contain more than a few books written by theologians outside of our “theological family,” so that he can come to the theological roundtable, listening and speaking in an informed and compelling manner.

 

Third, this list encourages the young theologian not to be a chronological snob (by limiting his reading to recent publications), but instead to read the old books, slowly, patiently, receptively.

 

Fourth, I’d like to hear your thoughts about what you would have included that I left out, and maybe what I included that you would have left out. I started out aiming to provide 25 recommendations, but ended up exceeding my own limit.

 

Ryan Higginbottom shared the following post on his blog earlier this week: “Read Like a Reader“.

Shortly after I became a Christian, wise friends put good books in my hands.

 

I was in college, and these volumes of theology and practical Christianity lived next to my textbooks. When reading for class, I paid attention to every detail, stuffing my brain to capacity. I read these new books the same way.

 

For me, reading was a way to learn and prepare. Books were an academic tool, nothing more.

 

At the Intersect Project website, Dr. David Jones reccommended 7 books on faith and economics. Dr. Jones writes:

Want to learn more about how faith intersects with everyday topics like money, wealth, poverty and economics? You can check out my new book Every Good Thing. In addition, you should add these seven books to your summer reading list.

In Case You Missed It

At his personal blog, Bruce Ashford recently shared 5 criteria he feels are important for choosing the next U.S. President. Dr. Ashford writes:

The 2016 election cycle has been a never-ending carnival of political wedgies. Nothing could have prepared us for the repetitive sequence of awkward and uncomfortable surprises we have experienced over the course of the past year.

 

At the beginning of the primary season, the two major political parties offered an unusually broad array of candidates that included liberals, conservatives, progressives, nationalists, socialists, and libertarians. In addition, they offered debates that were strikingly superficial and juvenile, more similar in character to a Saturday Night Live skit than to a serious debate about who should serve as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. On top of that, they revealed to us the deep fissures within the major parties and within the conservative and progressive movements; neither major party has a consensus candidate.

 

As the primary season comes to a close and the political parties narrow in on their nominees, many of us still have not decided for whom we will cast our vote. Which of the candidates would make the best President of the United States of America? As we the People consider our answer to this question, we should take into account the following criteria, each of which will significantly affect the way our next president will govern.

 

Tim Challies recently posted an article describing the transgender conversation you need to have with your family.

A friend of mine told me about her recent experience in an airport security line. She was dutifully passing through the metal detector when she heard a beep and was told she would need the pat-down procedure. It is the right of the traveler to have that procedure performed by someone of the same gender and so, as per protocol, the call went out for a female officer to assist. But as the pat-down began, my friend realized that the officer was undeniably biologically male though identifying as female. She did not know what to do or say, so simply allowed the pat-down to proceed. As she walked away, she realized that she was more surprised than offended. It had just never occurred to her that she might unexpectedly find herself being frisked by a man whom she had been told was a woman.

 

As you know, new laws are allowing transgender people to craft their own identity and then to have society treat them accordingly. A biological male who identifies as a woman is allowed to use the bathroom or locker room associated with his new identity. He is also granted the right to be considered female. In this way sex and gender are being deliberately disconnected so that words like “man” and “woman” have no necessary correlation to “male” and “female” or “masculine” and “feminine.” And, for that reason, we find ourselves facing new scenarios like the one my friend described. However, such situations are rare because transgenderism is rare.

 

But there is something that, to my mind, is of greater and wider concern. It is the fact that the same laws that allow transgender people to craft their own identity allow expansive rights to anyone else.

 

At the intersect project website, Carrie Kelly shared 5 lessons from the life of St. Patrick on trusting God without limits. Carrie writes:

During the 5th century, St. Patrick of Ireland bravely engaged a barbaric culture for the sake of Christ, and his legacy changed the course of history, not only for that society but arguably for the entire Western world.

 

Captured by Irish raiders at his father’s country villa at age 15, Patrick spent 6 years watching his master’s livestock for long isolated days on end, spending much of his time in prayer and communion with God. Finally escaping, he made his way back to his home in England only to have a dream of the Irish calling him back to the land of his captors to share the good news of a God who loved them. By the end of his life of ministry, numerous churches and monasteries had been set up all over Ireland and “countless number” had been baptized into the Church.

 

How could one man have had such an impact — and what can we gain from his example? Here are five lessons you can learn from St. Patrick of Ireland.

 

Marie McDonald posted an article at The Peoples Next Door showing that church community has an outward focus too.

Think for a moment about Christian community. Typically, the term conjures up ideas of potluck dinners, rallying around a struggling small group member, or other forms of internal church focus. While these are great, it is only the beginning of godly community.

 

If the church is primarily meant to be a worshipping community, it involves not only our gathering together but also the way we minister to the community around us.

 

In John 13, Jesus tells his followers, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” But we often miss the next part, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” So, Jesus is saying that the way we love one another will be our witness to the community.

 

However, how will the non-Christian community know of our love and unity if we focus all of our efforts inwards? Do we expect them to come banging on our doors, wanting to be a part?

 

Brad Hambrick posted an article at his blog discussing the Bible for over achievers. Brad writes:

The Bible can be a dangerous book for over achievers. When a God-loving, passionate, Type A person reads his or her Bible every command feels like a personal assignment. This is incredible, at least for a while. Personal growth, evangelism, and discipleship abound as the over achiever tries to capitalize on every opportunity.

 

Usually, several predictable things happen.

 

Earlier this week Barnabas Piper blogged about 4 things he learned about work from a peewee soccer team.

My first grade daughter just wrapped up her spring soccer season. If you’ve ever watched kids soccer you would not think there is much to learn about anything but the most rudimentary instructions.

 

“Wrong way!”

“Kick the Ball!”

“Run!”

 

Over the course of the season, though, I began to notice a few things that consistently occurred that turned the outcome of every game. Each of them is directly applicable to your work and mine.