Competent to Counsel

An Interview with Bill Shannon, Pastor of Discipleship Counseling

“When I started out in counseling, I remember thinking: none of these people have the answer. Back then, a lot of counseling would try to integrate Scripture with ideas that seemed to work in other disciplines, rather than just using the Bible itself. So when I was introduced to biblical counseling (or discipleship counseling), I was absolutely struck with the thought that this is life-changing. This actually helps people. In some cases, people were getting saved, and in others, people were changing their lives radically because they were being confronted with the Word of God. This is the way I like to put it: sermons and Bible teaching bring the Word of God to us—counseling brings us to the Word of God. People hear the Word taught faithfully, and eventually they realize their lives need to be held up to the truth and refined by applying it closely and consistently.”

Bill Shannon, our Discipleship Counseling pastor, talks about the transforming power of God’s Word in two ways. It works first in our hearts to convict us of sin as we hear the truth, and then gives us instruction on how to turn from sin and put on righteousness as we bring ourselves to the Word in repentance. The Discipleship Counseling classes here at Grace are centered on these principles.

“Discipleship Counseling is a three-level curriculum, and it starts out with an overview of theology—teaching about the supremacy of God and the sufficiency of His Word. I think, especially being at Grace Church, we know in our heads that Scripture is sufficient, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in our hearts. With these classes, we’re trying to help people get that truth into their hearts and learn to believe they can actually trust God’s Word. Once we’ve established that foundation, we look at the practical things like marriage and family, and other specific issues like communication, depression, and anxiety. We also talk about things like addictions (or “enslavements”), decision making, and the will of God. The end result of taking these classes is hours of both biblical counseling and practical study.”

“Romans 15:14 says that we are all competent to counsel or instruct one another. What does that mean? Well, if somebody comes to you and says, look, I’m struggling with anger—where do you go in Scripture? We can all call it sin, but where do you go to offer them counsel? Those are the kinds of things you should be able to help somebody understand. Everyone who takes these classes, whether they become counselors or not, will be able to help people in their families, Bible studies, and neighborhoods by showing them that Christ does have the answer and pointing out where it’s found. I usually tell people, if you’re unsure about taking the class, give me two weeks and I think you’ll be convinced in that time that this will greatly benefit your personal fight against sin and your ministry to other people.”


Bill Shannon image

Bill Shannon

Pastor, Elder - Anchored

Instructor - Grace Equip

Pastor - Women’s

Pastor - Counseling

- Discipleship Counseling

Staff Pastor - Grace Community Church