Here at Biblical Counselling UK, we love to discover how individuals and churches are taking what they’re learning and applying it to the contexts in which they minister.
This week on the blog, we meet Jonny Parker – a former intern, current Certificate Course tutor and assistant pastor at St Andrew’s, Kendray – who is helping people to engage with God’s word in the tough seasons of life through producing spoken word videos and poems.
What first got you into biblical counselling?
A friend from church mentioned to me that she was taking a course in biblical counselling and asked if I would like to do it as well. If I’m honest I didn’t know what I was signing up for but I presumed it would help me to help others so I went for it! I then did another module a year later and got hooked – so went on to do 9 modules with CCEF altogether.
I think I originally took the modules to help others better but the material (in all the courses) had its biggest impact on me personally. It was thrilling to see how the riches of Christ, revealed in his Word, had such a deep and immediate impact on the realities of my life.
How do you use biblical counselling in your role as an assistant minister?
I use the biblical counselling training I have received when I meet up with people for more formal and intentional pastoral conversations. It has certainly better equipped me for pastoral ministry. Biblical counselling has also helped me in everyday, informal conversations. When I meet with people for a coffee or a pint, or when chatting with people after church on a Sunday morning. In those conversations I am seeking to be a better friend by listening, asking better questions, and offering to pray with and for the person.
I also think my training in biblical counselling has had a significant impact on my preaching. Listening well in the week helps you to apply God’s Word better at the weekend. What I’m seeking to do personally each day by applying the riches of Christ to the realities of my life I am seeking to do in Sunday sermons.
Why start to produce spoken word pieces that help people wrestle with pastoral matters?
There are lots of good Christian spoken word pieces online. Most of them have evangelistic intent – they are created for Christians to share with non-Christian friends. Other Christian spoken word pieces aim at explaining a particular doctrine. But I haven’t seen any that are for Christians wrestling or struggling with a particular pastoral problem. That’s why I wanted to write and record some. In spoken word, you can get across big ideas in a bite-size format.
So far I have recorded two: one encouraging Christians to read the Bible and the recent release is on the fear of man. I have also written poems on anxiety, shame, and a rather ambitious attempt at a Bible overview. So watch this space!
Talk us through your recent release on fear of man
The fear of man poem is a testimony. The broad category of fear of man continues to be a struggle for me. In the first half of the poem, I describe some of the scenarios and situations where I feel the struggle most keenly. In the second half of the poem, I seek to share some of the gospel truths that the Lord has used to help me. If people want to think further about the struggle with fear of man I would recommend Ed Welch’s books What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? and When People Are Big and God Is Small.
What is your hope and prayer for these pieces?
The videos could be shown in a small group setting or even in a counselling session and the themes discussed further afterward. I know some churches have even shown them in church Sunday services or youth groups. I hope that they offer a short and engaging summary of struggles many of us face and some gospel remedies to apply. My hope and prayer with the poem on the Bible is that Christians will be encouraged and inspired to read their Bibles. With the fear of man piece, I pray that people will desire to live a lifestyle of confession and repentance of our desire for self-glory, and desire God’s glory. And, as they do that, they would enjoy the liberation and freedom that lifestyle brings.