We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new Pastoral Care course – a joint initiative between Biblical Counselling UK and Crosslands Training. Here on the Biblical Counselling UK blog, we have a chance to meet some of those involved and hear a little more of what is to come.
What’s the new course all about?
Written by Steve Midgley and Helen Thorne, the Foundation course in Pastoral Care is a 9-session course for individuals and church groups. It helps people, with no prior training in biblical counselling, to begin to wrestle with why pastoral care is important in church and how we can all be involved in doing it well. It does not aim to equip people to become expert counsellors or paid therapists – rather it’s designed to help normal Christians in normal churches to move towards each other, in all the varied circumstances of life, and help each other persevere, discover hope and change to be more like Christ. Steve’s vision for the course is “that it would help anyone who takes it to learn more about the many ways God uses us to move toward others with wise pastoral love”.
What does the course cover?
Over the series of 9 sessions, the course helps learners understand the ways in which the church is a designed to be a place of care; the way in which we are all people who struggle and the way the Bible understands the process of change. It then seeks to equip students for involvement in that corporate process of change by looking at the importance of character, listening well and speaking in ways that are both Scripture-fuelled and kind. The final couple of sessions enable learners to see the wonderful place of practical service in the local church, and to navigate some of the trickier topics surrounding caring for others, such as power and confidentiality. Overall, it provides a basic training – a foundation – in church-based pastoral care.
Who is the course for?
Anyone involved in walking alongside others in their local church will benefit from taking this course. The only prerequisites are to love God, love others and be able to engage with online course material written in English. But the course might be particularly helpful for small group leaders, members of pastoral care teams, and other mature Christians who find themselves having lots of conversations with people and want to be better equipped to point people to Christ in the good times and the bad. For some it may also turn out to be a first step towards more in-depth training in biblical counselling.
Why was the course written?
Biblical Counselling UK has long had a passion for a short, accessible course to introduce church members to pastoral care. The Certificate in Biblical Counselling is wonderful, but not everyone is able to set aside the time and resources necessary to engage in 3 years part-time study. Just as we were thinking of our need to offer something more foundational, Crosslands Training were looking to revise their Foundation resources and wanted to include a new pastoral care module as part of the curriculum. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for partnership and over the past 6 months we have had a wonderful time developing the material together.
Jason Ramasami, a learning design specialist with Crosslands, has worked closely with Steve and Helen on this course, adding a visual dimension to help embed key ideas. Together we hope we’ve created a learning experience that is biblical, accessible and practical.
How does the course work?
Whilst it is quite possible to study the material alone at home (it’s online, flexible – you can start any time) the best way to study would be as part of a church group. Every student can work through the reading, reflections, videos, exercises and case studies whenever suits them but, if studying as a group, there will also be opportunities for you to organise meetings amongst yourselves to discuss what you have been learning and work out how best to put it into action in your local context.
The course includes a mixture of video and reading content, images that illustrate key ideas, and activities to reflect, recap, pray, and apply what you are learning.
What is your prayer for the course?
Helen Thorne, one of the course’s creators, says that her prayer is that
“Christians up and down the country will be more inspired to walk alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ in intentional ways; that churches will be better equipped to offer pastoral care that is deeply rooted in Christ and that people who are struggling will know the joy of help and hope in even the toughest of times”.
Jen Charteris, Executive Director of Crosslands Training says:
“The ministry of Biblical Counselling UK has been an enormous blessing to the church in the UK. We praise God for the way this ministry continues to grow and develop as the Lord enables it. Partnering with Helen and Steve on this project has been brilliant: gospel collaboration at its best! We commend this new Foundation course to churches. Our prayer is that it serves local churches and their leaders well, helping to form disciples whose godly care for one another and for the lost brings glory to Christ”.
Please do join with us in praying for those things.
How do I find out more?
As we’ve said, you can take the course as an individual, but do consider taking it with a group – as well as discounted pricing, group study tends to have so much more impact! The learning platform makes group study very easy to co-ordinate, and it means you can interact with each other on reflection questions, set dates for completing different steps, and have a group leader or moderator who can track how everyone is doing and send messages and reminders.
Our partners at Crosslands can get you set up as a group, or if you need to discuss group study options you can email the team on email@example.com to set up a call. If you want to study on your own, you can sign up and start right away on the Crosslands website.