This is a transcript of brief remarks delivered by Dr. Wingard, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Dean of Students at the RTS Jackson Senior Banquet on Mary 14, 2021.
Tonight, I’ve been asked to offer a few words of encouragement to graduating counselors and pastors. So, here we go: I encourage you – counselors and pastors – to acknowledge your need for each other. Pastors need working friendships with counselors, and counselors need working friendships with pastors. Both pastors and counselors will have more powerful ministries if they work with each other.
Pastors deal with things corporately and cannot be involved intensely with the personal issues of each member of a growing congregation – the needs are too great. And here’s the really sad thing – the more gifted a pastor is at counseling, the more people will show up at his study to be counseled. If a pastor is not careful, the time he needs to prepare for pulpit ministry, to deliver routine pastoral care, and to oversee church administration will disappear. Sadly, his success as a counselor can contribute to his failing in the shepherding work to which God calls him.
Pastors can also be pushed beyond their limits. So can congregations. As the moral dissolution of our society accelerates at a frightening pace, even mature congregations can be overwhelmed. They lack the personal resources and the practical know-how to care adequately for the long-term consequences of addictive behaviors, and trauma, and broken family systems that transmit destructive conduct from generation to generation.