Lasting change takes place in community. Christians were never meant to live in isolation. In fact, God intended the community of believers to assist one another in making lasting change for the glory of God (Romans 15:1-2, Ephesians 4: 11-16, Philippians 2:1-4).
You may be wondering what advocacy means in the context of Biblical Soul Care. Because we believe that transformational change happens in the community of believers, we ask that all counselees bring an advocate with them to their counseling sessions.
AN ADVOCATE IS SOMEONE WHO:
- loves God,
- firmly believes in the sufficiency of God’s Word,
- cares deeply for the counselee, and
- is available to attend counseling session with the counselee.
Advocates are an amazing addition to formal counseling and, in a few words, are a “spiritual friend” (Proverbs 17:17). They can be a life-giving part in the change process for the counselee as they walk through the valley alongside the hurting person. If they have history with the counselee, they can provide important context that would otherwise be unavailable to the counselor. Advocates are intercessors who pray for and with the counselee before, during, and after the sessions. They remind the counselee of what they were taught, encourage them, and seek to hold them accountable. Advocates even do and help with the assigned homework as they are willing to grow and learn next to the counselee.
TWO ADDITIONAL NOTES ON ADVOCACY:
- Our counselors will help with the selection of and give final approval to the advocates. Ideally, we desire advocates to get a recommendation from a leader within the community of Harvest Bible Chapel. This is important as we are looking to leverage the power of mature believers who will not judge but will intentionally pray, encourage, challenge, or even rebuke the counselee instead of being enablers, or flesh-sympathizers.
- As a general rule, first degree relatives (spouses, parents, siblings, etc.) don’t make for good advocates. We have seen that people who live both roles struggle to remain objective which may hinder the counseling process. Again, our counselors will try discern with you if your initial choice is a good fit.