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The Pastor as Counselor: The Call for Soul Care (Powlison)

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David Powlison Examines the Unique Role of the Pastor as Counselor

A pastor inhabits multiple roles—teacher, preacher, youth leader, and counselor. Yet many church leaders feel unprepared to counsel church members who are struggling with difficult, multifaceted problems.

David Powlison reminds pastors of their unique role as the shepherds of God’s people, equipping them to apply biblical wisdom to the thoughts, values, moods, expectations, and decisions of those under their care.

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David Powlison (1949–2019) was a teacher, a counselor, and the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and was also the senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling



“David Powlison was a remarkable man. Out of his passion that the church of Jesus Christ take up the mantle of care for broken human beings in this fallen world, he became the quintessential leader of the biblical counseling movement. Out of his incredible gifting to communicate this with beauty and grace, he became one of the most compelling Christian authors of his generation. When he was finalizing the draft for The Pastor as Counselor, he told me it was the favorite thing he had ever written. I picked it up then and found it immediately compelling. Reviewing it again, I was more encouraged than I was the first time I read it. As a busy pastor myself, I promise that you and your church need to hear what Powlison has to say. If you are looking for a glorious, compelling, and clear introduction to the heart of Christ for his church, you will not find a better place to start than this book.” - Heath Lambert, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville; former Executive Director of ACBC, author, A Theology of Biblical Counseling and Finally Free

“David Powlison’s book is a profoundly fitting final gift to the church. It is a book that takes us to the very heart of everything David believed the church and her pastors should be, a vision that is simultaneously thrilling and challenging, visionary and practical, theologically rich and culturally astute. My work as a pastor is so much better because of it. This book will expand your pastoral ambitions and encourage you to be more like Christ. Every pastor will profit from it.” - Steve Midgley, Executive Director, Biblical Counselling UK; Senior Minister, Christ Church Cambridge; coauthor, The Heart of Anger

“Pastors have unique opportunities to counsel unlike anyone else. With his typical rich insights and thought-provoking analysis, David Powlison encourages pastors to counsel and shepherd their church members. Buy a copy and give this Christ-honoring book to your pastor. He’ll be strengthened and encouraged through it!” - Deepak Reju, Pastor of Biblical Counseling and Family Ministry, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC; author, The Pastor and Counseling

“When our preaching reaches people’s hearts with the gospel, it raises as many questions as it answers. That’s where our pastoral counseling comes in—gentle, honest conversations with sinners and sufferers who want Jesus at their personal point of need. David Powlison is a faithful guide, helping us pastors fulfill this deeper ministry, where people get traction for newness of life.” - Ray Ortlund, President, Renewal Ministries