Pastor Forums, a time and place where pastors and ministers can come together and discuss issues relevant to their ministry and their lives. Pastor Forum provides a nurturing space for pastors and ministers. Riverside Church provides a spiritual and professional space for preachers and teachers. What happens after seminary and graduate school, Pastor Forum and Spiritual Formation For Teachers at the Riverside Church in NYC answers the question.

Family and Marriage Counseling

Seminary has provided an opportunity to receive training in issues to be faced in the religious community. We learn how to preach and how to teach. It is however in the course relating to human relations that we learn how to reach. Barrett has provided a foundation for understanding the family as a unit, and the individuals in the family. He has helped us to understand the complex interactions between husband and wife, and how to use spirituality to help them realize their better selves.

Dr. Barrett, in a course relating to Boundaries in a marriage, provided us with the information to assist individuals before marriage, and help in conflict relations in a marriage. His also provided some understanding of the different personality variables which human being bring into any relationship. The courses taught by Professor Barrett [1]continues to provide the academic tools

necessary for the development of effective ministers in the field of Christian service. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Barrett in his demonstration of a spiritual therapist. When he speaks, it is easy to see the spirit of the Lord in all of his presentations. His voice is soft and he project the attitudes and behaviors, which he wants his students to have in their spiritual work. Dr. Barrett goes on to describe the settings for effective counseling. He describes the setting when counseling should take place. Dr. Barrett provides valuable insight on how to use the effective techniques, which we have studied. He demonstrates the Rodgers Person Centered Approach, where we learned how to enter into a relationship with the client, and help the clients to believe that for that moment and that time that we were completely at one with them. Barrett assisted us with understanding how to work with families. The techniques, which he demonstrated were very effective. The idea of not taking side by interviewing individuals away from their partners was very effective. He demonstrated for us effective phone techniques, and what to say or not to say during phone intake. Most effective was the information provided with respect to the personal appearance of the individuals who would be involved in counseling. Counseling is a profession, and as such the individuals involved should dress and carry themselves in a professional manner.

Dr. Johnson has provided up to date survival skills for effective counseling. The pastor may have the best intentions in the world, but if he is not aware of the dangers and pitfalls of dealing with human being who have a meaning , purpose and even agendas outside of the church, serious consequences could result. The pastor who called on me for counseling could have benefited from Dr. Johnson’s sessions. Perhaps he would not be having the stress that he is experiencing his he had been made aware of how to protect yourself in some situations. While he was praying, the individual who he was praying for and trying to help, was trying to hurt him. Dr. Johnson technique of watch as well as pray, and pray with your eyes open can have positive results in the relationship building that is necessary for effective counseling.

Clinebell was good, and Barrett was effective. Johnson however, provided a wake up call about what pastoral counseling is all about. Johnson brings the real world into the classroom. He provided the students with the reality therapy that was needed if we are to become effective pastoral counselors. Johnson also provided information with respect to how the pastoral counseling profession can have significant means of financial achievement. With the information provided, it is possible for pastoral counseling to be a win/win situation.  



The Roles of the Pastor

The understanding of the nature of the pastor’s role within the church determines to a large extent one’s position on whether or not a woman should serve as pastor/elder of the congregation. Four main models of pastoral roles are generally held among Christians and each of them has quite different implications.

Sacramental Role. A first pastoral model may be called the sacramental role. According to this model, which is held by the Eastern Orthodox, the Roman Catholic and to a lesser degree the Anglican church, the pastor is seen primarily as a priest (sacerdos) whose central function in the worship service is to preside at the eucharistic (Lord’s Supper) celebration. This view developed early in the history of Christianity as the Lord’s Supper came to be understood as being essentially a sacramental reenactment of the atoning death of Christ. This development led to the view that the person presiding at the eucharistic sacrifice functioned as a priest, acting on behalf of not only the congregation, but of the very person of Christ.

This is the line of reasoning present in the Vatican II declaration, Inter Insignores, which argues that at the consecration of the eucharist the priest acts “in persona Christi, taking the role of Christ to the point of being his very image.”2 Since the priest becomes the very image of Jesus Christ to the congregation, then it is only fitting that he should be a man and not a woman, for Jesus was a man and not a woman. According to these church traditions women cannot be ordained as priests because by their very nature they are incapable of receiving the “indelible character,” that is, the permanent divine grace conferred through the sacrament of ordination.

This sacramental view of the priesthood founders on three counts. First, the New Testament makes it unequivocally clear that there is no longer a special class of priests as was in Old Testament times. Christ has fulfilled and done away with the Old Testament priesthood (Heb 5:4-6; 7:27; 9:24-28; 10:9-14). By His sacrificial death Christ has opened to all direct access to God’s throne of grace (Rom 5:2; Eph 3:12; Heb 10:19-22). Baptized and believing Christians need no human mediator because they are all “a holy priesthood” capable of offering “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5).

Second, the Lord’s Supper is never regarded in the New Testament as a sacrifice in itself or as a reenactment of Christ’s atoning death. It is simply presented as a memorial of Christ’s sacrificial death (1 Cor 11:26). No special class of priests is needed to preside over its celebration. Lastly, if the priest represents the person of Christ and not His masculinity, then the resemblance between Christ and the priest need not be sexual but spiritual and consequently women could become priest and clergy.



[1] Dr. Carlton Barrett, Theories of Personality, U. Theology Seminary, New York. Dr. Barrett is a Professional Therapist, he has devoted his life to developing programs that can assist individuals and families live a more productive life. Dr. Barrett has developed many community-based centers and family workshops.

Leave a Reply