"The Church as a Culture of Care" by T. Dale Johnson Jr. A Short Review
In "Diary of a Country Priest" by Georges Bernanos, the story unfolds as the young, idealistic priest meets grace that impacts and confronts both priest and parishioner. Very much like Chaucer's medieval parson, who cared for his flock at great cost to himself. This pastoral sense is what lies behind a new 168-page softback by T. Dale Johnson Jr., Executive Director of The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and the Director of Counseling Programs and Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The whole premise of the volume is soul-care should be reclaimed by church leaders, and how the congregation can be the healthy environment for such soul-care.
In a nutshell, the book is primarily focused on pastors and ministers returning to the biblical role of "prayer and the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). The ministry of the word includes preaching and bible teaching, but also formal and informal counseling. Most specifically and singularly, biblical counseling (nouthetic counseling). Sometimes it feels like the author is "guilting" pastors for not stepping up to their counseling task. At other times it seems like a diatribe against modern professional counseling and psychotherapy. But if one can move past those, it was, in many ways, an encouraging read and a good reminder. I recommend the book.