by Joel Comiskey
I believe that some people are more gifted than others to offer counseling. In fact, some people have a gift of counseling. This gift of counseling is actually called “exhortation” or “encouragement” in the Bible (Romans 12:8). The Greek word in Romans 12:8 is paraklesis, which refers to coming alongside someone to comfort and counsel.
Those who have studied and written on the gifts of the Spirit frequently refer to the Romans 12:8 gift as the counseling gift. Those with this gift love to listen, bear the burdens of others, and offer choice advice that ministers to those with needs.
Laura, a cell member, is very quiet and doesn’t like to speak in front of groups. But she comes alive in one-on-one counseling sessions. Often after the cell group, Laura will connect to those who are having problems, establish a relationship with the person, and then maintain a counseling relationship with the person.
All people need encouragement. Even those who outwardly smile and seem optimistic crash and burn. Perhaps what has driven them is a need for attention. And those with the gift of encouragement / counseling are able to offer that word that pierces through the disappointments and directs the person to the living God, where he or she can sit and listen to God in a new, fresh way.
Can you name a person who demonstrates this gift? Do you feel that you have the gift of counseling? Attempt to discover who has this gift in your cell group and then encourage the person to use it.