What is Pastoral Counseling? | Why get a Master’s in Pastoral Counseling? Skip to content

January 7, 2021

What is Pastoral Counseling and Why Should I get a Master’s in Pastoral Counseling?

Written By Grace Theological Seminary

People have been hurting ever since the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. Much of the hurt is due to the tragic reality that we live in a fallen world. Another source of the hurt is the intended or unintended consequences of the sins of others. And if we are honest, some of the hurt is due to our own sinful choices. When Christians are hurting, they often seek biblical guidance and spiritual help from their pastor through pastoral counseling.

What is Pastoral Counseling?

For the pastor, pastoral counseling is at once a sacred responsibility and a holy privilege. Pastoral counseling involves intentional and structured interaction between a person seeking help and a pastor who is eager to help. Within the context of a strictly confidential one-to-one conversation, the pastor prayerfully discerns the root problem underlying the counselee’s presenting issue. The pastor then applies Spirit-led biblical wisdom in an attempt to set goals for the counselee which promote spiritual growth and healing. With a compassionate heart and a sincere desire to help, the pastor may join these goals to an accountability structure. Throughout the process, the pastor provides biblical guidance and exhortation. 

Finding a Master’s in Pastoral Counseling 

If God has called you to serve His people as a pastor, you may desire to increase your competency in pastoral counseling. Grace Theological Seminary has two degree options for a master’s in pastoral counseling: the MA of Ministry Studies in Counseling (which considers legal and ethical issues in pastoral counseling) and MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. Our pastoral counseling degrees will help you form a solid biblical and theological foundation upon which to build your pastoral counseling ministry. 

Both degrees will survey pastoral counseling theories as well as pastoral counseling methods and techniques. These pastoral counseling programs will equip you with skills designed to increase pastoral counseling effectiveness in pre-marital counseling, marital counseling, and a variety of other problems in the church that call for good counsel. At the completion of either degree, you will feel confident and competent to offer pastoral counseling that promotes healing and restoration for hurting people. 

If you are interested in learning more about either master’s degree in pastoral counseling, please click the appropriate link below: 

Learn more about our Online M.A. of Ministry Studies in Counseling

Learn more about our residential M.Div. in Pastoral Counseling. 


Would you like to speak with someone about one of above the programs? Contact Mr. Rob Neufer at neuferr@grace.edu.     

Rock LaGioia

Rock LaGioia

Rock LaGioia, Professor of Pastoral Studies and Director of Doctoral Programs, is passionate about building up the body of Christ by training the next generation of effective church leaders. Rock has many years of pastoral experience and enjoys preaching and teaching sound doctrine regularly at worship services, conferences, and seminars.

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