(Tim) Readers may remember how the Rev. Fred Harrell took his San Francisco church plant, City Church, out of the Presbyterian Church in America and into the Reformed Church in America. Wanting to rebel against God's Creation Order and the Apostolic Scriptural commands of 1Timothy 2:9-15, Pastor Harrell led his flock into one of the many denominations where this sin is approved. Pastor Harrell now has woman elders.
Here's a FAQ from the church's web site:
Q: Why does City Church charge for counseling?
A: City Church has provided and will continue to provide "pastoral care" to its members free of charge. Pastoral care usually involves 1-3 sessions with a pastor, and covers a wide range of issues from spiritual struggles to relational difficulties. However, since its inception, City Church has referred out to local psychologists and counselors people needing more clinical expertise and longer term care. It has been a desire from the beginning to start a professional, fee-for-service counseling center at City Church providing outstanding care from a distinctly Christian worldview. To this end, City Church Counseling Center will provide care at or below the standard rates of psychologists and counselors with similar credentials and experience. Our doctoral level staff will receive the highest fees, yet still at or below San Francisco market rates. Our deacons are committed to walking through a process of financial evaluation and assistance, as needed. Further, as City Church Counseling Center grows, so will its staff, providing counseling at a variety of rate scales, offering individual/marital/family therapy as well as an opportunity for therapy groups, seminars on a range of emotional/spiritual topics, and much more. The fees will go towards the development of City Church Counseling Center and its team of professional clinicians, as well as a dedicated space and staff for the center, all the while committed to providing the highest level of care for City Church and our surrounding community.
Should churches charge for counseling when more than two or three sessions are needed?
Dunno, but it reminds me of this light bulb joke:
Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one, but the bulb has to really want to change.
Q: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None--I'll just sit here in the dark.
Would a D.Min. qualify a guy or girl for the "highest fees" their "doctoral level staff" get? How about an Ed.D.? A Th.D.? An L.H.D.?
Actually, those questions are academic. Sure I'm Presbyterian with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities appertaining thereunto, but I never got no "D" at all. Worse, I never got no Scottish accent, my church never got no pipe organ, and my session never got me no sabbatical.
You feel my pain.