Richard finally mustered up the courage one day after a morning worship service to ask Pastor Greenbush if he would counsel with, and try to help, a struggling homosexual who is serving the Lord. Immediately, Pastor Greenbush asked Richard if he was that person. Richard responded “Yes”. Pastor Greenbush said that he needed some time to pray about the matter.
Several weeks passed and there was no further exchange between them both about the matter. Richard however continued to minister. They both continued to relate on ministry issues. Richard finally decided to “break the deadlock” by asking for an appointment with the Pastor.
Pastor Greenbush then admitted to Richard that he had done a great deal of self examination and prayer, and that he was willing to meet with Richard. Pastor said that all of this would be new territory for him, but since he was so impressed with Richard’s sincerity he would try to help him.
During the period leading up to the formal appointment, Pastor Greenbush took time to examine his own life and his own moral standards. He needed to make sure that he could establish a relationship of freedom and acceptance, without abandoning his own moral standards and without somehow suggesting contempt for the ethic and theology to which he was committed personally as well as professionally. We now move to the Phase of Exploration.
Formal Session I
Pastor Greenbush: “Good day, my brother. I am really happy that we can share this time together. Let us begin with a word of prayer”.
After prayer – Pastor continued: “Tell me some more of your life; and what do you feel?”
Discussion Question 1
Are you comfortable with Pastor Greenbush’s opening sentences and action? Give reasons.
Richard was then allowed by Pastor to go into details. Richard described his boyhood experiences. The counselling session lasted for nearly three (3) hours; and Richard’s explanation was punctuated with some counselling inquiries from Pastor Greenbush. These questions were intended to see if there were factors in Richard’s early life that may have contributed to his sexual preference.
This first session lasted approximately three hours. The advantage given to pastoral counselling is notable in respect of the time factor which may be dedicated or allocated to sessions, as opposed to Benner’s recommendation regarding the time structured model. Pastors can see the member(s) at any time and in many situations during the exercise of their normal ministry activities.
Discussion Question 2
From your reading, research and experience, what could be some of these possible factors that would have surfaced during the session?