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Counselor Training Guide

Counselors are important during revival services, but equipped counselors are essential. This guide will assist your church in training decision counselors to help those who come forward during the invitation time.

Who should be a counselor?

  • Individuals who are confident in their personal salvation
  • Individuals who actively attend and faithfully serve the church
  • Individuals who have completed counselor training to the satisfaction of the pastor or his representative
  • Individuals who will readily make themselves available during revival services

Guidelines for counselors:

  • Pray for all services
  • Dress appropriately (this does not mean “dress up”)
  • Be friendly, kind, and caring
  • Women counsel women; men counsel men
  • Counsel one person at a time
  • Have breath mints available
  • Maintain confidentiality after counseling

We shouldn’t make assumptions about a person’s salvation. I always ask what D.L. Moody asked, “If you were to die tonight where would spend eternity?” The person will answer in one of three ways:

  • Heaven
  • Hell
  • I don’t know

In most cases, I lead people through the sinner’s prayer just before the invitation time. When they come forward you may ask, “Did you pray to receive Jesus tonight?” If they answer “Yes”, then confirm their decision using the Romans Road to Salvation approach provided in this material. The Romans Road is a tool that helps counselors explain God’s plan of salvation.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

Salvation or Assurance of Salvation

It’s important to understand that we are not the Holy Spirit! Always allow Scripture to confirm why someone is responding during the invitation – whether they need salvation or assurance of a prior decision for Christ.

First, go over what the Bible says regarding salvation:

And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Acts 2:21)

Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. (John 6:37)

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

Say, “Have you ever sincerely asked God to save you from your sin?” If the person affirms that he or she has, then ask, “According to the Word of God, do you believe that He did?” Again, if the individual acknowledges faith in God according to His Word then His Spirit will bear witness within that person’s spirit that they are saved. If there is still uncertainty, however, then use the Romans Road to guide the individual to place his or her trust in Christ Jesus.

People often struggle with doubt or despair, even though they have previously placed their faith in Christ. In that case, ask if there is any sin of which they need to repent. Things such as bitterness, resentment, gossip, an unforgiving spirit, or divisive behavior can cause a person to doubt that he or she is really a Christian. Explain that being a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean they will never sin again, but that known sin should be confessed quickly. God has provided a way to cleanse us from daily sin, just as a bar of soap cleans us physically:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Again, ask if he or she believes God’s Word, then help the person to confess any known sin to the Lord in prayer.

Gospel Tracts and Materials

Your church may already use a specific gospel tract or have material in place for counselors. If you do not, however, I encourage you to order materials such as Billy Graham’s, Steps to Peace with God, or the Four Spiritual Laws tract. It can be helpful for new Christians to have something in their hands that they can refer back to in the days that follow.

No matter what material you use, make sure that it points to what God’s Word says regarding salvation and faith in Jesus Christ.

  • God Loves You!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

  • God has a wonderful plan for your life

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b)

The Romans Road to Salvation 

  • Our sin separates us from God.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

  • The penalty for sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

  • Jesus paid the penalty for our sin.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

  • If we repent of our sin, place our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, confessing Him as Lord and Savior, then we will be saved from our sins.

For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)

…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)

Many counselors will memorize the Romans Road but we should also recognize that it can be intimidating for some. Using the Romans Road can be effortless by simply creating a map, of sorts. Start by writing the first verse (Romans 3:23) in the opening cover of your Bible. Then, after each verse, write the address of the next verse in the margin. Following your “map” of the Romans Road will keep your focus on the person you are counseling with and off of your ability to remember it in the urgency of the moment.

Other Decisions

People often come forward during the invitation because they are broken over the unbelief of a family member or close friend, dealing with a hurt, or grieving over a death. Take time to listen then pray with them. Use the person’s name as you pray, whenever possible. Calling on the Lord on their behalf is powerful.  

Follow-up

  • Decision Cards – It’s important to record every decision. Your church may already have a decision card, or you may want to have a card made for this specific meeting. Be sure to fill out a card for each person, not an entire family on one card. It’s much easier to pinpoint what each decision is when individuals are answering the questions rather than a spouse or parent answering for all members of the family. Only that person knows where they stand with the Lord. In order to have effective follow-up, every card should ask for:

Name

Address

Email and phone number

Church membership (if applicable)

Decision made: Salvation, Assurance, prayer need, repentance/restoration.

Name of counselor

  • Baptism – I encourage you to set up a time for baptism as soon as possible. A church member who receives Christ may think their previous baptism is sufficient, but Scripture teaches that it is not. I believe strongly in believer’s baptism, meaning that it is done out of obedience after becoming a follower of Christ. Baptism without salvation is simply getting wet. 
  • Connect – Encourage new believers and new church members to get active in a Sunday school class or small group as soon as possible. These smaller environments provide several advantages:

Connect with other believers on a more personal level

Someone if more likely to notice when they are not there due to illness, travel, or a family crisis

Creates a sense of community as they “do life” together

Spiritual accountability

 

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