The church is known as a common place for healing, spiritual expression and connecting with God for the benefit of daily living and relationships. In the African American community church is known as the one place salves were able to express themselves without feeling shame, guilt, or judgement. Throughout centuries, pastors were highly respected and regarded as counselors. W. E. B. DuBois noted that the “black” church was the only social institution that started in Africa among slaves and survived in America. In this article you will see how the church is the perfect place to partner with Relationship Experts or Counselors. For the sake of this article, the title Relationship Expert is being used to identify a Licensed as well as trained facilitator who works with couples.
1-Church is the first resource for many when they are seeking emotional help, physiological needs, or family and relationship sustainability. Because the “black” church already has the target population, it would be befitting to have an appointed person who is familiar with how to assess specific areas of relationship challenges such as emotional closeness and intimacy, relational control, communication and conflict resolution.
2-Non-bias or judgmental approach by a relationship expert makes it much easier for couples to be open and talk about real issues in their marriage. Individuals who are private and struggle with the shame and embarrassment of having issues will typically seek for help outside of their community. A Relationship Expert working next to a pastor will cultivate a culture of openness. Although congregants may not express feeling judged, there is negative connotation they may feel has labeled them as being incapable of managing their own homes.
3-It adds a valued support to any ministry to have a person skilled, trained and educated that will work with the pastor or clergy. There is a high number of pastors who reported significant stress, burnout, anxiety and have their own family issues. Adding a Relationship Expert can be a contracted position, partnership, or just simply a resource for referrals. They may also be able to assist with mental wellness as well. Relationship and family counseling would reduce one area of work stress for pastors. Pastors are not able to handle every single issue in a church.
4-Adding a relationship expert to a ministry that is community focused will serve as flourishing organization supplying needs in other areas such as a family resource center, child/teenage education programs and community events. A licensed professional would also be skilled at identifying and assessing for any mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and refer as needed.
5-With a Relationship Expert who utilizes specific programs such as Prepare-Enrich, they are able to assist pastors or leaders of a Marriage Ministry with assessing the congregation as a group to develop specific topics for classes, retreats and other programs. When marriages are being helped it creates a supportive group which can extend into a safe place for couples who are not involved in church.