Posted On April 17, 2016

A Review of “Strength in Numbers” by Mark Shaw

by | Apr 17, 2016 | Church, Featured

When I finally realized what Ephesians four was calling me to I was shocked. There Paul writes that God has given to the church pastors in order that they might “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” That is to say, the saints do the work of the ministry, not the pastors. In Biblical Counseling, this means seeking to equip more lay people to do the basics of soul care in the congregation. Dr. Mark Shaw believes that a team approach to Biblical counseling best fulfills this replication demand. His work Strength in Numbers will serve as a good introduction to the basics of Biblical counseling for many.

The book is broken down into three sections. The introduction gives readers a brief summary of the three common approaches to counseling: secular counseling, integrated counseling, and Biblical counseling. For readers not familiar with these distinctions Shaw does an excellent job of simply defining them and exploring their differences. This is a necessary setup for the rest of the work. The first section places Biblical counseling squarely within the realm of the local church. He explores its parallels to discipleship and the need for the whole congregation to be involved. Section two focuses specifically on Shaw’s specific contribution to the larger discussion by highlighting the “strength of team ministry.” In particular, he notes that team counseling diminishes the pride and “glory stealing” that can come (intentionally or not) in an individual counselor model. He also demonstrates that in a team approach there can be a better balance in listening, note taking, observing, and speaking the truth in love. He makes a compelling case in this regard. Section three concludes the book by mapping out a plan for implementation and replication within a Biblical counseling ministry.

Overall Shaw’s book is a good introduction to the basic elements of developing a Biblical counseling ministry within the church. He is very accessible for readers and offers loads of practical insights. The book can be redundant at points. At times, it seems like various chapters repeated the same point, but overall this is hardly a reason to ignore the book. Readers will not learn how to do counseling, but pastors and counseling directors will learn how to implement a model of replicating counselors within the church. As a basic volume, it is a good starting place for the development of counseling leaders, no doubt readers will need more than just what is contained in this volume (I recommend Robert Kellemen’s two volumes in his Equipping Biblical Counselors series). Yet this volume does serve as a good introduction, and  I recommend Strength in Numbers for that reason.

Related Posts

Christian Friendship and Doing Life With One Another

Christian Friendship and Doing Life With One Another

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the nature and purpose of Christian friendship and why real Christian friends tell each other hard biblical truths, comfort one another in love with Scripture, and do life with one another through every stage of...

Churches Need Expository Preaching

Churches Need Expository Preaching

Churches need pastors committed to expository preaching. An expository sermon submits its shape, emphasis, and argument to the Biblical text being preached. The point of the passage is the point of the sermon. A commitment to expository preaching exposes our...

The Death of a Spouse — Part II

The Death of a Spouse — Part II

Psalms 13:2 (NIV), “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” How much longer? How much longer? Four hundred fifty-eight days later, not only has my hatred of death not diminished even...

Personal Bible Reading and the Holy Spirit

Personal Bible Reading and the Holy Spirit

On today’s Warriors of Grace episode, Dave discusses three aspects of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the life of the Christian and the Holy Spirit and reading the Word of God. What You'll Hear On This Episode The Ministry of the Holy Spirit. Three Aspects of the Holy...

Longing for Home

Longing for Home

Psalm 26:8-12 NKJV, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells. 9 Do not gather my soul with sinners, Nor my life with bloodthirsty men, In whose hands is a sinister scheme, And whose right hand is full of bribes. 11 But as...

Combatting the Dangerous Teachings of the “Prosperity” Gospel

Combatting the Dangerous Teachings of the “Prosperity” Gospel

On today’s Equipping You in Grace, Dave, and Sean DeMars discuss the core tenets and dangers of the prosperity gospel, biblical hermeneutics, the importance of Bible-believing and gospel-preaching local church, along with his book with Mike McKinley, Health, Wealth,...

0 Comments

Share6
Tweet
Email
Reddit
Share