Beyond the Book with Dr. Hambrick: “Facilitating Counseling Groups”

As the second book in the Church-Based Counseling series (see an earlier interview on book one in the series), “Facilitating Counseling Groups: A Leader’s Guide for Group-Based Counseling Ministry,” offers a practical training manual for lay leaders of counseling groups. “Facilitating Counseling Groups” is coauthored by John Chapman, director of G4 Recovery-Support Group Ministries at The Summit Church in Durham, NC, and Brad Hambrick, assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southeastern Seminary. Introducing readers to the G4 model, this book enables churches to train and equip their lay leaders to flourish in church-based, mentor-styled counseling groups.

In the following Q&A, Hambrick takes time to answer a few questions about this new book:

What is the book about?

“Facilitating Counseling Groups” is the training manual for lay leaders in a group-based counseling ministry. It teaches the lay facilitator to cultivate three life cycles. The first life cycle is simply the schedule of an evening of group — how is each part of the schedule designed to cultivate growth. The second life cycle is the growth of each participant. The third life cycle is the life of the group as a whole — each group is its own organism and matures as people acclimate to the group.

Who is the target audience?

I wrote this book for lay leaders in a group-based counseling ministry. As a church starts a group-based counseling ministry, it will need a resource to provide its leaders with the concepts and skills to lead effectively. That is what this book provides.

What motivated you to write the book?

In my role as the pastor of counseling at The Summit Church, I’ve been part of developing G4 — a group-based counseling model for over 10 years. As we’ve refined this ministry over that time, we felt like it was ready for implementation at other churches. This book is the fruit of that labor.

What is G4, and how is this approach to ministry a valuable model for church-based counseling?

This video offers a helpful overview:

What advice would you offer first-time leaders of church-based counseling groups?

Realize that you are not the counselor for 10 people in a circle. You are the facilitator of the group. Allow the group and the curriculum to become the source of care and guidance. Your role is to facilitate the group in a way that allows this to happen. Once you embrace this mindset, you will become much more comfortable in your role.

How does this book help readers to better serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission?

Each G4 group has, in effect, a people group it is trying to reach and disciple. In that sense, each G4 group is a gospel outpost where people can receive peer support and guidance from a clinically informed biblical counseling curriculum for their addiction, struggle with depression, eating disorder, or similar struggle.

How has writing this book shaped you spiritually?

Like I said, this book has been a 10 year project; at least, the development of the ministry models this book equips churches to launch has been refined over that length of time. Seeing lay people get to use their hardships to encourage others is immensely satisfying and enriching

Facilitating Counseling Groups

Facilitating Counseling Groups, the second book in the Church-Based Counseling series, provides training for lay leaders to guide a group-based church counseling ministry (G4 model) that addresses common life struggles.

Leading a counseling group is different from leading a general discipleship group, even if both exist at the same church. A counseling group focuses on a specific need, garners heightened levels of vulnerability about matters of greater sensitivity, and requires more skill and intentionality from its leader.When a layperson is well-equipped, this kind of ministry is tremendously rewarding, as they see God multiply the work he did in their life with people walking a similar journey.

Brad Hambrick and John Chapman equip lay leaders to be effective in a group-based counseling ministry within the church. By learning how to use their life experiences and a group curriculum to help others overcome a life-dominating struggle of sin or suffering, leaders will learn to share the comfort and hope for change that can only come from God.

October 16, 2023

Paperback, 176 pages

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