How to Safeguard Your Ministry of Pastoral Care and Counseling


A crisis can leave people hurting and looking for help. Pastoral care and counseling are vital parts of your ministry, particularly in times of tragedy or emergency. Before you decide to provide pastoral or lay counseling, have a plan to protect all involved and manage risk to your ministry.

During a community crisis, a pastor may need more hands on deck. Trained lay counselors can be reinforcements during times of great need. Lay counselors primarily listen, encourage in Christ, give advice rooted in Scripture and pray with the afflicted.

A group of lay counselors can be particularly helpful in disaster crisis counseling during:

Implement Counseling Guidelines and Procedures

Protect your counseling ministry by developing policies and taking steps to defend against potential lawsuits.

  • Put your procedures in writing. Define who can offer counseling on behalf of your church, how to maintain confidentiality, when to notify authorities and how to document counseling.
  • Perform a background check on everyone who will provide counseling.
  • Match the counselor’s gender to the one seeking pastoral care and counseling.
  • Get counseling liability insurance. It can help cover the costs of defending against a lawsuit or claim, prevent you from personal payment for damages and more.
You Have an Advocate in Every Season of Ministry

In addition to helping safeguard pastoral care and counseling, we are here to guide, advocate and provide for you along your journey to a strong financial future, fortifying your steps as you follow God wherever he leads. For more information, contact us at or (214) 720-2868, Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate policies and procedures for your church's risk management program.