School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Whitni E. Buckles


Biblical Soul Care, Peer, Encourager, Counseling, Church, Mental Health




This study sought to discover what impact a church program could have on personal well-being, spiritual well-being and church engagement, well-studied constructs in a variety of other clinical type settings. Quality, long-term research has been lacking in regard to the efficacy of pure, biblical soul care, a type of pastoral care methodology, that is provided strictly in a church setting. This type of research could allow for critical conversations about the larger ministry of soul care and potentially withstand scientific criticisms as biblical soul care becomes a proven, quantitative resource to help those who are hurting. The significance of this study is that it begins to provide a look at a potentially strong methodology that could test church programs for statistical significance. This study implements a quasi-experimental, pretest/posttest design, with a midtest measure added in an attempt to increase power analysis and further substantiate outcomes. Care Seekers attended the Encourager Program, a 3-session peer-to-peer biblical soul care program and provided frequencies and quantitative data points from an Intake and Feedback form at pre, mid and posttest. Sample size (N =5) showed no statistical significance in personal well-being (p = .55) or spiritual well-being (p = 1), largely due to lack in power analysis (> ß = .50). However, this study showed promising beginnings for a methodological foundation to build upon in future studies. Recommendations for future researchers would be to continue improvement on design and methodology, as well as implementing additional ways of introducing biblical soul care to a general audience which could help reduce the stigma typically associated with counseling and mental illness. When it comes to caring for those who are hurting, the church must become equipped and respond in a way that is theologically rather than psychologically focused; this study means to bring encouragement toward that decisive action.

Included in

Counseling Commons