Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Jonathon Sullivan


pastoral, counseling, trained, biblical, ministers, solution-focused, clergy, pastoral counseling




A gap exists among African-American clergy related to pastoral counseling. The purpose of this project was to offer an effective model for increasing the number of trained pastoral counselors. The project focused on the local church, Simon Temple AME Zion Church, which currently only has two ministers trained to conduct pastoral counseling. The project aimed to train ministers and laity in the local church for pastoral counseling to increase the number of counselors available to assist members seeking help. Ministers and laity in the local church were offered an opportunity to participate in Active Counseling Enlightenment and Development training. The training was conducted on the Zoom platform over six weeks and each session was recorded. During the training, the ten participants were divided into two focus groups: counselors and counselees. The participants were given a survey at the beginning of the training to gauge their knowledge of pastoral counseling. After the training, participants were given exit surveys and closeout questionnaires to measure their growth. The project revealed that there is still a lack of urgency for AA ministers to be trained in pastoral counseling, due to a lack of understanding regarding its necessity to help develop mature Christians. The study revealed that ACED is transferable in local churches if ministry leaders are more proactive ensuring their staff is fully trained in pastoral counseling and the counseling ministry.

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