The main thrust of this dissertation is the development and effectiveness of a pastoral counseling center in an African-American church. Prior to the development of this pastoral counseling center, there were none in an African-American church in the southeast. This document seeks to link the need for pastoral counseling centers to the rich history of care offered by the African-American Church.
A consideration of theological issues regarding pastoral counseling and developing pastoral counseling centers is offered in this dissertation. Also, a look at liberation as being the aim of theology is presented. In addition, the theology of the pastoral counselor who developed this center can be found in this dissertation.
The factors to be considered when developing a pastoral counseling center in an African-American church are offered in this dissertation. The organizational structure and methodology of this center are also elaborated upon in the document. Included is a description of the various individuals who were directly involved in the development of the pastoral counseling center. Additionally, a description of the church where the center was developed is given which includes a demographic study of the community, a historical view of the host church, and a description of the city where the church is located.
To ascertain the effectiveness of the pastoral counseling center, interviews with the senior pastor, the ministerial staff, the advisory committee, and selected clients were conducted. A summary of services rendered at the center over a one-year period is presented in the dissertation.
Finally, a comprehensive look at the training and the process of certification of a pastoral counselor is documented. The training of a pastoral counselor is linked to the development and effectiveness of the pastoral counseling center. There is also given a general theory of the development of a pastoral counseling center in an African-American church.