2017 Training

This Spring, our Lay Counseling Team is growing! If you’re wired to help others who are hurting find acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness and encouragement, we’d love for you to join the team.

Our lay counselors receive extensive training, ongoing supervision, and continuing education from licensed counseling professionals.

Training will involve four 6-hour sessions on Saturdays (February 25 / March 25 / April 22 / May 6)  held at Neighborhood Church.

If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Christiansen at counseling@ncvisalia.com.

This is a volunteer position working as a “Lay Counselor” within the church setting. This is a position where the “Lay Counselor” will provide counseling guided by a Biblical philosophy under the supervision of professional overseeing staff and the Neighborhood Church leadership team. In addition, the Lay Counselor will provide other services including prayer, information and referral. The Lay Counselor may be required to refer the counselee to professional services and/or emergency crisis services.
The Lay Counselor will comply with all the standards of confidentiality and reporting practices required by Law given the Lay Counselor’s scope of practice. This confidentiality covers both written and verbal communication.

The Lay Counselor will be expected to work with as much independence as possible while still staying in communication with overseeing staff. Supervision will be provided individually and in on-going group peer review meetings. The Lay Counselor will communicate with a supervisor and keep the supervisory staff aware of the counselee’s progress and any significant changes in the needs of the counselee.

This position will represent Neighborhood Church morally, ethically and legally to its community of believers and maintain high standards to the community that Neighborhood Church traditionally serves.

A Lay Counselor must:

  1. Complete all coursework for the Lay Counseling training program; participating in and completing reading and writing assignments.
  2. Demonstrate competence regarding basic listening skills, support, educational and problem solving skills to assist those in distress or those having difficulty adjusting to life’s problems.
  3. Continue to develop additional skill and knowledge regarding lay counseling.
  4. Be informed about the “helping organizations” within the community (including emergency services for the purpose of referral)
  5. Be aware of confidentiality and reporting standards and the process for reporting child, adult and older adult abuse (including documentation to organizations that require written documentation)
  6. Have knowledge of issues that require immediate notification of or a request for assistance from the Lay Counseling ministry overseeing staff. The Lay Counselor must possess the ability to work closely with supervision.
  7. Lay Counselor must have good written and verbal skills in order to document their work with counselees and inform their overseeing staff of ongoing progress with clients.
  8. Be able to give a clear testimony regarding one’s commitment to Jesus Christ and be able to asisst a person in making a confession of faith to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.
  9. Be willing to assist the counselee in praying. Realize the value and meaning of prayer in assisting those who are in need. The Lay Counselor must feel comfortable in praying with the counselee and have a commitment to pray on a regular basis for those they are meeting with. The Lay Counselor must model how to pray and if needed, teach their counselee to pray.
  10. Have a working knowledge of Scripture and its value in supporting those who are in need of help. Having a knowledge and understanding of key verses and the ability to interpret Scriptures is important in order for the Lay Counselor to provide support for problem areas such as grief, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, loss, communication and conflict.
  11. Be responsible, honest, show stability and a commitment to work hard with counselees and fellow Lay Counselors, keep all scheduled appointments with counselees.
When the Lay Counselor is unsure of what to do with a counselee, he/she will seek advice from an overseeing counselor and keep him/her informed as to progress in that specific situation.

Lay Counselors will be accountable to the Lay Counseling leadership team, keeping overseeing counselors informed of initial meetings, ongoing progress, and termination of meetings with counselees.

As part of the Lay Counseling ministry group, it is essential for the counselor to attend the monthly Peer Review meetings to:

  • update the group regarding progress with their counselee.
  • receive input if there are questions regarding any issues.
  • If unable to attend, the counselor will call/text/email updates to supervisory staff regarding the progress with the counselee.
A Lay Counselor MUST:

  •  Show evidence of regular church attendance and provide his/her testimony regarding their commitment to Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  •  Demonstrate spiritual maturity and good character within the fellowship of Neighborhood Church and the community. Spiritual maturity and good character are shown in striving toward exhibiting: the “fruits of the Spirit as shown in Galatians 5:22-23, Christian love as written about in 1 Corinthians 13, and “abiding in Christ” as Jesus spoke of in John 15:1-17.


A Lay Counselor is a volunteer, unpaid position. Your electronic signature at the end of the application demonstrates that you are willing to invest the time and effort necessary to provide become a Lay Counselor.


To the best of your ability, please answer the following questions to complete your application. This is so the Leadership Team can understand and weigh your experience and God’s leading.

Background Check

Lay Counselors working with people who are vulnerable and possibly at risk. A confidential background check will happen for each application. We will provide a form during training for the background check.