The benefit of counseling people in a small community is that most likely you will be able to see if your counseling is having any results. If the marriage improves you can celebrate that you were part of helping that couple through a tough time. The other side is you can also see when your counseling seems to have had little impact.
In a small church in a small community you get to know people more personally than in a city church of 1,000 people. While a pastor in that church may have many opportunities to meet with people, they don’t get to see how that plays out in regular life. In my church and community I can expect to see the people I meet with in my office at the next community event or even when I’m just picking up the mail. I know that when they show up at church, I will see them. If they don’t show up for awhile, I will see that as well.
I don’t consider myself a counselor, yet I love meeting with people who do want to find a solution for a problem they have seen in their life or in their relationships. I’m not as interested in working with a couple who doesn’t really want to change. Yet even in those situations, I can see when little steps are taken as I see them around town and see how they are interacting with others.
And of course this benefit of seeing people around the community isn’t just seen in areas of counseling through problems. It’s exciting to see people maturing in their faith. It’s exciting to see people learning how to parent better. It’s good to hear in conversations that people are taking their Bible reading more seriously or are more concerned about their neighbors.
The small church and small community gives opportunity for us to see the results of our ministry much easier than in the larger city and larger church. From my point of view, that’s a good thing!