I dare say most pastors give time to preparation for preaching. Generally speaking, an unprepared sermon will probably be rather shallow. There may be exceptions to that, but wise stewardship of pastoral ministry involves preparing to preach.
But what about pastoral counseling? How should a pastor prepare for that? Here are a few pointers, shared from his own experience by David Powlison, one of the key figures in the biblical counseling movement: taken from his excellent book, Speaking Truth in Love.
- Follow through on your commitments. Did you say you would make a phone call, seek advice from another counselor, etc?
- Check out your own attitudes and life.
- Read and study the Bible.
- Think hard about those with whom you will meet.
- Pray for each person, asking God to work. (And pray for yourself).
- Set a rough agenda for the meeting.
- Review basic principles of counseling to orient yourself.
- Do things that orient you to the ministry task.
There is more detail in one of the chapters in his book: the whole book is worth a read if you would like to understand more about what the biblical counseling movement stands for.