Starting Tuesday January 17, The Summit Church will launch it’s EQUIP Leadership Forum (ELF; one of my favorite Summit acronyms).  I am personally excited about this initiative for several reasons. First, as the Pastor of Counseling, I am glad to see us approach training our leaders in a way that better cares for our leaders. By consolidating our various leadership training efforts, this is an important way to protect our member’s personal and family lives while seek to see our community and world changed with the power of the gospel.

Second, as the counseling ministry prepares to launch several major initiatives, the timing for the ELF is an immense blessing. In the coming months we will be seeking to equip new leaders and offer enrichment training for our marriage mentoring ministry, recovery group ministries, and graduate counseling intern program.

The first half of these monthly meetings (6:30 to 7:30) will be teaching by our lead pastor, J.D. Greear, on the churches core values and ministry principles. In the second half (7:30 to 8:30), we will break our into ministry cohorts for specialized training. At the first counseling cohort all the counseling ministry leaders (and interested leaders) will meet together.

My goal on this first evening will be to cast the vision for how the various pieces of the counseling ministry are intended to work together and work with the larger church. This will be a time when we consider the opportunities and challenges that a counseling ministry presents and look at how the unique resources of the Summit Church can be harnessed. The kinds of subject we will be considering will be:

  • Ripe Fields of Harvest: Major life challenges and transitions are when people are open to receive (conversion) and apply (discipleship) the gospel. So how will counseling become a front door to our church and a more integral part of our small group life?
  • Church Full of Relationships: We have a church full of caring, hurting people who know many hurting people looking for hope, purpose, and direction. So how will the counseling ministry equip our members to steward their friendships by being able to bridge from everyday life struggles to meaningful conversations about the gospel?
  • Ministry of Multiplication: Counseling-related interactions tend to be very time cumbersome and our pastoral/counseling staff will never meet this need. So how will the counseling ministry multiply itself effectively so that most of the pastoral care happens in real (not “professional”) relationships?
  • Ministry in/of the Church: Unless our counseling ministry is moving people into the life of the church we are doing little of eternal significance. So how will the counseling ministry seek to ensure that every person who comes in contact with one of our resources sees the relevance of Christian community for their particular life struggle?
  • Gospel & Bible Based Ministry: How do we maintain our gospel-centered and Bible-based values when the secular counseling and even the “Christian” counseling literature does not have this as its primary emphasis?
  • Army of Volunteers: We have a large number of church members and graduate counseling students eager to participate. So what are the various ways that people can get involved in the counseling ministry?
  • Sustainability & Big Picture Structure: The more things we launch the more we have to announce, perpetuate, cultivate / grow leaders, supervise and resource. So how will we structure the counseling ministry in order to make it easily understood by our congregation, provide involvement for various levels of desired expertise, and ensure adequate supervision for everyone involved?
  • Grass Roots Structure: How will the individual ministries within the counseling ministry need to operate in order to take advantage of these ministries structures?
  • Time Feasibility: Each ministry has to be conducive to the volunteer’s life schedule and the church’s event schedule. So how can we attempt something with this many pieces without exhausting our leaders and consuming the church schedule?

The EQUIP Leadership Forum is going to serve an immense need at Summit. Every ministry in the church will be raising up new leaders, enriching existing leaders, and casting the vision for how each ministry fits within the mission of the church. The counseling ministry is excited about this new initiative and is praying the whole church will take advantage of this opportunity.