I have been encouraged (and, admittedly, slightly overwhelmed) by the number of people who have expressed interest in serving through the counseling ministry. Until now I have had to say, “We are still working on the vision and infrastructure of the counseling ministry.” But now the wait is over.

We will be launching the first lay leader training in May (specific dates and times below; location Brier Creek South). This training will focus primarily upon equipping existing and potential Freedom Group leaders. However, the first two nights will be foundational for anyone wanting to participate in the counseling ministry. If you are interested in attending, please complete the RSVP form link at the end of this post.

Ministry Model

The counseling ministry will present subject-based seminars through the EQUIP series. The first seminar will be on anger and presented this June. These seminars will present an overview of the subject matter and be posted on the EQUIP blog in video format. Each seminar will come with a notebook containing personal evaluation tools, Bible studies, and a guided process to overcome the subject matter. These materials will be the curriculum for Freedom Groups and personal mentors to utilize.

Leader Training

The mentoring process requires leaders to know more than their subject matter (i.e., anger curriculum). Mentoring also requires an understanding of your role as a mentor, the process/resources being used, and the limits of the mentor role. These subjects are the focus of the leader training.

Night One (Vision): “Eyes” of the Counseling Ministry – (Tuesday May 10, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:00) The presentation will cover two subjects. (1) The core values of the counseling ministry: Bible-based, Gospel-centered, differentiating sin and suffering, not one-size-fits-all, embedded within the church, and transitioning into the general small group ministry. Leaders need to understand how these values are embedded throughout the counseling materials. (2) How to avoid a struggle-based identity when using a struggle-specific curriculum.

“Our deepest problem is that we seek to find our identity outside the story of redemption (p. 27)… In fact, the longer we struggle with a problem, the more likely we are to define ourselves by that problem (divorced, addicted, depressed, co-dependent, ADD). We come to believe that our problem is who we are. But while these labels may describe particular ways we struggle as sinners [or sufferers] in a fallen world, they are not our identity! If we allow them to define us, we will live trapped within their boundaries. This is no way for a child of God to live (p. 260)!” Paul Tripp in Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand

Night Two (Process): “Heart” of the Counseling Ministry – (Tuesday May 17, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:30) The big question on this night is, “How does the Gospel relate to sin and suffering differently?” The struggles of life fit into one of these two categories: sin or suffering. The Gospel speaks to and is powerful to redeem/restore both experiences. But unless we understand the difference, our efforts to help will often come across cliché or simplistic. On this evening we will walk through the two nine step process models that will undergird the seminars that will comprise the mentoring and Freedom Group curriculum. Our goal for each of the nine step processes is that they merely represent “the Gospel in slow motion.”

Night Three (Logistics): “Hands” of Freedom Groups – (Tuesday May 24, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:00) This evening will be focused more exclusively upon Freedom Group leaders, although all leaders are welcome to attend to learn more about how the seminars and curriculum can be utilized. We will examine what the journey of Freedom Groups will look like from the visitor’s first day through the meeting schedule and individuals’ responsibilities to the launch of new groups.

If you are interested in participating in the counseling ministry (as a Freedom Group leader or personal mentor), please email counseling@summitrdu.com.