At The Summit Church, our counseling ministry wants to equip you for local missions. This is done primarily through our seminars. The next of these will be on September 25 on “Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope” in the Brier Creek South venue.

Consider the following points: (1) every person will face grief many times in their life, (2) grief is a time when we are forced to think about what’s after death, and (3) during grief people often reflect on the purpose of their life and want to talk about it.

Question: What if you had a resource which equipped you to compassionately enter those conversations and consistently directed conversations towards the gospel in grief-appropriate ways? Could you say to a friend, “I know you’re going through a lot with the loss of [name]. I know a decent study that is designed to help people process their grief, if it would help you to talk through it I’d be glad to listen.”

That is the goal of the counseling ministry – to produce these kind of materials on a myriad of subjects. To help you gain a better grasp of why we are doing things this way, this post includes one of the introductory page that is included in every Summit counseling seminar.

What Can I Hope to Get From this Seminar?

Whether you are here due to personal need, the needs of others, or for a general interest in the topic, we hope this seminar will benefit you.  If we do our job well, parts of this seminar will speak to you personally.  There will also be parts that speak to aspects of this subject that are different from your own experience. What follows are six unavoidable facts that should help you profit from all of the material you hear (bold faced text taken from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane How People Change):

1.  Someone in your life had a problem this week. That person may be you.  Even if you are here for yourself, chances are you know or will know others who struggle in this area.  Because we live in a fallen world and have a sin nature, we can be certain that we will battle with sin and suffering in our lives.  Because we love people, we can be certain we will be called on to love and assist others in their battle with sin and suffering.

2.  We have everything we need in the Gospel to help that person (2 Peter 1:3). God has given us Himself, the Gospel, the Bible, and the church and promised they are effective for all things that pertain to life and godliness.  Our task as Christians is to grow in our understanding of and ability to skillfully apply these resources to our struggles. These resources are the essence and source of “good advice,” and we hope to play a role in your efforts to apply and disseminate this “good advice.”  We do not aim to present new material, but new ways of applying the timeless, eternal truths of the Gospel found in Scripture.

3. That person will seek help from friends, family members, or pastors before seeking professionals. Counseling (broadly defined as seeking to offer hope and direction through relationship) happens all the time.  We talk with friends over the phone, crying children in their rooms, spouses in the kitchen, fellow church members between services, and have endless conversations with ourselves.  We listen to struggles, seek to understand, offer perspective, give advice, and follow up later.  This is what the New Testament calls “one-anothering” and something we are all called to do.

4.  That person either got no help, bad help, or biblical, gospel-centered help. Not all counseling is good counseling.  Not all advice that we receive from a Christian (even a Christian counselor) is Christian advice.  Too often we are advised to look within for the answers to our problems or told that we are good enough, strong enough, or smart enough in ourselves to overcome.  Hopefully you will see today how the Bible calls us to something (rather Someone) better, bigger, and more effective than these messages.

5.  If they did not get meaningful help, they will go elsewhere. When we do not receive good advice (pointing us to enduring life transformation), we keep looking.  We need answers to our struggles.  This means that as people find unfulfilling answers they will eventually (by God’s grace) come to a Christian for advice.  When they eventually come to you, we hope you will be more prepared because of our time together today.

6.  Whatever help they received, they will use to help others! We become evangelists for the things that make life better (this is why the Gospel is simply called “Good News”).  We quite naturally share the things that we find to be effective.  Our prayer for you today is that you will find the material presented effective for your struggles and that you will be so comforted and encouraged by it that it will enable you to be a more passionate and effective ambassador of the Gospel in the midst of “normal” daily conversations.