In Pservice of Psychologists

Something big is starting to happen with the counseling training that I am teaching (two groups at present). Even from such small groups, God has given me access to people who in turn have access to new circles of influence. The personal transformation that they are experiencing and witnessing in others is so profound that word of mouth is traveling fast. One example is a Lutheran pastor whose wife has been attending. She has been in counseling for years, but, as she says, they usually end up telling her that that they can’t help her. Now she is finding new freedom from fear that has gripped her her entire life. As a result, the pastor wants me to offer training for pastors on a national level. Now mind you there are barely 100 churches in this denomination, but to the extent that we can figure this out it expands the reach of this ministry dramatically.

More to the point, two of the women who have participated in our training are psychologists and asked me to speak to a group of Christian psychologists they are a part of. This is an inter-denominational group that meets monthly for – well, I don’t really know what. One of them told me they just sit around and talk. So when they told them about me, apparently they all got very interested and told me to talk about anything I wanted to.

I chose to speak on “What is Christian psychology.” It’s a topic I’ve thought about for years, but the closer I got to having to put it all on paper, the more expansive and intimidating the subject got. Sometimes this can be an indication to me that I’m not going the right direction, but I felt assurance somehow from the Father that I was on the right path. I won’t give you details, but I covered topics like:

  • is psychology a bad word (the whole subject gets really bad press in most churches)
  • stages in the historical development of Christian counseling
  • what is a biblical view of man, the source of our problems, and their resolution
  • worldview issues in secular methodologies
  • positive and negative aspects of various schools
  • how to speak to pastors about counseling
  • how to minister to non-Christians without offending, yet not watering down your goals
They gave me two hours, and I filled it exactly, to may amazement. I frequently asked if what I was presenting was useful and new, and relatively little of what I shared was known to them, yet they seemed to be highly impressed. One lady was bold enough to say, “I believe you are an answer to my prayers, because I have been looking for some way to train in specifically Christian methods of counseling people, and I have not know where to turn.” Others were from a college called the Russian Christian Humanitarian Academy studying psychology, but, as they explained, what is meant by Christian psychology there is nothing more than the fact that Russia is historically a Christian country. There is no depth of analysis of what it would mean to actually practice with the values of the Kingdom in the forefront.

The long and short of it: they unanimously invited me back to present more specifically on the prayer ministry class I am now teaching. One lady did not understand my hesitation to give more details and accept the request. “Didn’t you come here looking for some sort of response from us? We are responding, but we need to know to what.” So I gave in, but explained my hesitation: “What if you like it? It takes most of a year to commit to learning it.”

They’re ready. Am I?

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