Tag Archives: ministry

Marriage and Family Therapy as Ministry

One of the unique characteristics of Marriage and Family Therapy is its dedication to diagnosing and treating people’s problems in their relational contexts.  More traditional approaches in psychotherapy tend to focus their attention upon the individual’s problems and what he or she must do.

It is important to consider both aspects of a person’s problems and to discern how that problem functions in it’s relational context.  It is this aspect that of therapy that transcends marriages and families and touches every part of our existence, including how we relate to one another in the Lord’s church.

Sometimes, the challenges churches face are very similar to those that are being confronted by their own members within their own marriages and families.  From a systems perspective, if you help one aspect of the system, you have affected other parts of the system.  In other words, when you minister to the familys of a church’s the church benefits.  When you help churches help families you create this wonderful feedback loop around the cross of Christ that helps us all.

Mission, Vision, Purpose

Southshore Counseling, LLC is about helping people overcome obstacles, work through transitions in life and reach out for their potentialities. We work with all sizes of churches: helping them grow as healing communities for families who are hurting; helping them realize their mission, vision and purpose. There are two primary targets for Southshore Counseling, LLC: 1) hurting families in transition or difficulty and 2) churches that want to minister to them in a meaningful and productive way. Combined, these two interdependent services have the potential to strategically help churches do what they do best: share the love of Jesus Christ.

How We Help Churches Help Their People

Goals and Objectives

The preferred setting for Southshore Ministries is in churches in the metropolitan Detroit area. The leaders of these churches:

  • Wish to provide their members and community with a meaningful resource to help them in times of trouble
  • Feel overwhelmed by the unique, multi-dimensional struggles of families
  • Sense the need for more information about the resources that are available
  • Are challenged by the number of people in their churches that are struggling just to make it

The goal of Southshore Counseling, LLC is to provide brief, goal-directed counseling while extending care into churches so that the Christian community can gather around and help in a meaningful way.

Church Provisions

  1. A partnership with their leadership as families allow us to work together to lay out a plan for care and follow it through to completion;
  2. Gift-assessment tools to help their members discover their spiritual gifts;
  3. Training in listening and communication skills

Managed monitoring for those requiring extended services such as physicians, other mental health professionals, hospitals and institutions.
Working together Southshore Counseling, LLC is here to help churches maximize their potential as we all work together to help individuals grow in Christ.

A Ministry For Our Times

With layoffs, out-of-control debt, and home foreclosures, families are experiencing traumatic events that can stress even strong, healthy homes to the breaking point. The more fragile a family is, the more pressure comes to bear, the greater the need for churches to offer hope and help.

Having a professional at your church’s fingertips can be priceless: for church leaders, for the church itself, and for the hurting people who call that church home.

Hoping To Move To The Next Level

Moving to the next level is one of those necessary realities of life.  For example, when our girls were young I told them to stop growing up because I liked them just the way they were. “Daddy,” they would say, “I can’t help it!”  Before long they were rolling their eyes when I would insist that they stop growing up.  By the time they were teenagers they would just ignore me.  I have to admit that I finally gave up.  It would seem that they were going to continue to grow up whether or not I approved of the process.

Who would ever take a job without hoping for advancement or looking forward to the next raise?  How could anyone envision laying the foundation for a house without any intention of moving to the next level by constructing walls, plumbing the bathrooms or wiring the lights?  Why would I insist on using a typewriter when I can use a computer?

Moving to the next level is just a part of the fabric of life.  In fact, anything in life that stays the same is probably either an inanimate object or dead.  Nonetheless, we often resist the forces of change, hoping to maintain.status quo for several reasons.  First, the quote “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” makes sense when things seem to be working. The problem is that it is not necessarily a logical extension that what works today will continue to work tomorrow.  Preventive or anticipatory perspectives that allow for the fact that things will change transforms the saying to “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” to “If it isn’t broken, fix it now!”
Second, visionary thinking allows a person or organization to strategically orchestrate change rather than to be orchestrated by it.    Holding fast to core values, why not choose to use them to guide the change process rather than to react to it?  The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” make great sense from this perspective and is very wise.Churches often go through these crisis transitions in areas such as, for example, technology.  There is no doubt that our culture’s demand for technological innovation is insatiable.  To speak to the present generation a church is well-advised to seek out ways to adapt to these changes.  Yet, how many battles were fought over whether to go from the overhead projector to the video projection in churches across America?  In and of itself, technology is morally neutral, perfectly capable of being used for holy and righteous purposes or their opposite.  Churches can determine that a value they have is to maintain a measure of technological relevance in order to reach each transition that is occurring in our culture or they can choose to fight over each innovation in a serial fashion.

This reality plays out at so many levels.  You canot parent a teenager in the same way you parented them when they were in pre-school.  The needed changes can be anticipated, problems prevented and innovations introduces that will bring out the best based upon core values.  In churches, you cannot administrate a church of 2,000 in the same way you did when the church was 500.  The needed changes can be anticipated, problems prevented and innovations introduced that strengthen–as opposed to threatening–core values wisely chosen.

 

Between Ministers

When a church is between ministers the challenge of lining up substitute preachers every Sunday until the next minister is recruited, secured, moved and ready to go can be daunting.  The process itself can take months and even years before the right person is found for the position. Interim ministers can help churches sharpen their strategic focus to prepare the way.

In churches with a single minister this time can be very intimidating as well as rewarding as elders, deacons and members come together to fill in the blanks and cover the responsibilities of the departing minister.  Churches can thrive during these times as everyone chips in to make a difference.

Sometimes, during times of transition, it is helpful to have an experienced minister available to assist members as they cover the tasks of the previous minister and lay the groundwork for the arrival of his replacement.  Furthermore, an interim minister can address issues and points of concern that may be intimidating to the next member of the staff.  Proactive, preventive ministry by a biblical, systems-oriented marriage and family therapist can work out the transitional challenges…or at least begin the process…as the full-time minister is matched to the vision of the church.

With 30 years of continuous ministerial experience in medium-sized congregations, Steve is ready to step in and help.  To consider this as a transitional option please call Steve confidentially at 734-676-3775 or email him at steve@southshorecounselor.com.