I have had to come to terms with the fact that I am just one person, and one person with limited time, availability, and ability. This is a crucial realization for every pastor and counselor to come to terms with, otherwise we will attempt to be “superman pastors.” This often means, however, that requests for counseling get put on a waiting list and people with overwhelming struggles are forced to wait even after they’ve decided to seek help. I know it’s a necessity, but I hate that reality! In an effort to offer more help in counseling, then, Cornerstone Counseling has sought to do two things: (1) train more counselors, and (2) launch group counseling ministries. We’ve been working on number one for the last four years and have a good start. This year we have turned our attention more fully to number two. Helps Classes represent a focused effort to provide Biblical Counseling to more people through group counseling.
We have been doing group counseling at Cornerstone for a few years already in our Transformation Groups. These groups are recovery based programs for those with life-dominating addictive habits (particularly sexual sin and substance abuse). We have had some other groups form and dissolve over time and for each group, each leader, and each participant I am grateful. The Transformation Groups have served a great role in our community and we want to continue to sharpen that ministry. Helps Classes serve a similar function but focus on diverse topics, and limit themselves to six-week courses. They are a new take on the group counseling program.
Helps Classes provide content and companionship to fuel transformation. The six-week course begins with a twenty-minute lecture to provide focused information and instruction on specific points related to the over-all topic of the course. Support groups take the content and seek to help participants apply it in their lives. A companion workbook gives individuals opportunity to work on content through the week, apply principles, and review progress with their table facilitator. Through personal self-evaluation and accountability participants can begin to understand their own struggle with sin more clearly and strategize for ways to fight against temptation.
Our Helps Class program will cover seven courses over the next year. The following courses will run, hopefully, in 2018: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Lust, Marital Conflict, Parenting Problems, and Addictive Habits. We are currently finishing our first program now, on anger. The lectures, workbook, and support group have covered a great deal of ground. We’ve sought first to understand anger Biblically, both righteous and sinful anger. We’ve sought to clarify the different ways in which anger can manifest (classic aggression, silence, passive aggression, control, etc.). We’ve also pointed to the relationship between our anger and God, noting the way that sinful anger is, at its root, directed towards Him. We’ve also focused on our own heart desires, and they ways that they drive our anger. We’ve explored commonplace manifestations of anger, like bitterness and complaint. Finally we are offering strategies for both the cultivation of repentance and the restructuring of our world to resist the temptation to give into anger. In just six weeks we attempt to cover a lot of ground.
Helps classes allow us to work with more people at one time, while also focusing on tailoring counsel to each person’s need, nature, and struggle. Through the self-evaluative work that participants do in their workbooks, table facilitators can address them specifically. Through working in a support group context they are learning from other’s struggles and from other’s successes. Presently, we have twenty people taking our anger course and I hope those numbers continue to grow with each class we offer. Whoever you are, whatever your struggle, you can change. Helps Classes can help!
I can only see so many people in individual counseling. Through Helps Classes we are providing more opportunity for individuals to get Biblical counsel and care. I hope you will consider coming to one of our classes and getting some traction in your struggles.