Here, you'll find summaries of the Christian Consulting Services I offer. All the materials are included for the church to copy and distribute . These services have come out of  30 years of ministry to children, youth and families in Christian schools, churches and regional ministry offices. I will work with you to set up and carry out the specific ministry training to help you establish your own ministry with your own gifted members. For more details, contact me any time.


Peer Leadership Training – Peer to peer interactions are very powerful. Young people will often seek the advice of a friend over a parent or other adult. Using a biblically-based understanding of “helping” within a journey model, this training helps the participants understand their own stories and struggles in order for them to reach out to support their peers and respond to their needs with solid Christian principals within the framework of active listening, supportive responding and prayerful support. 

Parable Players: Drama Ministry Training – Drama is a powerful tool for reaching young people with God’s message of love and redemption. Jesus was the original dramatist, speaking creation into existence with a word, inspiring His people with His Word through the ages and appearing as the Word made flesh in the fullness of time. The Bible tells us that he never spoke without using a parable. This is the eternal principal behind the materials in Parable Players. The resource contains three sections: 

The Leader’s Guide for learning the principals and methods of drama ministry training…
A comprehensive Training Process based on a three-day relational retreat model to immerse the participants…
A collection of Time-tested Skits in a variety of areas and drama styles.

What makes this “program” unique is that it isn’t really a program at all. It is a process that involves the parents and young people in journey to receiving the sacrament. More than understanding the rituals and rights involved, the young people are challenged to grow in relationship with Jesus. The idea is that sacraments are signs, living signs of Christ’s presence in the world. While many Christian churches focus on salvation and Easter – and that’s a wonderful thing - I’ve come to see that faith is an incarnational matter, something we experience in the flesh. Sacraments connect us to our Savior through the world of sense, memory, spirit and will. 

The process for Communion helps young people get in touch with the reality of what the Lord’s Table is all about. Using the same images that Jesus used, seed and soil, bread and vines, tasting and seeing, the young people come to understand that the table is a place where we participate in offering who we are and receiving all that Jesus is. 

The process for Reconciliation goes beyond the idea of spiritual washing and speaks of the sinner’s journey home, through the cross, of the power of confessing, of the wisdom and power that comes in the act of absolution, or the joy of penance as a path to peace and a reconnection to the Body of believers.

The process for Confirmation is seen in its connection to the other Sacraments of Initiation and celebrated as a personal journey of maturity and choosing, of surrendering to the Savior and committing to a more active participation in the life of the Christian community.

 

Planning a retreat is a relational process. It brings together different components and different people who support the process. The retreat team must discern the needs of the participants and the best way to carry out a retreat to meet those needs with the gifts that each person brings to the process. I have developed four distinct retreat models that he has used successfully over the years:

The Gift Retreat – It focuses on personal and spiritual identity, giftedness, and Christian relationships.
The Spirit Retreat – Centers on openness to one’s spirituality through reflection, prayer and community.
The Journey Retreat – An experience of conversion, healing, rebirth and recommitment to Christian service and action.
The Kingdom Retreat – Involves training and planning for ministry that builds the Kingdom of God.

These four models are set up as a progression and are cyclical in nature. Those who have moved from understanding their faith identity to deepening in their connection to the Spirit are then prepared to lead others through the same journey they have walked. Once a model is chosen, the team will develop a theme by establishing goals to meet the needs of the participants. Looking to the Word for a guiding verse and supporting passages will set the focus of the retreat. Then the various retreat components can be plugged into the actual retreat and the different tasks assigned to the leaders. Because this is a relational process, it is important for the leaders to work together as the Body, with each person using his or her gifts for the sake of the overall goals. The key here is understanding that the members of the Body work under the Jesus the Head and are guided by His will. Discerning His will comes only from approaching the retreat in a prayerful, open way. 

Bereavement Ministers are taken through a journey of prayerful personal exploration to gain a better understanding of their own relationship to grief and become open and empathetic healers. Below are some general thoughts a retreat model outline.

Meeting One – The Process of Discernment – The participants learn about the two components of the ministry and are led into the discernment process, as they ask the Spirit to reveal where they are with their own bereavement, and to guide them as they accept the task of ministering to others in Jesus’ name.
Meeting Two – The Stages of Grief – At this session, the participants will work through an understanding of the “stages” or dynamics of grief so they may see that grief work is healing work. Through their commitment to the process the leaders learn how to help those who grieve to make a connection to God and walk the journey from grief to healing.
Meeting Three – Surviving the Trials and the Loneliness, Part I – At this meeting, the participants are introduced to the idea of bereavement as a journey of healing and companionship. They then look more specifically to the dynamics of Denial, Bargaining, and Guilt and how they may help one another through these stages.
Meeting Four – Surviving the Trials and the Loneliness, Part II – This meeting deals more specifically with some of the skills necessary for helping others through grief, as well as the ministry of spiritual companionship. It also focuses on the issues of anger and depression and one's ministry to others who experience these emotions during grief.
Meeting Five – The Special Circumstances of Grief – This meeting will focus on working with the unique grief of each individual. Here we will learn about children and grief, the difference between men and women in the grieving process, the issue of suicide, and how to use memory and ritual to work through questions that arise when grieving.
Meeting Six – Hospitality Ministry, Funerals, and Caring for the Bereaved from Start to Finish – This meeting  details forming a bereavement ministry which integrates hospitality and support, and focuses on initiating contact with the family, planning services, meeting immediate needs, and offering ongoing support through follow up care.

Marriage Enrichment is a continuum of care. A good marriage ministry understands the importance of every stage in the journey of life. Below are some basics to consider.

Singles Ministry – It is very important to recognize the power of singleness and the witness singles can offer to the entire church body. A good single ministry involves a meetings to help establish and coordinate a ministry to singles in the church. The goals of the ministry center on fellowship, spiritual growth and support – providing opportunities for singles to come together as Christians and members of a larger church, remembering that some will choose singleness as a vocation in life.

Family Life Mentor Training – In order to carry out a ministry to couples, this training gathers together mature mentors – men and women for one-on-one relationships and couple-to-couple ministry. The training covers biblical principles and trains around the gifting of its members. The mentors will be involved in carrying out marriage preparation and enrichment as they walk with younger couples on their journeys.

Marriage Preparation – The process marriage preparation helps couples enter into marriage and grow in their walk as husbands and wives. It covers those areas that are crucial to making a marriage last, helping the couple to reflect on their views and share differences in order to come to a place of mutual submission with Jesus as the head.

Marriage Enrichment – Here, the needs of the church and the gifts of the leaders determine how the process will be developed. It can involve one-day trainings, or expand to deeper relational ongoing ministry, or even longer marriage retreats.

Parenting Classes – Leaders and mentors can cover the basics of family dynamics presented from a biblical perspective. The format uses large group lecture with small group response activities and discussions to bring in the experience and wisdom of the participants and establish a support system among the parents.

 

The Sacramental Preparation and Bereavement materials are currently being turned into manuals that will be available for publication soon!