Several weeks ago, the counseling center completed its 16th year of ministry. It is wonderful to see how this ministry has been a fulfillment of a vision for ministry dating back to the church’s long-range plan in the early 1990s. It was envisioned that the counseling center would provide biblically-based counseling that is compatible with the beliefs of First Presbyterian Church and that uses Christian psychological principles and techniques. Further, it was envisioned that the ministry of the counseling center would be available to the church and the community at large. I am excited to say that this center has and continues to be part of this church’s care for its own members as well as an outreach to the community.
The counseling center has grown beyond what was initially envisioned, to meet a large need in our community. The following are some facts about the center:
• In 2012, the center provided nearly 10,600 sessions of counseling.
• 820 new individuals sought counseling services.
• Approximately 35% of the counseling sessions provided were for a reduced fee (we provided help to those with legitimate needs who otherwise would not be able to afford Christian counseling).
• The staff of the center totals 21. This includes 5 full-time counselors, 9 part-time counselors, 3 student interns, and 3 administrative personnel.
• The center is overseen by a board of directors which consists of 13 members form the congregation. They include: Craig Hess, David Taylor, Jim Newman, Macky Dunbar, Bill Neely, Mardi Smith, Dr. Frampton Henderson, Emma Forkner, Dr. Helen Laffitte, Holt Chetwood, Emily Luther, and Charlton Law, and David Lauten (ministerial representative).
While we have a wonderful staff of skilled counselors who provide biblically-based counseling to the church and the community at large, that only tells part of the story. The other part of the story is in the changed lives of those who seek help here. I am reminded of one such family that came to the counseling center a couple of years back. This Christian couple was separated for the second time in their marriage and headed for divorce. They and their two young adult children were devastated. The cause was his ongoing struggle with sexual addiction. They both began individual counseling and participated in our treatment program for sexual addiction. This was followed by marital counseling and they have continued to work in recovery since. God used the ministry of the counseling center, along with others in the body of Christ, to deliver this couple form bondage and to redeem them and their marriage.
While the counseling center is a ministry of the church, it is also your ministry. So many of your refer your friends and family for help in the midst of very difficult times in their lives. We do not take that confidence that you have in us lightly. We are truly blessed as a church to have such a resource. It is the prayer of the staff and board of the First Presbyterian Church Christian Counseling Center that we will continue to be used by God as an instrument of deliverance, transformation, and healing in the lives of many more over the years to come. Thank you for your ongoing support of this ministry.