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New Covenant Counseling Ministry – Under Construction


New Covenant Counseling Ministry – Under Construction

If you've lived in this area very long, you know that there are really only two seasons in Chicago, the winter season and road construction season. Well, this week I'd like to announce something else under construction – the New Covenant Counseling Ministry.

Biblical counseling has been a passion of mine for many years. I've taken seminary courses in biblical counseling from three different seminaries, attended several biblical counseling conferences, and read countless books and articles on the application of biblical truths to the common and complex issues of human life. Because of my training and experience, it's a significant portion of my job here as associate pastor. I currently spend about a third of my work-week preparing for and providing counseling to individuals, couples, and families in our church. I consider it a wonderful privilege to come alongside people, to understand the burdens and struggles they are facing, and then to bring help and hope into their situation by "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15). This truth of which I speak is the inexhaustibly rich, penetrating, and powerful Word of God:

      The law of the LORD is perfect,
        reviving the soul;
        the testimony of the LORD is sure,
        making wise the simple;
        the precepts of the LORD are right,
        rejoicing the heart;
        the commandment of the LORD is pure,
        enlightening the eyes;
        the fear of the LORD is clean,
        enduring forever;
        the rules of the LORD are true,
        and righteous altogether.
        More to be desired are they than gold,
        even much fine gold;
        sweeter also than honey
        and drippings of the honeycomb.
        Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
        in keeping them there is great reward.
               (Psalm 19:7-11 ESV)

The Bible is not just a helpful place to turn for comfort in trials, and it's not just a book that teaches us about important theological topics like God and man, heaven and hell, life and death. The Bible is truly useful on the street level and in the trenches of daily human life because it is absolutely crammed with relevance to all of the sin and suffering that we face. I wholeheartedly believe that the truths of the gospel have the power to deeply, radically, and lastingly transform us from the inside out.

So when David Sunday asked me a couple months ago if I would like to focus all of my energies to build a lay counseling ministry at NCBC, I enthusiastically said yes.

Practically speaking, here's the plan. My job at NCBC will be reduced to a part-time position. This means that my wife, Kris, will need to find full-time employment. I will continue to provide counseling while I take an increased load of online and on-site seminary classes in biblical counseling through the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) taught by the practical theology faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary. These courses will allow me to earn additional certificates in biblical counseling from CCEF and may also apply toward a Master's degree in Biblical Counseling. My plan is to complete the nine remaining CCEF courses by the end of 2012.

Concurrently with the counseling I'll be providing and the courses I'll be taking, I will also be developing and providing various types of lay counseling training. For example, I plan on teaching a 26-week counseling track of adult education classes starting in the fall of 2012 on topics like sanctification (how people change), helping others change, and issues like anger, anxiety, fear of man, idols, addictions, etc. As another example, starting this fall, I plan to offer specialized training through short-term small groups to those who express a heart for helping others grow through wise, compassionate, biblical counseling.

I'm excited about the potential of this ministry to provide real help and hope for more people, to raise up lay counselors from within our church body, to provide help to other churches, and to see the kingdom of God advance in our community as people outside the church hear the good news of Jesus Christ through this counseling ministry.

My wife and I would greatly appreciate your prayers for our financial provision, that I would be able to return to full-time, and that God would build this ministry to the praise of his glory.

Meanwhile, I appreciate your patience as you put up with some scaffolding and some extra dust (figuratively speaking) during the initial construction phase of this ministry.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor David Sommer