A couple of months back, you may remember having received a ministry update from me saying I’d soon again be writing my blogs, and that’s still the plan. My goal for writing has always been to inform and equip Christians how to examine the culture we live in, and with the hope of that what I write helps each believer on a practical level while bringing glory to God. Now, in conjunction with my writing I also hope to add my thirty years of experience as a pastor and a biblical counselor into the mix. I truly desire to help to the Christian community as much as I possibly can before God calls me home. So, I’m in the process of making some changes. My “Just Thinking” blog is now connected to a new ministry known as “Christ-Centered Solutions Inc.” This new ministry has been in development for a long time, and I would go so far as to say it has always been a major part of every ministry I’ve been involved with throughout the years.
Back in the early eighties, when I was at Liberty University, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, or so I thought. I was going to graduate in 1986, get a job to support my new family, and attend graduate school to become a Christian clinical psychologist. I was going to help others while secretly “fixing” myself too, (I’ll share this part of the story in another letter/blog to come). I did find a job in the mental health system of North Carolina and shortly thereafter I began attending graduate classes at ASU in Boone, yet things were not right in my life. Long story short, my life and family began to fall apart, and after about two years of suffering I surrendered to what I believed to be God’s call to the ministry. I eventually ended up in seminary at Piedmont Bible College in Winston Salem, NC, and a few years later I finished my courses online while pastoring Ebenezer Baptist Church near the Outer Banks.
Let’s go back just a little. While taking classes at Piedmont, and pastoring a small church in the foothills, I was also working part-time in the Wilkes County school system, writing and carrying out behavior modification programs for troubled kids. No matter where I was or what I was doing, counseling in some form was always a part of my work and ministry. I was working with kids and teachers during the day and church folks at all other times. From the mountains of NC to the Outer Banks, and from Wilmington to North Charleston, I have constantly been asked to put my biblical counseling skills into practice. I’ve come to accept these skills and abilities as a gift from God, they certainly fit well with my gift of shepherding. I’ve had the privilege of teaching biblical counseling classes to groups at different churches for pastor friends, seminary level course in pastoral care for schools and organizations, and all the while ministering one on one as a biblical counselor to my congregants and others.
On August 1, 2018, I officially began the ministry of Christ-Centered Solutions Inc., here in North Charleston, SC. Teresa and I have had many conversations about our future in ministry during the last few years, and I came to the conclusion in 2017 that now was the time to begin forming what would become CCS. From my own personal struggles and to the many other problems and issues believers continue to share with me each week, now is the time for this type of ministry.
There’s another reason as well; almost daily I read of pastors having moral failures, struggling with their past, leaving wives and families, and most disturbing – committing suicide because they believe they have no one to turn to. Pastors need pastors too. We need a confidant, other than our wives, who will listen to us with compassion, while at the same time shooting straight with us, holding us accountable to God’s standards and call in our lives. The life of a pastor can be very lonely and discouraging, and I speak of this truth first hand.
CCS IS LEGIT
Christ-Centered Solutions is incorporated by the state of South Carolina, identified as a ministry, and we are currently waiting for the approval of our nonprofit status with the IRS. We also have a Board of Directors who hold me and the ministry of CCS accountable. Our directors are:
- Rev. Joey Canady, Sr. Pastor of Hampstead Baptist Church, Hampstead NC
- Dr. Don Caswell, Sr. Pastor of Pilot Baptist Church, Zebulon NC
- Dr. James Fuller, Sr. Pastor of Habour Lake Baptist Church, Goose Creek SC
- Dr. Al Smith, Sr. Pastor of Pinecrest Baptist Church, Charleston SC
- Rev. Mark Webb, Sr. Pastor of Union Baptist Church, Union KY
I serve as the Board Chairman, and Teresa serves as the Treasurer of the corporation.
THE AIM & WORK OF THE MINISTRY
The focus of ministry at Christ-Centered Solutions can best be summed up by the words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28, (CCS ministry verse). I, and those who will serve with me in this ministry, will proclaim Christ though the counseling and teaching of God’s Word, with the hope that all believers will reach spiritual maturity in Christ.
The word translated as “admonish” or “warn” in Colossians 1:28 is “noutheteo” which means to “counsel.” Much like Jay Adams, Dr. John MacArthur, and others, I believe Christians have a responsibility to provide biblically based, Christ-centered counseling to other Christians. As a pastor, I have seen all too often where another pastor felt ill equipped to counsel someone from his own congregation and ended up sending his member to a non-Christian therapist or counselor. While this may work at times, I hold to the belief that the best help for Christians is found in another believer who also holds to a biblical worldview. Every counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and social worker operates from some sort of philosophical worldview that almost always is in opposition to the Scriptures, and therefore Christians need Christ-centered helpers to aid them both spiritually and emotionally.
So, to be of the greatest help, CCS has four primary areas of ministry.
- To provide biblical counsel to individual Christians and couples, especially in premarital and marital areas. Biblical counseling through CCS takes place locally with in person face to face meetings and/or online to help as many Christians as possible.
- To provide biblical counseling training to small churches, church groups, pastors, and staff members. The hope is that we can equip believers in each congregation with some basic skills in biblical counseling whereby they can then assist pastors and staff with the various spiritual and emotional needs that arise in the local Body.
- Through CCS I also want to provide counsel and coaching to other pastors, especially those who have little or no staff support. As stated earlier, pastors have a unique set of struggles and need someone to listen to them without condemnation, someone who has “walked the line” before them and can better understand their trials. It’s my hope that church leaders and congregations will see this as a great need that will not only benefit the pastor and his family, but the entire Body of Christ.
- I also hope to bring awareness and healing to those living in the shadows of despair by sharing my story. I hope these individuals will seek the help they need when they hear what God has done in my life, and others like me, when I speak. What is my story?
At present, I’m writing my story of abuse and PTSD. I’ve also recently worked with a film producer here in the Charleston area to get my story out to others. We have one more recording session set for early February, and we’re hoping this short film will be available by the end March 2019.
HELP IS NEEDED
Christ-Centered Solutions is like every other ministry, it is dependent on the generosity of others. In order to help as many Christians, pastors, and congregations as possible we need your help. Would you take a moment to pray and consider helping CCS? If, after praying you are led to help us, please visit our ministry website and give what you’re able to give. Simply click the website link www.christcenteredsolutions.org and go to the menu tab where you’ll see a tab for “Giving.” On the “Giving Page” you’ll be asked for your information and you can give through your checking account or by card, and for every gift of $50 dollars or more you will receive a copy of “My Story of PTSD” on DVD when it’s released. I’d also like to ask that you consider becoming a monthly supporter, and when you do, I’ll send you both the DVD and an e-copy of my book when it’s released. You can select to become a monthly supporter on the same “Giving Page.”
I’d like to ask one more favor of you, and that is will you consider having me come and share my story and vision with your church or small group? As a bonus, when I come, I’ll bring Luna, my service dog if it’s okay, and I’ll share her story and the importance she plays in my life today.