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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 0    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

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"The Lord has been gracious and has opened the door to us to begin training for a Lay counseling ministry. Your book on keeping your ministry out of court has been a huge help. I have read Dr. Siang-Yang Tan's book on Lay counseling and have used it as our model for our ministry. We have considered two levels of training for this ministry the first level would be the AACC's material Caring for People God's Way. The second is of course the Theophostic Prayer ministry basic course. What are your thoughts on this? Would we be wise or foolish just skipping the AACC's course and using Theophostic. The way you have designed Theophostic it is "safer" in some ways but the system that Dr. Siang-Yang Tan suggest works very well in the state of Texas and is used quite often. I would appreciate your advice on this.


Ed Smith's response:


It is interesting that you asked this. I have had the privilege of getting to know both of these men that you mentioned in your letter. More so than with Dr. Tan, I have had the opportunity to get to know Dr. Tim Clinton over the last year and have had many meaningful discussions about what the Lord is doing in the "counseling" area of the Body of Christ. As a matter of fact he was in attendance at the MN Apprenticeship conference a few weeks ago.


Whether you should use these men's training or just "skip over" and go directly to TPM is an important question. I have be as guilty as anyone else of having a pendulum swing toward making TPM the all in all remedy. I believe that today I am in a good place of balance between doing ministry using TPM and also seeing the necessity of good solid Biblical counseling and discipleship. I never taught that Biblical instruction and encouragement were not a necessary part of total ministry but I did become very focused on doing TPM. Part of this was due to the long dry season I had of "counseling" with little results. However, this is no reflection on anything other than my own particular situation. I can now look back and see great value in what I brought into the TPM arena. I had forgotten how much of what I was doing and continue to do is based upon my educational journey and past counseling experience. However, when I am administering TPM that is what I am doing. I believe I have a good handle on when to do this ministry and when to do something else. If you ever come to an Apprenticeship Training you will see that I avoid doing "counseling" while being careful to stay within the TPM guidelines. At the same time I am aware of the necessity of "counseling" people when the situation calls for such. For example, just today I "counseled" a lady I met in the restaurant where I eat breakfast often and helped her to see her need for a savior. During this "session" I opened the Word of God and shared with her about Jesus. She saw her need for forgiveness and prayed to receive Christ. After this she reported to me that she was feeling a particular bad emotion. I had her focus on this and we ended up in a memory where she met her new Savior and He released her of this pain as well. Here in is an example of knowing when to do what.


Wisdom is necessary to know when to do TPM and when to do something else. However, we need to be skilled and equipped with both in order to do this. So should you offer both programs? Absolutely, and more. If not these programs find other ministry programs that will equip you and your team to be the best that you can for God's work. I am convinced that there are times when I need to stay out of the way with my wise counsel and biblical instruction and invite the Lord to do the work that only He can do. However, there are times when I need to follow the mandate to "teach them all things" "preach the Gospel" and be a vessel in which the truth of God's word can flow to the person with whom I am seeking to help.


I am excited about what the Lord is doing in His Body. I am excited about the relationships that He is bringing together in the leadership across this nation and world that He has raised up at this place in time. I am very open to working with Tim Clinton, Dr. Tan and others who bring differing perspectives to the table. God desires that we operate in unity and not in separateness. I truly sadden me to watch as some leaders of Christian ministries are choosing to make derogatory statements and bring discredit to this and other ministries rather than seeking to encourage and find points of unity. I am not sure what motivates this behavior but God desires that His Body work in harmony and not dissention. My true heart is that I fulfill what God has given me to fulfill and to operate in harmony within the larger Body that is His total church.


Hope that this helps


Ed Smith

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