Because we have God’s word, we have God’s hope for the problems of life.
John Andrew Clayton
Pastor of Missions & Counseling
Pastor John Andrew will be your first contact within the Counseling Ministry. Currently, Pastor JA is working on a Ph.D in Biblical Theology from Midwestern Baptist and his certification in Biblical Counseling from the ACBC.
About the Counseling Ministry:
- Our goal is to help you meet the challenges of life in a way that will please and honor the Lord Jesus Christ and to allow you to fully enjoy His plans for your life.
- Our counseling ministry is founded upon the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17) rather than the principles of secular psychology or psychiatry. We believe that God’s Word is sufficient for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
- If you’re interested in counseling, please fill out the form below as your first step. Please fill out the form in it’s entirety.
Counseling Request Form
Let us know if you’d like to meet one-on-one
If you are interested in receiving biblical counseling, please fill out the contact form above. In your request, please include your full name, your telephone number, and confirm your email address as well as a brief summary of the reason for your interest in counseling at this time. We will then be in contact with you regarding next steps.
Central Care Groups
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:”
Sometimes, we need help to get through life’s difficult moments. Support Groups meet throughout the year and provide Biblical counsel on topics such as grieving the death of a loved one, strengthening a marriage, or working through the difficult emotions of divorce.
F.A.Q. on Biblical Counseling
What is Biblical Counseling?
The Concept of Biblical Counseling
Biblical counseling is committed to the position that Scripture provides the only authoritative guide for what we are to believe and how we are to live (2 Timothy 3: 16, 17). The Biblical Counselor is trained in the use of Scripture and the principles of biblical counseling. He does not base his counsel on man’s wisdom, opinions, experience, or concepts of behavior, (Isaiah 55:8-11) but seeks to bring the full range of Biblical truth to focus on the counselee’s need (Hebrews 4:12).
What is the scope of Biblical Counseling?
The Scope of Biblical Counseling
Biblical counseling deals with the entire range of problems confronting mankind including broken marriages, parent-child relationships, fear, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, tension, anxiety, worry, and any other problems that may result in mental and/or physical immobility. In short, the Biblical Counselor is equipped to deal with any problem dealing with ourselves, our relationship to God, or our fellow man (2 Peter 1:3).
How does Biblical Counseling help me?
Elements of Biblical Counseling
The Biblical Counselor will use all his skill in applying Biblical principles to enable you to glorify God in your life and to enable you to gain victory over the problems that are depriving you of the peace and joy that God has promised to you in His Word. The counselor will concentrate on three areas that are necessary for Biblical change to take place.
H O P E – In Jesus Christ we have a great High Priest who has suffered and been tempted in all things, yet He never sinned. Because of Christ, even though you may be facing every sin common to man, you can have victory. God has promised that He will not let you be tempted beyond your endurance and that He will provide a way for you to have victory in the midst of your temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:14-16).
CHANGE – In Christ we can learn how to lay aside the old selfish ways of living and put on the new ways of living in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can learn to please God in every area of our lives. We can learn to live a godly life and to live in such a way that we will be increasing in our knowledge of God and our ability to relate to others. Biblical counseling will enable you to make practical changes (Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 1:10).
P R A C T I C E – We need to prove ourselves to be doers of God’s Word and not merely hearers of the Word. Only in the actual practice of the Scriptures shall we be blessed in what we do, and only then will we please the Lord (James 1:22-25; Proverbs 28:13).
Does Biblical Counseling replace modern medical practices?
Biblical counselors believe in the total health needs of the counselee. The counselor may recommend that you have a full or specified medical examination. If medical assistance is required, counseling will continue in conjunction with medical advice.
How much does counseling cost?
Biblical counseling is a ministry of the church and is therefore free of charge.
What are the qualifications of your counseling team?
The Biblical Counseling Team
Our counseling team consists of pastors, elders, and ministry leaders along with ACBC certified biblical counselors, and trainees under the direct guidance of an ACBC supervising fellow. For more information on ACBC see their website at Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).
What commitment from me does Biblical counseling entail?
Length of Counseling
Normally, counseling sessions will last one hour per week and will continue for eight to twelve sessions. If you respond quickly to Biblical counsel, the number of counseling sessions may be lessened. However, if the counselor does not observe a definite change in the first few weeks, he will seek to identify the cause of the failure, discuss it with you to help you to correct it. You and your counselor will communicate regularly regarding your schedule. You will also be asked to commit to weekly homework assignments designated by your counselor.
Do I need to be a part of Central Church (or any church)?
Local Church Involvement
In order to achieve lasting victory over the problems of life, it is vital that each person become established in a consistent Christian walk. The Lord has provided the local church as the discipleship center (Hebrews 10:24, 25). Therefore, it is important that counseling sessions be accompanied by church attendance, participation in a group Bible study, and other discipleship activities in your local church. The counseling team may contact your church and request their assistance in involving you in these activities. One of your elders or deacons may even become part of the counseling team, to provide the most effective help for you. It is our commitment to do what will best bring about victory over your problems.
Is this for Children? Can I bring my child to a session?
Do you provide counseling for children/teens?
Justin Halverson, our Pastor of Kids and Family, can meet with a child and their parent for counseling. Derek McFarland, Pastor of Students, or a member of his team can meet with any students (6th-12th) grade. Ellen Olford, our Director of Women, can meet with any girls who may need counseling as well. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org as your first step.
Can I bring my child to my counseling sessions?
We ask that you do not bring your child to your counseling session. However, we do provide childcare (Kids Club) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Please contact your counselor to ensure childcare is available.
Do you have any recommended book resources?
- General Counseling Resources
Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel
Robert Jones, Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling Our Conflicts
Health Lambert, A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry
John MacArthur, Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically
David Powlison: Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture
Ken Sande, The Peacemaker
Paul Tripp: Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change
- Marriage and Family Counseling
Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jim Newheiser, When Good Kids Make Bad Choices: Help and Hope for Hurting Parents
Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say I Do
John Piper, This Momentary Marriage
Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart
Wayne Mack, Strengthening Your Marriage
- Specific Counseling Issues:
John MacArthur, The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness
Robert Jones, Uprooting Anger
Heath Lambert, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace
Ken Sande, Peacemaking for Families
John Street and John Macarthur, Men Counseling Men: A Biblical Guide to the Major Issues Men Face
John Street and Janie Street, The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women
Ed Welch, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness
Ed Welch, Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest
- Marriage & Family Resources:
Family Worship – Donald S. Whitney
What is the Meaning of Sex – Denny Burk
Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money – Dave Ramsey
Whole Marriages in a Broken World – Gary Inrig
Married for God – Christopher Ash
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family – Paul David Tripp
Your Child’s Profession of Faith – Dennis Gundersen
- Women’s Resources:
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds – Jen Wilkin
None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us (And Why That’s A Good Thing) – Jen Wilkin
The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer
True Beauty – Carolyn Mahaney & Nicole Whitacre
Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild
If you have a question that isn’t covered on this page, please feel free to call our church at 901-888-4673 or by emailing email@example.com.
Our Counseling Team:
Dr. Matt Shackelford
Lead Teaching Pastor
Pastor Matt is a fellow with the ACBC and has multiple earned degrees, including a doctorate from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Th.M from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently working on a Ph.D. from Midwestern Theological seminary.
Director of Women's Ministry
Ellen Olford will oversee the counseling needs for all women of Central Church. Ellen Olford has served on staff for 37 years, and has a Masters in Biblical Counseling.
Director of Congregational Care
Gus Schroeder takes care of the practical side of our counseling ministry. Gus oversees our Care groups and visitations to those who are hospitilized and homebound.
Biblical Counseling Associate
Ashton graduated from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary with a degree in Biblical Counseling in 2020. She is currently pursuing her M.Div. in Biblical Counseling at Mid-America and certification in Biblical Counseling with ACBC.