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Sundays at 9:15 & 11:00

Biblical Counseling

Because we have God’s word, we have God’s hope for the problems of life.

John Andrew Clayton

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.

Counselor meets with client

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. 

Recommended Media:

F.A.Q. on Biblical Counseling

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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?

Medical Needs
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?

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 counseling@centralchurch.com 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 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Please contact your counselor to ensure childcare is available.

Do you have any recommended book resources?

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 info@centralchurch.com.

Our Counseling Team:

Dr. Matt Shackelford

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.

Ellen Olford

Ellen Olford

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.

Gus Schroeder

Gus Schroeder

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.

Ashton Bolton

Ashton Bolton

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.