Rays of hope result from counseling

A senior pastor struggling with his marriage. A worship pastor battling a pornography addiction. A youth pastor wrestling with depression. A children's pastor trying to cope with anxiety. A minister's spouse dealing with depression after a forced termination. A ministry couple struggling with a child embracing an alternative lifestyle. Grief, burnout, substance use, eating disorders, stress, transition, trauma, pre-marital counseling, personal growth and a host of other issues have been the subject of conversation for Texas Baptist Counseling Services this past year. Regardless of the struggle Texas Baptists find themselves walking through, we are here as a resource to help connect you to the mental health assistance you may need.

We have also endeavored to expand our reach by utilizing social media to connect with and educate Texas Baptists on mental health topics. Furthermore, since burnout is a common concern in ministry life, we have incorporated retreats and getaways for ministers to be proactive in maintaining life and ministry balance. We continue to provide education for churches on mental health topics as needed. Through all our efforts, we strive to bring hope and encouragement to Texas Baptists.

Most of the conversations in Counseling Services, whether by phone, email, or in person, are born of struggle or difficult circumstances. No one typically wants to have a need to contact Counseling Services. Often discussions involve talk of crisis or despair. However, on occasion a minister or congregant will follow up after the "storm" to share a brief word of appreciation for the assistance received during a difficult time. Comments like – "Things are better now," or "I could not have made it through this difficult struggle without the counseling assistance you provided," or maybe even "You have no idea how much the assistance through TBCS has helped us," are rays of hope revealing God's glory and power in our lives.

Our prayer in Counseling Services is that you do not encounter circumstances in your life that prompt you to need our assistance. However, should you find yourself facing one of life's storms head on, know that we are glad to help you find the mental health resources you need and count it a privilege to come alongside you in a difficult time.

Katie Swafford serves as Director of Counseling Services for Texas Baptists.

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