If you are interested in our training program, your first assignment is to read and listen to all the content on this page. Afterward, if you’re still interested, email me and let me know you’re interested in pursuing our training, as well as any follow-up questions you may have. If you’re “in faith” to continue, you can start immediately. – Rick
There is no travel required; you do not have to uproot your family to benefit from this training. The program is for the person who is “doing life” right now, in an environment where he or she wants to gain wise training from a seasoned Christian educator.
Because of the redemptive use of technology, we can put the entire program online. It’s in a Learning Management System (LMS) Most of our students complete the course within 18 to 24 months. And there is flexibility built into the coursework. It is self-paced!
I heard Rick speak for the first time a little over three years ago, and was immediately convicted that, even though I had a lot of theological knowledge, I was not applying what I knew to my life. Since then, I have been through Rick’s Distance Education program, and can say with all confidence I am profoundly different than I was before; my family and friends frequently comment about how God has changed me through what I have learned from Rick. I am more like my LORD now, and can effectively disciple other believers in their walks as well. – Brandi Huerta, Colorado
I’m a pastor, and I was in a dangerous place, but when I sought counsel and help through RickThomas.net, the LORD radically transformed my life and ministry! The DE program has helped me the most as a Christian, as a pastor, as a father, and as a husband! – Doug Graham, Ohio
While the recent increase in Gospel-centered teaching has blessed my walk, I was at a loss on how to apply these truths to my everyday life. Rick’s ministry bridges this divide by connecting the Gospel with a biblical understanding of the soul. As a lay counselor, his DE program has equipped me to minister the Gospel to my soul, my family, and others. His life is a model of Gospel-centered living. – Mark Grant, New Jersey
Note from Rick
The Mastermind course is a well-thought out and well-developed program. Throughout your coursework, you will be studied, discerned, and taught according to who you are rather than who someone else is. I do not do “cookie cutter” supervision. I do not provide “canned” answers.
You are a real and distinct person, loved by the Father, saved by the Son, empowered by the Spirit, and guided by the Word. My goal is to come alongside what the Father, Son, and the Spirit are doing in your life, to help you maximize Their good work in your life in real, tangible, and practical ways. – Rick Thomas
Six helpful podcasts
- There is no passing or failing in our program
- How can I be a counselor like you?
- Rick’s walks through “The Fearful Parent” case study, one of 48 studies in the course
- Does being certified mean anything?
- Can a procrastinator or undisciplined person do your program?
- 12 characteristics of a good counselor
Three core components
Relationally centered – One of the goals of our program is to help the student make personal application to his/her life. With an authentic understanding and practice of the Bible, the student will be able to care for others by (1) modeling the Christ life and (2) by giving wise, scriptural guidance so others can follow the student in a similar Christlikeness.
Church centered – Because we believe every Christian is a discipler, and the best place outside of our homes for sanctification to take place is the local church, our aim is to train the student to do soul care in such a way that he/she can practically impact their local churches through discipleship care, while bringing much joy to their leaders.
Gospel-centered – We believe the Gospel speaks to all of life, but many Christians are unaware how to connect the Gospel to their day-to-day lives. Our aim is to serve the body of Christ by helping our students to perceive, understand, and make those Gospel connections. The practical elements of this program are the hardest, but the most rewarding.
Elements of the program
|01||–||Systematic Theology||Practical studies through all the major doctrines.|
|02||–||9 Theology Books||The student chooses from 15 theology books to read.|
|03||–||15 Counseling books||Along with theology, the student delves into the details of sanctification.|
|04||–||24 Interactive Webinars||Live and archived webinars on 24 practical theological topics.|
|05||–||33 Drive-By-Marriage||These MP3 lessons are completed with the accompanying workbook.|
|06||–||240 Counseling Articles||48 topics, in five article sets, on all matters about sanctification.|
|07||–||48 Case Studies||Every two weeks during the program, the student does one case study.|
|08||–||Forum Engagement||The student provides directional and practical care to our Members.|
|09||–||Free Site Membership
||There is no additional Membership charge for the supervised track.|
|10||–||Monthly MM Meetings||Rick meets with his students for updates, conversation, and training.|
|11||–||Private Locker Room||A room accessible only to Master Minds for more detailed care.|
|12||–||Personal Supervision||Customized, detailed, revealing, and transformative care to help the student fulfill God’s gifting to him or her.|
Frequently asked questions
Is the $500 paid at one time and up front?
Yes, it is. You pay the entire $500 before you have access to the LMS (Learning Management System) coursework. The fee is a one-time payment for the whole program. I make all future updates online. The only way to have access to this online resource is to be actively “doing the program” or as a graduate. If you stop the program, I remove your access to the program until you become an active student again.
When can I begin?
You can start at any time after you submit your payment for the purchase of the program. It is self-paced, so you pick your start time. Each student comes in individually, and I treat them as an individual. Though there are several other students in the program, I engage each student as though he/she is the only student. There is no season or semester.
If you ever need to stop, you stop. Our program is an “integrity program” in that we’re all Christians, so we trust each other. If a person becomes sick or needs to take a break for any reason or just does not want to do the program any longer, they can stop, and there are no penalties. Again, we are a Christian organization. It is our joy and desire to serve, not to create unnecessary hurdles for you to jump. The only way to have access to this online resource is to be actively “doing the program” or as a graduate.
Can I stop the $100 recurring billing?
The supervised part of the program is $100 per month for the duration of the program, unless a person stops, as outlined above. If you do stop the program or take a break, you must notify us to let us know you want to stop the recurring billing. We will do that immediately. Anything you have paid is not refundable.
Are there any refunds?
Does being certified mean anything?
Be sure to listen to the podcast above.
Not really. Being certified can be over-bloated in the Christian community. It will not give you a special inroad into our culture. The main thing that will bring people to you for counseling is your ability to counsel. Your reputation as a competently skilled counselor, more than anything else, is what will set you apart as someone people want to seek.
Your reputation will be because of the grace of God in your life, as the good LORD works in you, through you, and for you–according to the gifting that He has given you, and according to your desire and discipline to work out what He has given you. If you have the desire to counsel and the skill (God-gifting) to counsel, and you passionately seek to appropriate those means of grace of God into your life, the LORD will more than likely build you a platform to care for many people.
Being certified does not necessarily help in that process. Being trained well does. Therefore, it is important that you have a wise, thorough, and competent program that can come alongside you to assist you.
Why should I not take this program?
I’m not sure. I try to talk people out of doing this program because it is not easy to do. Most of the individuals who begin the program, do not finish it. The Mastermind course is a transformational program requires (1) personal discipline, (2) time management skill, (3) an unwavering passion to help individuals, (4) courageous grace for self-examination, (5) faith for the process, (6) detestation for procrastination, and (7) an ability to balance life on the go. Our program is not a run-on string of busy work or non-essential grunt work. People do not quit because it’s beyond their intellectual ability. If they do quit, it is usually because of one (or all) of the following elements:
- It requires discipline: If you are not skilled in time management or if you procrastinate, you will not be able to do this program.
- It will mentally stretch you: I will challenge you to apply the Bible to everyday situations practically. It is one thing to know and be awed by God’s omnipresence, but it’s a wholly other matter to know how to practically connect that sound doctrine to a person struggling with depression. These kinds of applications are without question the hardest part of the program.
- You must be open to scrutiny: This is an apprenticeship, where there is specific and customized supervision that I sculpt to your uniqueness. My goal for you is not to teach you how to counsel others, but to teach you how to counsel yourself.
You are your first, primary, and most important counselee. Always. I am not looking for just anybody to supervise. I’m looking for leaders, who are passionate about God, life, and others. These are people who have a distinct gift for disciple-making, or what some call Christian or biblical counseling. While I don’t want to run you away from this program, I do want to be honest with you.
What would be a ballpark estimate of the number of hours a week needed to do the weekly work if a person planned to complete the course in 18 to 24 months? (I have a full-time job.)
Typically, the time is about five to six hours a week. However, it is hard to fully capture how much time you spend “doing the program” because a lot of time is spent in the program while doing other things. Here are a few examples:
- You’re listening to Drive-By-Marriage on the way to work, or while you’re running errands.
- You’re thinking through a Case Study while on a walk, a run, or shopping.
- You’re reading Systematic Theology (ST) while sitting on the toilet.
- And, of course, you’re laying awake at night trying to figure out how to write a Case Study from your ST work on secondary and primary causes.
All those moments are hard to quantify, but I would say as far as straight-up sitting at a desk coursework is concerned, you’re probably talking about five to six hours a week. I would recommend that you set up dedicated time to do your coursework while finding those spots, as outlined in 1-4 above to capture as much time as you need to do the program well.
You will need (1) passion for the work, (2) personal discipline, (3) time management skill, (4) biblical habituations, and (5) an organized mind. BTW, those five things are essential if you want to counsel well. Every skilled and seasoned discipler/counselor has mastered those disciplines.
You read it a second time. There are 24 books to read. That’s one per month for 24 months. Nine of them are in theology, while the other fifteen are in psychology–or what we call sanctification. I suspect you have not read them all. You choose 24 books from a selection of 42 books.
However, if you have to read one a second time, you will “triply” benefit: (1) You read it once; (2) you will read it again; (3) and your third time around will require you to write a several thousand word, three-part report, which requires you to explain the author’s intent, while bringing practical and personal application to your life. The point is: If you read a book twice, you will benefit more than the other students.
Does this training program qualify for ACBC certification?
No, it does not. Read the previous questions and comments on certification, plus listen to the podcast above. Our program is an independent study course that equips a student to be able to counsel within their God-given abilities. In that way, it is similar to certification. Meaning, if you have the gift for counseling, your training will help you to realize that gift fully.
However, if you do not have the gift for counseling, no training will be able to accomplish that goal. Gifting, as you know, is God-given, not training given. Training can enhance and draw out what God has given to you, but it can’t stir up what is not resident inside of you.
One of our goals is to train Christians, while not setting up in people’s minds an unintended consequence of a two-tier system: (1) those who can counsel, based on being certified and (2) those who can’t counsel because they were not certified. Certification should not be where we put the accent mark when it comes to being trained in how to disciple others.
As noted in a previous question, the number one thing that will make you a biblically successful counselor is your reputation (word-of-mouth from folks you have served), evidenced by truly helping people change.
My wife and I are considering signing up and beginning the program. Is the cost still $500.00, or $1000 for a couple? I assume the monthly mentoring is still $100 per person, rather than $100 per month for a couple?
I consider each student as an individual, even if they are married. The reason for this is because each student is (1) trained according to their gifting, (2) gift mix, (3) character, (4) competency, (5) capacity, and (6) other inherent and shaping influences.
There is no group or couple training due to the (1) uniqueness of each person, (2) their personal walk with God, and (3) where they are in their sanctification. What I would say to you, for example, I would not necessarily say to your wife, because it may not apply to her. How I train her, as she progresses through the program, will be different from you, and distinct from any other student in the program.
Therefore, I will correspond with you throughout the program as though your wife was not in the program; it is between you and me. I will treat her similarly.
If you and your wife pursue the training, you would be on separate paces. I will spend individual time with each of you, rather than talking, training, and corresponding to you as a couple. Therefore, “each student” would buy the course separately, and would be paying for the monthly supervision separately.