If you are interested in our training program, your first assignment is to familiarize yourself with the content on this page. Afterward, if you’re still interested, let us know you’re interested in pursuing our training, as well as any follow-up questions you may have.
Listen to the podcast
If you are in counseling or some other “help context” because of personal or relational problems, this program is not a good fit for you. Our training is a leadership course, not a personal counseling context.
It’s for Christians who are leaders or have affirmed leadership gifting, though they may not be in a leadership position at this time. It’s not for the faint of heart who is working to put their life back together again.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28
- Four Reasons You Should Not Take Our Training
- There Is No Passing or Failing In Our Program
- Does Being Certified Mean Anything?
- Can a Procrastinator or Undisciplined Person Do Your Program?
- 12 Characteristics of a Good Counselor
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
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
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 comparing you to anyone else. We do not do “cookie cutter” supervision.
You are a real and distinct person, loved by the Father, saved by the Son, empowered by the Spirit, and guided by the Word. Our 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
Looking for Busy, Mature Christians
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 seasoned Christian educators.
Because of the redemptive use of technology, we have put our entire program online. It’s in a Learning Management System (LMS) Most of our students complete the course within 24 to 48 months, depending on their pace. You build flexibility into your program.
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 of how to connect the gospel to their day-to-day lives. We aim 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
|ST||Systematic Theology practical studies through all the major doctrines.|
|Theology||The student reads and responds to several theological books.|
|Counseling||The student reads and responds to several sanctification books.|
|Webinars||Interactive webinars on 24 practical theological topics.|
|DBM||Listen to the Drive-By-Marriage lessons and completed the workbook.|
|Topics||Forty-eight Topical assignment on various sanctification issues.|
|Case Studies||Forty-eight case studies are part of the student’s practicum.|
|Forums||The student provides directional and practical care on our forums.|
|Membership||No additional member charge while you’re in the program.|
|Meetings||Students meet in cyberspace for updates, conversation, and training.|
|Private Area||Meeting space for Mastermind students.|
|Supervision||Personalized care for all student assignments.|
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, non-refundable payment for the whole program. The only way to have access to this online resource is to be actively doing the program. If you stop the program, you won’t have 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 $500 non-refundable payment for the purchase of the program. It is self-paced, so you pick your start time. Each student comes in individually and is treated as individuals. Though there are several other students in the program, we supervise each student as though he/she is the only student. There is no seasons or semesters.
Can I take a break, or stop at any time?
If you ever need to stop, you stop. Our program is an “integrity program” in that we’re 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 for pausing. We are a Christian organization. It is our joy and desire to serve you, not to create unnecessary hurdles for you. 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 you quit or pause, as outlined previously. 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. Anything you have paid is not refundable.
Are there any refunds?
Does being certified mean anything?
You may listen to the podcast on this page about that. Being certified can be over-bloated in the Christian community. It will not give you a special inroad or larger platform necessarily. 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.
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 that 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.
This is a leadership program, not a course for “counselees,” or those who try to use it as an alternative to counseling. People do not quit because it’s beyond their intellectual ability. They quit 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 Stretches You Mentally: We 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 different matter to know how to practically connect sound doctrine to a person struggling with problems. These applications are without question the hardest part of the program.
- You Must Me Mature: This is an apprenticeship, where there is specific and customized supervision where we sculpt to your uniqueness. Our 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. We are not looking for just anybody. We are 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 we don’t want to run you away from this program, we 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 commitment is about five to six hours a week. But it is hard to fully capture how much time you spend “doing the program” because a lot of time is expended in the program while doing other things. Here are a few examples:
- You’re listening to the audio assignments on the way to work, or while you’re running errands.
- You’re thinking through case studies while on a walk, a run, or shopping.
- You’re reading Systematic Theology (ST) during lunch breaks at work.
Those moments are hard to quantify, but as far as “dedicated desk time,” you’re probably talking about five to six hours a week. We recommend you set up dedicated time to do your coursework while finding those spots, as outlined 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. These five things are essential if you want to counsel well. Every skilled and seasoned discipler/counselor has mastered those disciplines.
If I have already read some of the books, will I need to re-read them cover-to-cover or simply re-acquaint myself with the material in each book?
You need to read it a second time because of the assignments that we require.
Does this training program qualify for certification?
Yes, it does. We are a training center for The International Association of Biblical Counselors. After you finish the Mastermind Program, you may choose to pursue your certification.
Certification Caveat – Our program is an independent study course that equips a student to be able to counsel within their God-given abilities. If you do not have the gift for counseling, no training will be able to accomplish that goal. Gifting is God-given, not training given. Training only enhances what God has given to 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.
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?
Each student is an individual, even if they are married. The reason is that 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 walk with God, and (3) where they are in their sanctification. E.g., how we train one spouse through the program, will be different from you, and distinct from any other student in the program. And we correspond with you throughout the program as though your wife was not in the program; it is between you and your supervisors.