Elements of Program

On the Program

I am excited about this journey that you are taking. You can begin sending in homework immediately once you complete “Your First Assignment.” Here are a few things to consider about the program.

On Homework

Turn in all of your work from a single block at one time. Your supervisors want to work on all your assignments at once rather than the piecemeal approach. The more uninterrupted time they have to focus on you, the more effectively they can serve you.

Your program is self-paced, so don’t pressure yourself to do work every week. While you don’t want to procrastinate, you don’t want to jump in the other ditch of legalism.

On the Forum

The Mastermind forum is a private place for you and other students. Nobody else in our Membership Community can access this forum; only you.

It is vital for you to start answering forum questions from our community. As you become more skilled in counseling, we’d like to see one student take a questioner, and work it through to a satisfactory end. The forum gives you a safe place to immediately apply what you’re learning.

On Topical Assignments

Applying God’s truths practically to your life is what you will be asking others to do. Thus, your goal throughout this program is to become a “professional” at application, which always starts with you. Rather than talking about others in this topical assignment or addressing a subject that is on your heart, I want you to speak about yourself directly.

How did this topical assignment affect you? Where are you appropriating the grace of God into your life regarding this topic? What specific areas were you convicted and see the need to change? What is your practical plan for changing? One or two application points are what I’m looking for her. Thus, you will have to take a lot of information and bring it down to one or two practical points. It is like a counseling session where you’re listening to a lot, but you can only give the person a few points in response because they will not be able to retain much. Mastering the skill of “brief and amazing” is vital to your discipleship endeavors.

Please refrain from writing out Scripture verses or passages. I want to hear from you. I want to know how you think, process, and apply God’s Word to your life, which will position you correctly to care for others. And, as always, “brief and amazing” for this topic: 250 to 300 words.

On Case Studies

Your case studies will be the place where your supervisors will provide you the most scrutiny. These assignments are nearly always the hardest part of the program because the student is connecting the gospel to real-life situations. Most Christians love theology and sanctification related topics. They enjoy reading those subjects while conversing about them.

Where Christians traditionally have not done well is connecting sound theology and psychology (what we call sanctification) to real people, living everyday lives, while struggling in relational or situational difficulties.

We will challenge you. Please prepare your heart for these challenges. Our goal is to appropriately push you to help you reach the capacity the Lord has written into your narrative. You may or may not become a “high end” formalized counselor, which is not the goal of this program; our goal for you is to become all the Lord has designed for you to be. That is doable, but it will challenge your soul.

On Book Reports

The paper should not be more than five pages with a 12 pt font. The idea is to be reflective, practical, succinct, and profound. You should be brief but amazing. Part of this exercise is to teach you how to reduce your thoughts into a few sentences per section, which will be hugely important when you’re talking to people.

Besides personal application and holiness throughout this part of your program, you want to be able to think quickly, succinctly, profoundly, and practically when talking to others about applying the gospel to real life. Space out your quotes throughout the book, which will give you the opportunity to interact with the author and all of the content throughout the assignment.

On Webinars

Integrity notetaking: There are no written assignments for the webinars. The reason for this is because we don’t want to overwhelm you with lots of writing assignments. If everything has a writing requirement, there could be a temptation to “write by rote” rather than making a writing assignment special, thoughtful, and amazing. We expect you to take notes on these webinars in your style that will best help you to be affected most effectively.

On Master Mind Meetings

Each month Rick meets with his students individually, by Zoom, on the condition that at least one block has been completed, supervised, and the student has responded at least one time on the forum. Each student will need to set a monthly date with Lucia that will run throughout the course (e.g. the second Monday of each month at 4:00 PM ET). A few minutes before each scheduled meeting Rick will send the student a Zoom link.

On Disagreement

If you agree with everything presented in this program, there is something wrong with you. (Insert wink/smile here). E.g., your ST work is from Wayne Grudem. Wayne is an amazing, humble, and gifted man. He is also highly educated. Even so, I doubt you will agree with everything he says. I doubt you will agree with everything that I say.

There is no way to write a program while pulling in dozens of authors, theologians, and gifted Christians, and expect a total agreement with everything they present. With that said, there are two things to keep in mind as you move through this program:

  1. The gospel is the main thing, and it’s non-negotiable.
  2. We want to exercise Christian charity with how we respond to those with whom we disagree.

Our preference is for you to think “charitably critically” as you do your program. To do so is to have the gift of discipleship. A skilled and wise counselor must be able to listen critically and charitably if they want to help any counselee.

This process is not a call for suspicion, cynicism, or negativity. It’s a call for wisdom, discernment, and an ability to filter a person through the grid of God’s Word. It is the ability to “biblically” think outside the box.