Shows Main Idea – God can change you regardless of the context or the means. He saved me while I was alone, reading a book with weak theology. But there are better contexts for change to happen in your life. This podcast walks through good, better, and the best settings for transformation.
Books – are typically the quickest and easiest way to change. The downside to books is that they are passive in that they do not “exegete” you in a customizable way. Most people who come to counseling have read more than one book on their problem, but they are not able to change. They need more. Books also keep your problems private, which is preferred by some individuals, though not wise in most cases.
Programs – are “plug and play” contexts that folks attend to find help within their local churches. They are similar to books, though not as private. They can bring the needed change, especially if the individual opens up within the “program community” about what is going on with them.
Bible Studies – whether private or public are foundational to all change because “practical theology” pulls from your theological foundation. If you do not have sound theology, you will not be able to change well. The downside to Bible studies is that it could be the accumulation of knowledge without application of that knowledge, which leads to arrogance. Some people prefer to “stack knowledge on top of knowledge” but never learning how to transform practically.
Our Ministry – can be a useful means to change because we offer (1) theology, (2) customized practical advice, and (3) community for your transformation. The drawbacks are that our ministry is in cyberspace and typically it’s with only one of the two people who are struggling with each other.
One-to-One – informal soul care happens in real time with “real people,” which opens the door to more effective care and accountability. There is still the “I’m only talking to you” problem since the other person in the relational dynamic is not present. And, of course, the context is artificial in that the two people are not “doing life together” typically.
Gender Groups – can be incredible opportunities for the community to grow together. There are multiple perspectives presented and there is safety in a “multitude of counselors.” The liability is that the other gender part (gender) of the community is a drawback in that takes away from Paul’s “one another” ideas in the NT. The one another dynamics happen with the fully body of Christ of that local community participating.
Counseling – can be an excellent context for change in that it’s not informal, but formalized, intense, and the counselor is competent in bringing soul care. The drawbacks are similar to the “one-to-one” model if the “one-to-one” person or the counselor is not engaging the counselee in other contexts, outside the counselor office.
Group Life – is a more robust context for change to happen because the body life of the local church is involved, which includes all the individuals–male and female–that should be part of the change process, whether it’s those who need to change or those who are cooperating with the Lord in the change process.
Family – the best context for change is a family, whether that’s a husband and wife, or parents and children. The family is the context and they are incorporating all the other settings that apply to them (1-8) for changing their lives. The keys for this context are humility, honesty, transparency, intentionality, and a desire for God’s fame.
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).