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In this last subject matter conversation, only focus on the forum’s prompts as you solidify your learning experience with a convincing “So What?!” and, as a people-helper, discover “What’s Best Next?!” Thoughtfully develop responses to the following considerations.

  • “So What?!”  With the following scenario in mind, can you provide a clear, convincing argument for a particular insight from the course?

Louise Smith, the first lady of racing, wisely said, “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.”

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More than likely there are moments when yesterday’s junk keeps you awake at night.

What problem, perspective, paradigm, or perplexing people puzzle keeps you awake at night? In what way, if any, has the Holy Spirit used course materials to address a piece of junk?

Organize your thoughts into a insightful testimony. Proofread carefully and support your story with a good example and at least 1 citation from the readings.

  • “What’s Best Next?!” Petersen (2015) intimated that people-helping could be “thera-noxious” (unhealthy, p. 251). Locate resources that may foster a therapeutic (healthy) paradigm in three areas:

This is your opportunity to consolidate your learning experience as you dig up meaningful people-helping insights. Use these links and others to discover some therapeutic goodies for each of these areas. Be concise and clear so that the most inattentive PACOneer can “get it and keep it” for future reference. Organize your thoughts, proofread carefully and support your response to each area with a good example and at least 1 citation.


  • Carefully Follow Meaning-Making Forum Guidelines & Tips!
  • Make sure to use headings (2) so that the most inattentive reader may easily follow your thoughts.
  • Use the annotated outline approach. Bullets should have concise, complete, well-developed sentences or paragraphs.
  • Foster a “noble-minded” climate for investigating claims through well-supported core assertions (i.e., consider the validation pattern of the Bereans; Acts 17:11).  Noticeably support assertions to facilitate further investigation and to avoid the appearance of plagiarism. Noticeably support assertions to facilitate reader’s further investigation and to avoid the appearance of plagiarism. Follow current APA standards or Turabian form. Make every effort to prove that you care about the subject matter by proofreading to eliminate grammar and spelling distractions.
  • Right Click on hyperlinks and Open in New Window

The Best Articles on Self-Care in the Church




· JANUARY 26, 2017

last updated June 2019

Several months ago I asked, Is Self-Care Part of Your Paid Employment, and Should It Be? Of readers who responded to the interactive poll, 50% said yes, 25% said no, 25% it depends.

Since then, I’ve done more reading on self-care as it relates to church employment, and today I share the most helpful articles I’ve found with the title/link and a brief quote–not to summarize each article, but to encourage you to read the entire post. Some specifically address pastors, others speak more generally, some offer practical suggestions, others challenge the idea of self-care, one article might seem to contradict another, but together they stimulate a thoughtful approach to self-care when you work for the church.

Wherever you see “pastor,” “clergy,” or “employee,” please feel free to fill in your own job title, and wherever you see “workplace,” substitute church or other Christian organization. If you have other articles to recommend, please add the link in the comments to expand this resource list.

1. Why Pastors Suck at Self-Care

I have been asked what seminaries teach now about self-care, having only graduated 5 years ago. Self-care was one of most common mantras of my seminary education, and it seems obvious to me that you can’t really care for others, or fulfill your vocation with integrity, if you are a burned out wreck… yet so many pastors obviously feel the opposite.

For so many professional ministers, a well rested, healthy pastor is a pastor failing at ministry. The Duke Clergy Health Initiative study on self-care among pastors, suggests that many ministers think self-care is selfish. My colleagues have told me that there was a day in seminary education when the message to students was that being a pastor meant giving your life to Jesus (or in other words, to your congregation 24/7). There is no room for self-care in ministry. [Read more about Why Pastors Suck at Self-Care….]

2. What Clergy Do Not Need

I do not think clergy need more lectures about self-care. It seems that at every ordination or installation service I attend there is a charge given about clergy self-care. One minister stands up and tells another minister that they know they are about to work themselves to death, so resist the temptation. “Take your day off…set boundaries…don’t try to be all things to all people.” All this is done in front of an audience of lay people who are supposed to be impressed that we clergy would need such a lecture. It has become a cliché, and seems to have trumped prophecy, theology and the love of Jesus. [Read more about What Clergy Do Not Need….]

3. The Difference Between Selfish Care, Self-Care, and Soul Care

Quite simply, good self-care is attending to and respecting the limitations and needs that God has designed for humans. I find the analogy of caring for our car as a helpful starting point. Changing the oil and doing regular maintenance is simply being a responsible car owner. It is not selfish to ignore the flashing check engine light; it is not a measure of one’s strength to ignore our needs as a human, rather foolishness. [Read more about Selfish Care, Self-Care, and Soul Care….]

4. Self-Care and Self-Denial

The topic of self-care, particularly as it relates to physical and emotional health, has long confused and challenged me as a Christian. While I’ve deeply resonated with much of the common sense in the philosophy of self-care, other aspects have troubled me and seem completely incompatible with Christianity. I couldn’t agree with Scripture and at the same time agree with arguments encouraging me to pursue a self-focused, indulgent, comfort-based lifestyle. On the other hand, I heartily agreed in principle with discussions of self-care as stewardship. Still, I usually came away with more of a sense of heavy obligation than of freedom and gratitude. I often saw God as an auto mechanic pacing around, irritated and inconvenienced by my failure to get my car in for regular maintenance. [Read more about Self-Care and Self-Denial….]

5. The Insanity of ‘Self-Care’

The closest the self-care movement can

get to truly good news is to tell you to stare at something big:

· “Watch a sunrise.”

· “Hike in the woods.”

· “Go to the beach.”

· “Take a country drive.”

· “Watch a sunset.”

Each of these is an effort to put you in front of something bigger than yourself long enough that you forget yourself. The strategies hint at the Christian gospel because the sensations we feel gazing at bigness begin to uncover the God-sized cavity beneath our guilt, stress, and anxiety.

The care you really need is not buried somewhere deep inside of you, waiting to be unlocked by some dessert or diversion. No, you need the healing, forgiving, restoring, and transforming grace of a God who loves you. [Read more about The Insanity of ‘Self-Care’….]

6. What Does the Bible Say About Rest and Self-Care?

When I was really struggling to understand why rest and self-care were important practices for Christians I conversed with various mentors and friends and couldn’t get a satisfying answer. I know of so many faithful pastors and missionaries who work tirelessly for the gospel despite their own deteriorating health– there is just so much need and good work to be done that carving out time for rest seems selfish and counter-productive. That is our human thinking– but what does the Bible have to say about rest and self-care? [Read more about What Does the Bible Say About Rest and Self-Care….]

7. Self-Care and the Christian

If we look to the Bible for signs of Jesus taking care of His personal needs, we can see that He was able to recognise His own needs and tend to them accordingly. He was able to comprehend that He had limits and that God had allowed for Him to care for Himself. When He saw the need, Jesus would escape to nurse his heavy heart in prayer, indulging in time to Himself because He needed it.

Even Jesus had limits. This is humbling for us to remember. It’s so easy to hold ourselves to a level of perfection and feel shame when we struggle to meet our own expectations of what a Christian ‘should be like’. [Read more about Self-Care and the Christian….]

8. Self-Care Is Not Self-ish

When the Rev. Jeanette Hicks graduated from seminary in 2010, a mentor cautioned her about overwork. A retired pastor, the mentor hoped that Hicks and other young clergy would do better at staying healthy over the long run than she and her contemporaries had done.

But just six months later, Hicks, a United Methodist pastor then serving in the Kentucky Conference, was a sleep-deprived wreck, surviving on sugar-fueled energy and calorie-dense church meals. . . .

Hicks’ experience is not unusual. Even with the best intentions and all the knowledge and advice in the world, clergy of all ages often find it difficult to take care of themselves, the Duke Clergy Health Initiative has found. On the long list of items that must be done every day, they often put themselves last. [Read more about Self-Care Is Not Self-ish….]

9. Developing a Self-Care Plan

Workplace or Professional Self-Care involves activities that help you to work consistently at the professional level expected of you. For example:

Engage in regular supervision or consulting with a more experienced colleague;

Set up a peer-support group;

Be strict with boundaries between clients/students and staff;

Read professional journals;

Attend professional development programs.

[Read more about Developing a Self-Care Plan….]

10. Do You Foster a Culture of Self-Care in the Workplace?

This article cites the work of professor Marie Asberg, who describes burnout as an “exhaustion funnel” and offers tips to foster a culture of self-care, including:

Create a healthy email policy – be mindful of the burden of e-mails on staff and implement ways to reduce it in order to increase productivity and efficiency. A new report by the London-based Future Work Center, which conducts psychological research on workplace experiences, found that two of the most stressful habits were leaving emails on all day and checking emails early in the morning and late at night. [Read more about Do You Foster a Culture of Self-Care in the Workplace….]

Protect Your Counseling Ministry from Sexual Misconduct Allegations

In today’s increasingly litigious society, you need to know the legal risks associated with pastoral counseling and how to protect your organization and staff against allegations of sexual misconduct.

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

· Put your counseling procedures in writing.

· Offer only pastoral (spiritual) counseling.

· Develop a referral network of other professionals who provide help beyond the scope of spiritual counseling.

· Limit the length and number of sessions in which opposite-sex counseling is permitted

· Screen everyone who will be providing counseling.

· Consider conducting opposite-sex counseling by telephone. If this is not an option, consider having two counselors present.

· Conduct counseling sessions only on church premises when others are present in the building.

· Refrain from any speech or action that could in any way be construed sexually or romantically.

· Keep the door to the counseling office open or install a window in the counseling office.

Cautions Concerning Counseling

1. Using secular counseling methods without possessing secular credentials increases your legal liability. If you use such methods, you could lose your First Amendment “freedom of religion” protection.

2. Youth ministries are at high risk for sexual misconduct allegations. Establish rigid guidelines for youth ministers and youth activities. Plan youth activities in advance and ensure that adequate adult supervision is present.

3. A growing number of states deem it a criminal offense for a counselor to become sexually involved with a client. Consensual sexual conduct is not a valid defense if a court determines that such a law was violated.

CCEF Certificates

Join with other students from around the world to explore topics such as:

· How do we change through the person of Christ?

· How do we walk alongside others who are seeking to find hope and help in the gospel?

· What does it look like to help others in the context of the local church?

· How do we apply all of Scripture to all of life?


Details of the Certificate

While CCEF is not an accredited institution, we do offer a robust certificate program. Certificates represent that a student has completed courses in our program. The School of Biblical Counseling awards three different certificates: Foundations of Biblical Counseling, Topics in Biblical Counseling, and Counseling Skills and Practice.

Students who are working toward a certificate represent diverse backgrounds and ministry goals–they are pastors, youth ministers, counselors, small group leaders, laypeople, missionaries, business men and women, retirees, and more.

Please note that CCEF is not a certifying agency. CCEF does not “certify” or “endorse” counselors who have completed one of our certificate programs. A significant part of any professional certification process is supervised counseling to observe if a student is appropriately applying what has been learned, along with periodic recertification requirements. At this time, CCEF only awards a certificate of completion from our organization, representing that students have completed coursework within that certificate.

If you wish to refer to yourself as a “certified counselor” or “certified biblical counselor,” you should pursue certification through an organization that provides this type of certification. Some organizations will accept CCEF courses as part of their training requirement. Licensure as a professional counselor is offered through state agencies and typically requires a graduate degree from an accredited institution. Some of our students do go on to be licensed.

Time Required for Completion

Effective Fall 2018, students are not required to complete certificate courses within a specific timeframe.

Order of Study

Students are required to complete Dynamics of Biblical Change prior to any other CCEF course. Once Dynamics of Biblical Change is completed, students may take courses in any order. They are not required to complete the Foundations of Biblical counseling certificate prior to enrolling in courses within the other certificates.

Students must complete a Foundations certificate before they can receive a Topics or Counseling Skills certificate. After completing the Foundations certificate, students may choose to complete either the Topics or Counseling Skills and Practice certificates in whatever order they prefer.

For complete information on CCEF’s course policies, please review our Course Policies Handbook. Other questions may be answered on the School FAQs page.

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