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2022 Pastoral Counsellors Network

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    Pastoral Counsellors Network Image
Equipping Christian counsellors with a biblical worldview

The European Pastoral Counsellors Network is for leaders involved in pastoral care or personal discipleship ministries. The Network will focus on common pastoral issues with the aim of building basic counselling skills grounded in a biblical understanding of, and approach to, the human heart. This year’s programme focuses on the character and spiritual life of the counsellor, understanding how to truly care for those who experience evil and suffering, discipling the whole person, the power of the relationship in counselling, and other topics relevant to those involved in pastoral care and discipleship.

Applicants should be leaders involved in pastoral care or personal discipleship ministries. The Network will focus on common pastoral issues, with the aim of building basic pastoral skills grounded in a biblical understanding and approach to the human heart.

Network Leadership

Jelena Sivulka was born and raised in Serbia, where she got her master’s degree in psychology and in theology. She became a Christian 25 years ago and a few years later got involved in ministry with her husband Greg, planting churches, distributing humanitarian aid, and partnering with Joni and Friends, serving people with disabilities. Jelena has also worked as a counsellor in Serbia’s schools and a social worker, and she is currently working as therapist in a medical clinic. She is the founder and director of the non-profit organisation Hana's Hope. She has been blessed with three children: Benjamin, Sara, and Hana, who has autism.

Network Speakers

Heather Holdsworth is a lecturer, Bible teacher, and artist. Her focus is in the subject of Spiritual Formation and Discipleship for all ages. She lectures in the innovative Chalmers Institute, St Andrews where ‘the academy’ and ‘the church’ are brought together in helpful dialogue, in Edinburgh Bible College, and more recently for pastors and leaders in rural Kenya. Much of her recent art is a unique meditation on lament through visual representations of the ancient words of the Psalms. Heather lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband, Adrian.

Eric L. Johnson is professor of Christian Psychology at Houston Baptist University, serving in the Gideon Institute of Christian Psychology & Counseling. He taught psychology for 10 years at University of Northwestern and counseling for 17 years at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to writing more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, he edited Psychology and Christianity: Five Views, and was a co-editor of Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in a Changing World. He has written Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal and God and Soul Care: The Therapeutic Resources of the Christian Faith. He was the first director of the Society for Christian Psychology and has been doing pastoral counseling for 20 years. He’s married to Rebekah, and they have two children, Laura and Iain, and a son-in-law, Rich. They have two grandchildren, Cash and Jedi.

Dave Patty has been involved in training youth leaders and leading national and international youth movements in Europe for over 30 years. He serves as the president of Josiah Venture. He is also a founding member of Global Youth Initiative, which mobilizes and equips youth ministry trainers in over 60 countries of the world. Dave is an ordained pastor with a BA in theology and a MA in education. He has also done graduate work in leadership development at Harvard University. For the past 27 years he has lived in the Czech Republic, and he spent the 10 years before that in Germany. Dave is married to Connie and has three grown children, Tyler, Caleb, and Claire.

Network Programme

Sunday, 22 May

What are the key factors that maximize spiritual growth in yourself and others? How can you purposefully cultivate them? Learning from Paul's letter to the Colossians, we will explore these key factors and consider some practical ways to cultivate them.

More information about this session is coming soon!

Monday, 23 May

What does it mean to set your mind on the Spirit? How does this bring life and peace? How does the flesh war against the mind–and the Spirit? In this session, we will examine Paul's teaching about these questions in Romans 8 and consider the practical impact for ourselves and the people we minister to. 

The Reformation occurred during a time of spiritual renewal within the Christian church, and many of its defining themes are extremely relevant for distinctly Christian counselling. We will focus on a number of these themes, drawing out their therapeutic relevance, and consider how we might make use of them in counselling with Christians.  

Tuesday, 24 May

As He moved among the broken in His time on our planet, the Creator quoted from an unexpected source.  Christ referred to the Psalms more than any part of our sacred text.  But when we need help in our living, we rarely knock on a poet’s door; our bookshelves favour method over musing, movement over reflection, yet in the Psalms we find beauty that brings our souls from weary valleys to hilltop praise.  In this session, we consider a unique engagement with the artistry and genius of Christ’s favoured writings.

Christ’s earthly ministry of physical healing conveyed symbolically God’s intention to promote psychospiritual healing in the coming centuries through faith in him and his death and resurrection. Benefitting from modern research on psychological change, we will discuss the largely untapped therapeutic resources that Christian therapists can use with their Christian clients, and offer to any who are interested.

Wednesday, 25 May

More information about this session is coming soon!

Humanity is in the midst of a sexual and gender revolution. To help the Christian community hold fast to God’s design plan for human life in these areas and also to help our culture begin to question the results of this revolution, we will consider its sources and novel ethical norms, how to reframe value differences about sex and gender, and how to engage our culture winsomely, but without compromise.