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Pastoral Counsellors Network

Detailed information about the 2020 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2019 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2020 Network.

2019 European Pastoral Counsellors Network

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. We will discuss practical issues such as how to conduct a first session, how to ask questions, and what the goal of pastoral counselling should be.

The programme wlll feature both lectures and case studies. Case studies are a very helpful way to apply theoretical principles learned in lectures and from reading in the real situations that we will meet in counselling.  Therefore, the Pastoral Counsellors Network will spend time each day discussing a relevant case study. Participants will be given a written summary of the case prior to the Forum. At the Forum, the cases will be discussed in small groups in order to provide a more participatory style of learning.

Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.




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.




Pablo Martinez was a European Leadership Forum steering committee member for more than 10 years. He currently works as a psychiatrist at a private practice in Barcelona. He has also developed a wide ministry as a counsellor and itinerant speaker. He has been a plenary Bible teacher in more than 30 countries. He served as one of the vice-presidents of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA). He filled the role of President of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (1999-2009) and Professor of Pastoral Psychology at the Spanish Theological Seminary for seven years. His books have been published in 14 languages. His most recent works are Mad or God?: Jesus, the Healthiest Mind of All (Inter-Varsity Press, England, co-authored with Prof. Andrew Sims) and Take Care of Yourself: Survive and Thrive in Ministry (Hendrickson Publishers & Lausanne Movement). For more information see


Dan Zink joined the full-time faculty of Covenant Theological Seminary in 1995 after serving for five years as Director of Student Services and adjunct professor in practical theology, and for 11 years as a family counsellor, case-worker, and supervisor of public children’s services. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Zink was the founding director and five-year head of New Hope Counseling Services, a ministry of Chesterfield Presbyterian Church (PCA). He has had a private counselling practice for over twenty-five years, focusing on marriage, family, men’s, and leadership issues.  He has also been involved in the Christian education programs of four churches and served as assistant pastor at New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. His doctoral research focused on the enduring marriages of adult children of divorce.  Dr. Zink and his wife, Carolanne, have two adult daughters, Laurianne and Bethanne.




Day 1

3 Points of Focus for Better Counselling
Dan Zink

“But I don’t enjoy counselling.  If I am honest, I only do it because I have to.”  Many pastors and people helpers wish they could avoid counselling people.  They are not sure they are helping.  They do not know how to solve the problems people bring to them to solve.  This seminar will present a few crucial things to focus on to help your counselling to be to the point and for it to be truly helpful for counsellees and less confusing and more rewarding for you. 

Case Study 
Dan Zink


Day 2

Is Pastoral Care of Singles the Forgotten Ministry in Our Churches?
Pablo Martinez

Singleness is sometimes a deliberate choice, but most often it is the result of undesired events or circumstances. Caring for the pastoral needs of the single people is often one of the forgotten tasks of the church. The life of the community usually revolves around married couples and families. Being aware and understanding the needs of the single is the first step to providing them with support, shelter, and true love. This is the best way to help them live a full and fruitful life and feel part of the family of families, the Church.

Case Study 
Jelena Sivulka


Day 3

Emotionally Focused Couples Counselling –A Whole-Person Approach for All Counsellors
Dan Zink

A great strength of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is its ability to help spouses see through the surface problems to the hurt or disappointment underneath problems.  This focus on emotions corrects the over-emphasis on thoughts and behavior of most other counselling approaches.  Starting with a biblical understanding of the whole person, we will examine EFT principles that help address aspects of the whole person.  Understanding and applying 5 basic EFT principles to your couples counselling will improve your counselling of couples.  Principles addressed will include helping couples see their patterns of interaction that prevent understanding each other and helping spouses better understand the other’s thoughts and feelings.


Case Study
Dan Zink


Day 4

The First Love Story
Jelena Sivulka

The creation account starts with a picture of unity and mutuality. Looking at the first love story we will try to understand together male and female roles trough diversity and unity. How can we, through love, mutual service, intimacy, respectful care, and even dependence on one another, become fuller, deeper people, more alive to God and His Word? How can we offer couples in our church hope for their broken marriages, light for their confusion, and simply a new story with a better ending? 


Helping Couples Connect Deeply as God Intended
Dan Zink

“Naked without shame” instructs that God’s intention for couples was that each spouse was to be known completely by the other and yet completely accepted.  But this deepest of connection cannot be experienced in the same way since sin and its brokenness entered our world.  Yet, the goal for spouses is still to be deeply connected.  Discussion will include how helpers assist spouses to grow in acceptance of each other, see their lack of connection as their real problem, and connect deeply as God intends.


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