This year’s back-to-school season will be a little different for me because, for the first time in a long time, I’m going back to school! The short story is that alongside my work at DCPC, I will be starting an online masters program in counseling at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. If everything goes according to plan, I will graduate in April 2023 and be licensed in North Carolina as a professional counselor and have those skills available as I continue to lead DCPC’s youth ministry and find other ways to minister from that intersection of theology and psychology.
The longer story is that this is something I’ve been thinking about since late 2019 as I have been a witness to a couple of trends: the rise in mental health issues among our teenagers and their familiarity with disorders, addictions, and treatments. In early 2020 I set a goal for myself to pursue continuing education pertaining to mental health, but quickly lost track of that as the pandemic hit and life got weird. As we started to re-emerge from lockdown and began to inventory the toll it has had on all of us, mental health issues again rose to the surface and I felt a greater urgency to pursue that continuing education, and maybe even more comprehensively than I initially imagined. I also knew that I wanted to attend a school that sees science as another revelation of God’s truth and embraces a faith in a loving Savior who wants to see humanity healed and whole. I pretty quickly fell in love with The Seattle School and their program, especially hearing from graduates and reading the work of the school’s founder, Dr. Dan Allender. One unexpected blessing of the pandemic is that TSS has made their programs available for online schooling so I wouldn’t have to choose between school and DCPC.
I recently heard pastor and author Rick Warren summarize Jesus’ earthly ministry as preaching, teaching, and healing and I’m excited to be pursuing new skills and knowledge that will enable DCPC Youth to be a place where students are hearing Jesus’ message preached, his way taught, and his healing of hearts, minds, and souls experienced. Your prayers and wisdom would be invaluable to me as we continue to partner together in ministry. Thanks to all of you for the support so far and what’s still to come!