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Interview with Brenda Stewart | Care Counseling Program Manager
By Dave Franco - May 15, 2014

What is the range of issues you have to handle?
We receive many calls and emails each day ranging from people requesting help with groceries and clothing for their family to full blown crisis situations like suicide. We also help those who have been struggling with depression, grief, infidelity, pornography, marriage conflicts, parenting, spiritual battles, and the list goes on.

Do you become so involved with people’s crises that it affects you outside of work? How do you avoid it?
I have to continually remind myself that I can’t fix people and by experience, have become intimately acquainted with the fact that it takes an act of God. Nearly every call we receive is bigger than we can solve in our own strength. The best way that I can help people is to remain acutely aware that I can do nothing without the power of God’s Spirit. No ministry degree or years of ministry experience can substitute for a daily surrendering and asking for God’s supernatural loving, compassionate, creative, and healing power. When I minister this way, I feel like the burden is light, but if I am not caring for my own soul by being in communion with God, the burden becomes heavy and nothing supernatural happens.

Virtually every call you get is one of fear. Do you ever think of it that way—that you are on the front lines against the devil’s use of fear?
Care Counseling is part of the larger Pastoral Care Department at Rock Church. Our vision is to bring “Pervasive Hope to every member and every need.”

When we receive calls, there is always panic behind their voices. It is our role to meet them where they are with a compassionate and listening ear and help give God’s perspective in the area of their need. We listen for the lies that they are believing, we lovingly expose them and bring God’s truth to them. We pray with them on the spot and we follow up with practical and spiritual resources through various Rock Care ministries and Care Counseling.

Is there one type of crisis that you get more than others?
Most of our crisis calls are people who are being evicted from their homes, needing basic necessities or experiencing severe emotional pain and need to talk to someone who is close to God. They know that they can find help and direction at Rock Church because we care about people. Most of our requests for counseling appointments are related to all the pain, symptoms, and consequences that surround broken, unhealthy, and conflicted relationships. Care Counseling is designed to provide encouragement, insight and Biblical guidance during times of personal crisis or marriage and family difficulties.

What have you learned about people since taking this post? What have you learned about God?
I have learned that people have to want to get well. A big part of getting well is realizing that we have a Worship Disorder. We are worshiping everything except the One we were designed to worship and it never fulfills. Secondly, we all need community. We were not designed to put in our token, once-a-month church attendance, hide in the crowd, and expect to live the “abundant” Christian life that Jesus talks about in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

When we become prideful and believe the lie that we don’t need God’s people, we end up walking right into the schemes of the evil one who desires to divide and devour us. Many counseling requests can be traced back to lack of true worship of God and experiencing community with His people. Our good and gracious Father has lovingly placed us in a spiritual family so that we can care for one another, encourage one another, sharpen each other, and do ministry with one another. When we grow close to God, we begin to love what He loves and walk like He walks.

How fulfilling is your job?
I have a passion for investing my time in things that last for eternity. That leaves only three things: God, His Word, and the souls of men and women. My job encompasses all of those things, so I am in a pretty sweet place! When I am able to equip my Care Counseling team with how to share the gospel and they come back with stories of how they led someone to Christ; or when a struggling marriage is saved and the family is unified; or when a person who has been depressed and suicidal receives emotional healing and begins ministering to others, it goes beyond my being fulfilled to explosive energy realizing that this is what I was made for!

For more information about the Care Counseling Ministry, click here »