“Provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isa. 61:3)
I believe that God’s story for humanity is made of four key parts: creation, fall, redemption, restoration (and ultimately consummation). It is important to assist others to find restoration to the image of God (the imago dei). God’s image exists in every human being and explains why all of us know how to love and be generous, creative, kind, and caring. Creation shows us how things ought to be. “Our fascination with beauty, hunger for relationships, bent toward goodness and justice, and longing for connection with a transcendent God are all clues about our origins.” Christ’s death and resurrection is not only meant to save people from something, but he wanted to save people to something. God longs to restore people to be the “oaks of righteousness” he has designed them to be with the ability to “display his splendor.” These ideas are hard-wired in every individual (Gen. 1:26-27). Sometimes people lose their way or find their ability to reflect God’s image effectively broken and unable to recover on their own what was lost.
“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” (Col. 1:28)
Because of this brokenness, it becomes necessary for people to face the nature of their falleness so that they become aware of their need to change. This may be done alone, but often this is best accomplished with the assistance of another person such as a counselor. A counselor gently confronts a person with loving concern to reveal and encourage change. Once they have this insight they experience first order change. This simply means they are aware that change is required for them to be set free. During first order change a person may also be aware of what changes must take place in order for them to experience wholeness. However, insight or first order change is only the first step.
The next step in an effective therapeutic approach is to effect second order change. Second order change means that there is a reversal of direction, new way of doing things, and a true transformation of thinking or behavior. These methods include acquiring various therapeutic skills that effectively equip a client to move from first order change to second order change. This variety of methods and tools is always based on the truth of God’s Word.
The following statements may summarize my ministry philosophy and therapeutic approach. My goal with each client is to:
- Enlighten to reveal first order change
- Empower to produce second order change
- Equip to provide tools for effective change