N.C. Baptists have partnered with GuideStone Financial Resources to launch a new pilot program starting March 1, offering Christian counseling sessions at no cost to N.C. Baptist pastors and church leaders. Read the article below to learn more.

Editor’s Note: The N.C. Baptist and GuideStone counseling pilot program is now underway as of March 1. Any questions about the Faith-Based Counseling program may be directed to the pastoral health office by emailing [email protected] or calling (800) 395-5102.

In response to a growing number of mental health challenges facing church ministry leaders across North Carolina, N.C. Baptists have partnered with GuideStone Financial Resources® to begin offering Christian counseling sessions at no cost to pastors and church leaders through a new pilot program. 

This pilot, which begins March 1, will allow church ministry leaders to sign up for six therapy sessions provided at no cost through the online platform Global Counseling Network. Any N.C. Baptist pastor or church staff leader struggling with personal mental health challenges is eligible to receive care. There is also the option for family counseling for the pastor or church leader if needed.

“Providing our pastors access to these counseling services will help pastors maintain their mental health, provide better pastoral care, and will allow them to lead and guide their congregations effectively,” said Sandy Marks, pastoral ministry strategist for N.C. Baptists. “To have healthy churches, we must have healthy pastors.”

This pilot program is being launched as a result of conversations between N.C. Baptist and GuideStone leadership, who saw a need to support pastors and other church leaders facing mental health challenges, often a result of prolonged stress and pressures from ministry. The partnership allows N.C. Baptist church leaders to access mental health resources at no cost without losing any additional benefits they may be receiving from GuideStone.

Participants will be matched with counselors through Global Counseling Network, an online counseling agency that connects participants with pastoral counselors as well as licensed clinical therapists who share a Christian background. All Global Counseling Network counselors affirm a Christian worldview and hold beliefs that align with Global Counseling Network’s Statement of Faith. 

Only ministry leaders serving at N.C. Baptist-partnering churches and their families are eligible for this benefit. A limited number of spaces have been made available for the pilot program, with the goal to evaluate the need to launch a future program at a larger scale. 

A limited number of spaces have been made available for the pilot program, with the goal to evaluate the need to launch a future program at a larger scale.

“N.C. Baptists believe providing these services to our pastors is essential to support their mental and emotional well-being,” Marks said. “It is difficult for those who are not a pastor to understand how pastors often carry the emotional burdens of their congregation, making them susceptible to burnout and other stress-related issues.”

Once the interest form has been completed, registrants will be sent an intake questionnaire from N.C. Baptists starting on March 1. Completion of the intake questionnaire will start the process with Global Counseling Network. 

After connecting to Global Counseling Network’s online platform, pastors and church leaders will be given access to six sessions with their matched therapists at no cost. After six sessions are completed, church leaders may choose to continue therapy at their own cost. 

As a pilot, those who participate will be asked to complete feedback surveys at the start and completion of the service. Intake information and survey feedback will be shared with N.C. Baptists, GuideStone Financial Resources® and Global Counseling Network; information shared during counseling sessions will remain 100% confidential.

To learn more about the N.C. Baptist and GuideStone pilot program, email [email protected].

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