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Local Pastors Benefit from Counseling Seminar

By Rachel Judy | May 16, 2011

Dr. Jim Sells

Tackling one of the most challenging aspects of a pastor's job, Regent University's Counseling Couples in Conflict seminar addressed ways pastors can care for married couples in their congregations. The Thursday, May 12, seminar was the latest in a series of offerings from Regent that aim to provide support and encouragement for local pastors and their congregations.

"Regent desires to be a valuable partner to churches, and this is a fantastic way to leverage the resources of our faculty to serve and equip local pastors," explained Brett Coates, director of church relations. "All workshops are designed to provide busy pastors with practical information that will enable them to minister more effectively."

Issues surrounding couples counseling have existed among pastors for a long time. "Counseling couples is the thing they have to do the most but like the least," said Dr. Jim Sells, professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling and leader of the seminar. Sells co-authored the new book Counseling Couples in Conflict: A Relational Restoration Model, along with fellow School of Psychology & Counseling professor Dr. Mark Yarhouse.

Speaking to a group of more than 50 local pastors, Sells' goal was to provide techniques and ideas for pastors to give them the confidence they need to lead couples in their congregations. "[For] most people, when they have a marital issue that they recognize to be out of control ... the person they go to first is their pastor, priest, rabbi or imam," Sells explained. Even though this is a widely recognized fact, most pastors have received only basic counseling training. "You just run out of space in all the courses being taken in seminary," Sells said.

Dave Hanvey, pastor of Real Life Christian Church in Chesapeake, Va., is excited about the opportunity to gather with other pastors to discuss an issue they face continuously. "I believe it is important for pastors of local churches to connect with Regent University for several reasons," he said. "Regent has an amazing team of experts who instruct and teach topics that are important and relevant to the church. The training and support that Regent is offering to pastors is helping us better equip our local churches to understand the complexities of the issues that the church is facing today."

"I have found the relationship between Regent University and our church and staff to be very valuable," said Greg Brinson, pastor at London Bridge Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Va. "The training and encouraging events at Regent have been excellent. The schedule is very convenient for pastors and the speakers have delivered good Biblical approaches to difficult ministerial issues. It is a great avenue to stay up-to-date on our ever changing culture."

Previously, Regent has hosted pastoral workshops on leadership, worship, technology and social media, and church websites. For more information about upcoming workshops and ways churches can connect with Regent, please contact Brett Coates at

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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