Serving the local church
through the ministry of counseling.
I’m a pastor at heart. I have been licensed as a minister for 9 years and I’ll be ordained later this year. Before I went to school to be a counselor I went to Bible College and majored in Biblical Languages (3 years of Greek, 2 years of Hebrew). I understand counseling as discipleship. When done right, counseling is a cooperative work with the Holy Spirit healing the body, confronting sin, and conforming individuals, marriages, and families into the image of God.
God called me to be a counselor. He called me to start a counseling center independent of any particular church, so that we are a resource to the Church (big C) at large and to its pastors.
We serve the local church by:
- Providing counsel you can trust to be theologically Biblical.
- Specializing in difficult and complex issues parishioners face.
- Relieving pastors of the overwhelming time and energy burden of in depth counseling.
- Preventing the disconnect that can happen between parishioner and pastor when the pastor knows “too much” and every sermon “feels like it’s intentionally pointed right at me.”
- Being a confidential place for pastors to process their “own stuff.” Many pastors meet with me regularly as “preventative care.”
Most pastors spend little more than a few hours a week providing individual counsel. The rest of your time is divided between a plethora of other responsibilities. I and the other professional counselors at The Relationship Center spend about 1,000 hours a piece every year providing individual, marriage, and family counseling. The sheer number of hours we spend each week working with the same issues over-and-over enables us to help folks fast and accurately.
I provide free consultations to pastors. Do you have a situation with a parishioner you could use some input on? Are you trying to sort through some of you “own stuff?” You can call me directly at 417-459-4967 or use the form below to request a consult. I’ll call you as soon as I have break between clients.
Below you’ll find the answers to some frequently asked questions and a resources section with links to articles I and the team have written for you.
Together we are co-laborers with Christ, reconciling people to God and helping them live the abundant life Jesus came that they might have.
Looking forward to serving you,
Rev. Josh Spurlock, MA, LPC
Director of The Relationship Center
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are you confidential? Yes. Not only ethically are we bound to keep confidence, as licensed professionals we are legally required to keep your information confidential. There are only a few exceptions, such as if a client informs us they plan to kill themselves, someone else, somebodies being abused, or a judge gets involved in the situation and orders us to.
Q. What are the costs? A common concern pastors have is whether or not their parishioners can afford professional counseling. It’s a legitimate concern. Since our center is not supported by tithes we have to collect the cost of providing the services (including all our overhead) from the clients we help. The cost is not any more than they would be if the church is providing the services in house.
I know this because recently I had the opportunity to audit a local church’s counseling department books. I divided the number of sessions they were providing by the total cost of the department. Come to find, our independent center was actually providing services at a lower per session cost than the church’s center. The only difference being the department was supported by the general fund of the church and we collect directly from the clients receiving the services.
Our session fees run between $75-$125 per session. The price varies depending on the training and experience of the counselor. The more training and experience the higher the fee.
Q. Do you have scholarships or payment plans? Yes. We never turn anyone away because of their financial circumstances. We do answer “No” when asked if we offer free counseling. Typically this is asked by folks who feel entitled that others should work for free so they can have what they want without having to give anything. We don’t believe this is Biblical.
We have scholarships and payment plans to meet every budget. If a person genuinely wants to get help and is willing to do the work necessary to see change in their situation, we will make sure they are able to get the help they seek.
Q. How can the church help pay for counseling? There are several ways a church can help. We typically recommend a sliding scale, matching scholarship. What this looks like is the parishioner completes a scholarship application where they indicate what their budget will allow them to contribute towards their counseling. The church then matches up to the lesser of the session fee or the amount the person is contributing. Any remaining amount the center places on an interest fee payment plan for client.
The church can either contribute this on a per instance basis or setup as part of their benevolence a designated scholarship fund with us they pay into each month.
We discourage churches from paying 100% of session fees. We believe, and have found in practice, where a person’s treasure is so is their heart. When a person doesn’t have any “skin in the game” it shows in the effort they put into the counseling. Paying 100% can actually hinder the counseling process. Matching the clients contribution incentives them to contribute as much as they truly can and thus maximizes their investment in the outcome. This approach also helps stretch the churches benevolence dollars enabling the church to help more people.