In Macomb County, suicides among middle school and high school students, as well as adults, have hit record highs. Trinity Lutheran Church in Clinton Township, Mich., is poised to help, not only based on proximity but also with the new Trinity Christian Counseling Center.
Even before the rates started to rise, the ministry staff at Trinity was exploring how to help those in the area and surrounding communities who were in need of counseling services. Through research of the area and listening to the needs of the congregation, Trinity started Trinity Christian Counseling with an office located in the heart of Mount Clemens. The counseling services are available to all members of the community, even if they have no affiliation to Trinity.
“Our ministry team is constantly looking for ways to help the community. By reaching out to the public rather than expecting them just to walk through our doors, we hope to make an impact on their lives, and hopefully bring them to a life of knowing Jesus as their savior,” said Senior Pastor Ken Wise. “Trinity Counseling Center is just one resource that we are able to offer to the community. Through our congregation’s diverse talents, we are able to provide services like this one.”
David Brown, Director of Trinity Christian Counseling and Minister for Adult Education and Family life at Trinity Lutheran Church, has provided counseling services to church members and the community for several years. He has counseled couples for more than 25 years and enjoys helping people find ways to improve and enhance their personal relationships through unique strategies and new approaches. As an American Association of Christian Counselors member, Brown said his position at Trinity and his passion for counseling led him to explore taking the services outside of the church walls.
“We worked tirelessly to shape what the counseling center would look like, not only for the surrounding community but also for our members,” Brown said. In surveying the congregation, Brown found 40 percent were more comfortable visiting an off-site location rather than the church for counseling, mostly due to privacy concerns. The planning team hypothesized that the community would feel less intimidated by an off-site setting as well.
Something to Offer
While there are many counselors available in the area near Trinity, very few are Christian-based, which helps Trinity stand out. “Even in a market that is pretty saturated with counselors, we feel we have something to offer to the community,” said Brown. As one of very few trained Discernment Counselors in Michigan, Brown is a sought-after marriage counselor. He also is experienced in dealing with depression, anxiety and other life challenges.
He teamed up with Trinity’s Director of Confirmation Ministry, Kristin Hardy, also a licensed counselor, specializing in counseling children, teens and young adults.
“When Kristin first came to Trinity, she was working with our youth and I was her supervisor. While she took time to move on to other things and obtain additional education in counseling, she has had a strong affiliation with the church,” Brown said. “Through Trinity Christian Counseling, we are working together again with a new context and a new sense of passion for helping the community.”
Hardy said Brown approached her about working at Trinity Christian Counseling and she agreed, however she knew building a counseling center from the ground up would be difficult.
“I am enjoying every minute of this. I am truly being blessed through this experience. I believe God has big things in store for this ministry and I’m excited to be part of helping our community,” said Hardy.
Brown and Hardy reached out to local schools, other churches, and Trinity’s community for referrals. Before long, they were receiving inquiries and scheduling appointments.
“Most people come in looking for help dealing with day-to-day struggles, but we are seeing more in the areas of grief and loss than we anticipated. We are seeing survivors of suicide and those dealing with the impact of drugs and alcohol abuse,” Brown said. “As the word gets out about our Christian approach to counseling, we are able to help more and more people within the community.”
To make the counseling available to everyone, the cost per session is based on a sliding scale related to household income.
While Trinity Christian Counseling recently leased space in the Olympia Building in Mount Clemens, Brown said he anticipates the center will outgrow the space.
“We picked the Olympia Building due to its proximity to our target audience. Not only is it close to Trinity, it’s at an intersection where many of our members pass through on a regular basis. We are also embedded within the community and very accessible to those who could benefit from our help. We want to make an impact here,” Brown said.
The Trinity Christian Counseling Center is located in the Olympia Building, 117 Cass Avenue, Mount Clemens. To make an appointment, call 586-468-0401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.