Instead of a book review, today's post will look at some wonderful tools for helping folks in the church who are struggling or hurting.
New Growth Press is delivering biblical solutions to some of society's most difficult situations, including recovery from child abuse, keeping your cool when dealing with difficult children, single parenting, and recovery from divorce. They have published 21 booklets, compiled by the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation, that acknowledge the difficulties Christians have in life and offer tangible actions that can lead to peace, spiritual growth, and resolution. (Complete list at the end of this post)
As a recent press release about these booklets states, churches are filled with nicely dressed people who look like they have it 'all together'. "But looks can be deceiving. From the anonymous back-row pew-dweller married to an abusive spouse to the prominent church member struggling with a secret addiction, the body of Christ is not immune to the messes that accompany daily living in our fallen world. Some may wonder if God is really big enough to handle their problems—or if he even cares for them at all in their present circumstances. These people desperately need to feel his healing touch…but are the folks at church ready to deal with such serious crises? Do they even know where to start?"
These booklets, approximately 24 - 32 pages in length, are designed to equip pastors, counselors, and everyday Christians to provide encouragement and real life-giving answers for people dealing with serious problems. The topics are divided into three categories:
Marriage and Family Resources, and
Resources for Personal Change.
The booklets are small and inexpensive, so they can be used by ministers and counselors as handouts or could even be available as resources free of charge to parishoners. In addition, lay counselors or small group leaders may want to use them to increase awareness of prayer partners and others who may work one-on-one to minister to others. The way the booklets begin by acknowledging the pain and frustration people are facing can provide guidance for dealing with a problem that may be discussed for the first time by a person needing assistance. And the Christ-based action steps offer a sound foundation for offering lay suggestions.
The booklets are not designed to take the place of sound Christian counseling, but they can offer a lifeline to someone who is seeking compassion and direction.
Some specific info on four of the pamphlets:
Divorce Recovery by Winston T. Smith offers biblical advice on how to forgive an ex-spouse, help children cope with divorce, and begin the process of starting over again. It also explores the biblical issues surrounding remarriage.
Single Parents by Robert T. Jones speaks those who often feel segregated and judged by the church. It advises single parents to embrace their identity as Christians rather than attempt to fit in either the “singles” or “parents” categories. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their single parent status—whether they are divorced, widowed, or have never been married—readers will be encouraged to discover that God’s heart breaks for the widow and the fatherless, and he has extended some special promises just for them.
Every parent—has moments when their children push them to the limit. How Do I Stop Losing It with My Kids? by William P. Smith offers a new perspective on effective discipline. The booklet examines the core reasons we often lose control when dealing with misbehavior and reveals surprisingly effective methods of winning a child’s heart.
Recovering from Child Abuse by David Powlison encourages those who have suffered abuse to look at their true identity, not to define themselves by their past. The booklet includes practical strategies that will help abuse victims learn to trust others again, release bitterness, build healthy sexual relationships with their spouses, discipline their own children in appropriate, loving ways, and learn to deal with conflict.
I highly recommend these pamphlets for any ministry group that deals with life issues of their constituents!
You can find more information and purchase these booklets at the New Life Press Bookstore.
Here is a complete list of the booklets they offer:
Angry Children: Understanding and Helping Your Child Regain Control
Single Parents: Daily Grace for the Hardest Job
How Do I Stop Losing It with My Kids?: Getting to the Heart of Your Discipline Problems
Peer Pressure: Recognizing the Warning Signs and Giving New Direction
Help for Stepfamilies: Avoiding the Pitfalls and Learning to Love
Helping Your Adopted Child: Understanding Your Child’s Unique Identity
Marriage and Family Resources
Who Does the Dishes?: Decision Making in Marriage
Should We Get Married?: How to Evaluate Your Relationship
Renewing Marital Intimacy: Closing the Gap Between You and Your Spouse
Living with an Angry Spouse: Help for Victims of Abuse
Family Feuds: How to Respond
Help! My Spouse Committed Adultery: First Steps for Dealing with Betrayal
Divorce Recovery: Growing and Healing God’s Way
Resources for Personal Change
How to Love Difficult People: Receiving and Sharing God’s Mercy
When Bad Things Happen: Thoughtful Answers to Hard Questions
Freedom from Guilt: Finding Release from Your Burdens
Recovering from Child Abuse: Healing and Hope for Victims
Eating Disorders: The Quest for Thinness
Help for the Caregiver: Facing the Challenges with Understanding and Strength
Healing After Abortion: God’s Mercy Is for You
Facing Death with Hope: Living for What Lasts