This post and the heart behind it has been a long time coming. It all began 20+ years ago in an overwhelmed youth pastor’s office in Clarkston, Michigan when I realized that my formative years and formal ministry training, while solid and helpful, had left me inadequately prepared to navigate the mind-boggling challenges of counseling real people with real and messy problems. What followed were years of pursuing advanced training in biblical counseling and a master’s degree in the same…all while planting and pastoring a fledgling-turned-growing church in “Amish Country,” Ohio. After much prayer and counsel, Heidi and I have come to realize that to dismiss this inescapable gifting would be to quench the Spirit of God who unmistakably longs to live and bless others through inadequate but called people like us!
The best way I can fathom to capture the loaded “why” in words is to break down the three words of this new initiative that the Lord is directing Heidi and me to add to our calling:
May I begin by stating what this “ministry” is NOT. To our church family at North Life Baptist Church and the community of Wayne County, Ohio, this, in no way, means that we will be stepping away from being the senior pastor of our favorite people and in our favorite place. We continue to believe that the most fruitful and enduring ministry done in the name of Jesus is done in close proximity to His body, the local church…specifically the one to which He has called us. The new requirements of energy and time on our family will, Lord-willing, expand and not diminish the impact of our local church through other local churches and missionary endeavors around the world.
Now, permit me convey a summary of the positives. The word “ministry” has been carefully selected to ground and preserve all that is done under this banner to be for the benefit of others in the name of Jesus, the One who came to serve, not be served. While it will obviously require certain financial support and prayer partners as a means, the sanctified end of the agenda is to serve others who need evangelized and edified in an intentionally personal, professional manner. Our prayer is that this new ministry will serve in collaboration with local churches around the world to make and mobilize disciples who possess physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual vitality. This is, by the way, when each of our churches and those who populate them reach their full kingdom potential in even a very broken, fallen world for the glory of our soon-coming King!
Our prayer is that this new ministry will serve in collaboration with local churches around the world to make and mobilize disciples who possess physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual vitality.Our Prayer
First, may I carefully enunciate what our counseling will not be. We are not, by any means seeking to undermine or work independently of medical professionals, who alone have the qualifications related to pharmaceuticals and therapies for the physical needs/challenges of every counselee. While these medical experts are not to be considered infallible, Inspire will alway work in conjunction with them on prescriptions, suicidal tendencies, careful diagnoses, and a host of other anatomical (“related to the body”) maladies. While the counseling provided by our ministry will be subjected to the authority of God’s Word, it will also be robustly informed by clinical insights and observations. In addition, our services will, in no way, usurp or replace the role of local church leadership in the life of the believer in need of counseling. (One of the requirements for any counseling we provide, virtual or in person, will be that the believer notify their pastor of the counseling and be weekly attending a local, Bible-preaching church.)
So what will be the agenda of the counseling provided by Inspire? In it purest form, counseling is simply hands-on obedience to the Great Commission. Our primary focus will be upon ministering to and through those who lead in the increasingly difficult calling of local church ministry and missions. However, if required by these same leaders, we are willing to provide counseling to those outside of our church as our schedule allows. For the lost person who comes under the influence of our ministry, the starting point will be “pre-counseling” or evangelism. Until a person is regenerated with the Spirit of God, the Agent of Change, inside of them, there can be no honest hope for lasting change and growth. We are more than willing to meet with an unsaved individual, couple, or family; but this will always be our first and primary agenda. As it relates to the believer, our counseling offers a way to get much-needed help that is a comfortable, confidential distance from the leadership/people of their home church (no “walk of shame” to the pastor’s office) while maintaining a consistent adherence to the doctrine of God’s Word. This is a delicate balance that is unfortunately hard to find in even “Christian” counseling centers today.
So why lead with the word “inspire” in this new biblical counseling initiative? Here are the core values to be built upon this richly theological yet immensely practical term that we pray is poised to be a help to you, your family, and your local church in the days ahead:
The Name: “Inspire”
“Inspiration” come from Greek word which means “God breathed.” As Millard Erickson would define it, “By inspiration of Scripture, we mean that supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Scripture writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God.” Therefore if all Scripture is inspired, then it was all breathed out by God. Yes, you read that right-BY GOD HIMSELF! There is nothing as life-giving, renewing, and transforming as the Word of God. It is the same Word that originally created all of life in the cosmos and yearns to recreate and refresh our thirsty souls in a very fallen, hurting, and broken world.
Mission Statement: “Helping People Practically Breathe In What God Has Graciously Breathed Out”
We exist to help people practically breathe in what God has graciously breathed out.Mission Statement
Key Verses: 1 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (or complete), throughly furnished (or equipped) unto all good works.”
This God-breathed book we call the Bible uniquely profits every person in the following ways:
- “Doctrine”-This is teaching exclusive to the Bible on all the foundational truths about God, mankind, sin, salvation, sanctification, the church, and future events.
- “Reproof”-This is tender, pointed rebuke of words, actions, thoughts, and attitudes that are dishonoring and displeasing to a Holy God.
- “Correction”-This is taking the exposed wrong and proactively setting forth a practical way to make it right in the sight of the Lord.
- “Instruction”-This takes the enabling grace of God and traces out a detailed strategy on how to persistently and progressively live a godly life.
Unfortunately many, including a host of believers, are looking to “get their second wind” in a life that has greatly disappointed and frustrated them without the empowerment of their greatest gift from heaven itself-the Scriptures! It is striking how many secular counseling and meditation techniques involve some form of breathing. Why? The tendency when we are battling trauma, anxiety, depression, etc. is to struggle with even basic functions such as lung activity that grows increasingly shallow or intensely labored. Researchers of almost every point of reference have discovered that to intentionally focus upon the restored normalcy of a basic function like breathing often focuses and realigns our management of thoughts, emotions, and even psychosomatic (relating to the interaction of mind and body) effects on the body. One mainstream example would be from a postmodern poet and online influencer named D. Antoinette Foy: “Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs and every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite.” Sentiment like this sounds intoxicatingly mysterious and liberating, but the glaring problem with these secular, oxygen-oriented techniques is their divorce from an acknowledgement of and relation with the God “in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).
Would you pray for us and partner with us in any way that the Lord leads as we seek to truly help people practically breathe in what God has so graciously and gloriously breathed out to us in His Word? Thank you, in advance, for being willing to go on this faith journey in the years to come with our family/church and anticipate how many souls, homes, churches, and church leaders can be reinvigorated through the hope and change found only in the Holy Scriptures! Pastors, missionaries, and ministry wives, please let us know how we can help you/your ministry, and we will do our very best to come along side of you to support and lighten your load. For more information on scheduling with us for a consultation as a ministry leader or to schedule a “Wellness Weekend” of corporate sessions/services at your local church, please visit our Facebook Page or website. (More details to come on the counseling services we will be strategically providing in the days ahead.)
Pastor Snode grew up in Butler, Ohio and attended Mansfield Baptist Temple where he was saved and trained to serve the Lord. He married his wife Heidi in the summer of 2001, and they have two sons in high school. For six years, Harley served as an assistant pastor in Clarkston, Michigan where he was ordained in 2004. The Snodes have had the privilege of planting and pastoring North Life Baptist Church since its launch in Wooster, Ohio in 2009. He currently holds a B.A. in Pastoral Ministries from Pensacola Christian College, intensive training alongside his wife from Faith Biblical Counseling in Lafayette, Indiana, and an M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Maranatha Baptist Seminary.