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712 | The Promise of “Life Abundant:” The Whole-life Discipleship Framework for the Church to Address Mental Health Challenges

Saturday 9/16 2:15 – 3:30, Spiritual Formation, Interventions, and Discipleship, Workshop Tracks


David Ferguson, Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU




What many researchers identify as a mental health crisis and that the Surgeon General has labeled a “national emergency” is, even now, only very slowly being embraced by a reticent church community. Counselor-supported coaching of pastors, church leaders, and lay caregivers can expedite a much-needed multiplication of “first responders” as mental health challenges are better contextualized into the biblical discipleship mandate with an emphasis on experiential scriptural support. This workshop will explore the challenges, outreach opportunities, and skills for coaching pastors and churches in a more complete and biblical perspective on mental health as critical to human flourishing and the call to make disciples better realized (Mt. 28:19-20).

Learning Objectives

1. Critique the current definition of discipleship, which focuses so exclusively on one’s faith, that mental health is very often minimized or ignored
2. Analyze a scripturally focused framework for whole-life discipleship that includes mental and emotional wellness as well as other counseling-related topics
3. Demonstrate scripturally focused experiential exercises designed for “first responder” support to mental health and related challenges
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