Christ in Action: Counseling Ministry2021-04-30T09:53:33-04:00

Emotional and Spiritual Care to Individuals Facing a Crisis or Difficult Situation.

Feeling overwhelmed by life’s circumstances? Our counseling ministry connects you with a caring, confidential minister who will help you start moving forward again.

Christ in Action ministers are members of Real Life who are specially trained to provide emotional and spiritual care to individuals facing a crisis or difficult situation. They demonstrate God’s love by coming alongside care receivers who need a little extra support.

Contact Christy Clark at 980-329-8161 to request a CIA minister.

Q&A About the Christ in Action Counseling Ministry

How long will the CIA Minister work with me?2019-01-23T16:24:21-05:00

As long as you feel the need to meet.

CIA Minister relationships last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. The average length is 18 to 24 months, including a wind-down time.

As things improve, the care receiver and minister begin to talk about closure. The formal relationship ends when the care recipient is ready.

My problem seems small. Can we just meet once or twice?2019-01-23T16:25:19-05:00

Caring relationships last as long or short as needed. Keep in mind, however, that it usually takes more than a couple of meetings to establish a trusting relationship.

How can I be assured of confidentiality?2019-01-23T16:26:47-05:00

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of Christ in Action Ministry. It is emphasized in both training and supervision.

CIA Ministers do not share what is discussed in their caring relationships. Only the two CIA Leaders in charge of referrals know who is receiving care. If anyone else finds out, it will only be because you chose to share your experience — which you are certainly free to do if you wish.

The only exception to the confidentiality rule would be if a CIA Minister must share confidential information in order to save a life.

Is there any cost involved?2019-01-23T16:27:30-05:00

No. Christ in Action Ministry is a gift from Real Life to those in need.

Do I have to be a member of Real Life Church? What about my neighbor who’s going through a rough time?2019-01-23T16:29:31-05:00

Christ in Action Ministry is open to family members, friends, church staff, and neighbors who may not be members.

We have occasionally served residents of nearby nursing homes and members of churches that don’t have CIA Ministry programs or where it would be more appropriate for the minister to come from outside the congregation.

The key criteria is ensuring that the caring relationship is safe for the CIA Minister. We need to know enough about any potential care recipient to ensure safety.

How are the CIA Ministers trained?2019-01-23T15:54:53-05:00

After being interviewed and passing reference and background checks, potential CIA ministers must complete 50 hours of training. Topics include the art of listening, Christian caring and prayer, confidentiality, assertiveness, boundaries, how to begin and end a caring relationship, depression, grief and loss, ministering to the dying, job loss, and divorce.

CIA Ministers participate in monthly continuing education to help them grow as Christians and as caregivers.

How are the CIA Ministers supervised?2019-01-23T15:56:39-05:00

All Christ in Action Ministers participate in supervision once a month. This supervision provides support, encouragement, and accountability for each other so that they can continue to provide the highest quality care.

During supervision, CIA Ministers may discuss issues their care receivers are facing, but they never discuss their care receivers by name or give other identifying information.

Only the two CIA leaders who handle referrals know who is receiving care.

Who are the Christ in Action Ministry Leaders?2019-01-23T15:58:23-05:00

They are CIA Ministers who have undergone extensive additional training and who oversee the Christ in Action Ministry.

These leaders recruit, select, train, organize, and supervise other CIA Ministers. They also identify people in need of care and match them with the trained CIA Ministers.

Why do CIA Ministers volunteer?2019-01-23T15:59:20-05:00

Christ in Action Ministers are Christians who have discovered that they have gifts of caring, encouragement, listening, faith, mercy, and compassion. They feel called to serve others through this ministry and participate because they know that in Christ alone there is hope.

What kind of problems are CIA Ministers equipped to deal with?2019-01-23T16:03:14-05:00

We support care recipients dealing with all sorts of emotionally stressful situations. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The loss of a loved one
  • Divorce or separation
  • Failed relationships
  • Family stress
  • Hospitalization
  • Serious or chronic illness
  • Aging and dying
  • Recovery after an accident or disaster
  • Birth, adoption, miscarriage, or infertility
  • Unemployment or job crisis
  • Financial concerns
  • Relocation
Are there any problems which are off limits?2019-01-23T16:04:27-05:00

CIA Ministers are not equipped to work with minors, those who are at risk of hurting themselves or others, or those who need mental health treatment, therapy, or medication.

When necessary, CIA Ministers refer their care receivers to health professionals or counselors.

When should I request a CIA Minister?2019-01-23T16:05:25-05:00

If you’re facing a challenge you can’t deal with on your own, or if you find yourself wearing out your friends and family with your problems, a CIA Minister might be right for you.

Christ in Action Ministers are specially equipped to walk with you through problems large and small.

How do I request a Christ in Action Minister?2019-01-23T16:07:31-05:00

Contact Christy Clark at 980-329-8161. Christy is the CIA Ministry’s referrals coordinator.

I have a friend who could use a Christ in Action Minister. How can I refer them?2019-01-23T16:09:44-05:00

First, talk with your friend about the Christ in Action program and get his or her permission. Then, contact Christy Clark.

Please do not surprise your friend by referring him or her without permission.

How are CIA Ministers assigned?2019-01-23T16:11:51-05:00

When you request a CIA Minister, Debbie Garrison works to place you.

She reviews the list of available ministers and determines who would make the best match based on factors such as work schedules and geography to facilitate meetings. She also screens for potential conflicts such as being in the same small group and your preferences (such as a request for a specific Stephen Minister).

After prayerful consideration, she notifies you.

You have the chance to bring up any issues or concerns before the assignment is finalized and the relationship begins.

Will I be paired with a CIA Minister of the same gender?2019-01-23T16:13:29-05:00

Yes, care recipients are always paired with a CIA Minister of the same sex.

I’m a teenager. Can I get a CIA Minister?2019-01-23T16:15:13-05:00

Sorry, no.

Minors are not able to give legal consent to receive care. Nor would it be possible or necessarily advisable to guarantee confidentiality. Parents have a legal right to know what goes on in any caring relationship where their child is the care recipient.

My spouse and I have the same issue. Can we work with a CIA Minister together?2019-01-23T16:16:23-05:00

While you may be facing the same issue, you’re probably processing it differently. Therefore, it’s beneficial for each of you to have a unique individual to work with.

Furthermore, CIA Ministers are most effective when they are paired with a single care recipient at a time.

What if my CIA Minister and I don’t click?2019-01-23T16:17:17-05:00

We would encourage you to explore with him or her why this may be the case. Your CIA Minister could also explore the difficulty in supervision.

If all else fails, a new minister can be assigned.

Will I get someone with expertise in my issue or has experienced the same sort of thing?2019-01-23T16:18:46-05:00

That is possible, but not a requirement. CIA Ministers are trained to listen and help process all sorts of issues.

If you request a minister with special experience, that request will be considered during the referral process.

Where, when and how often will we meet?2019-01-23T16:20:05-05:00

You and your Christ in Action Minister decide.

Meetings typically occur once a week and last an hour or so. The frequency tends to taper off to semi-monthly or monthly as things improve.

The location could be at church, in your home, at a restaurant, or on a park bench—wherever you feel most comfortable.

Phone calls sometimes supplement the meetings, but face-to-face contact is usually most effective, especially early in the process.

What exactly will we do?2019-01-23T16:21:21-05:00

Talk, listen, laugh, cry, pray — whatever you need. CIA Ministers are trained to listen. Not to try and solve the problem.

That sounds a lot like friendship. What’s the difference?2019-01-23T16:22:29-05:00

Friendship is a two-way relationship with each person supporting the other. Christ in Action Ministry is a one-way relationship focused on helping you with your issues.

That being said, some CIA Minister relationships do evolve into friendships.

Christ in Action Ministry was formerly known as Stephen Ministry.

National Resources: 

  1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Available 24/7, and in English and Spanish): 800-273-8255
  2. Veteran Hotline: 855-838-8255
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Find treatment areas):
  4. Salvation Army Recovery:
  5. Celebrate Recovery: 
  6. American Association of Christian Counseling: type=distance
  7. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 
  8. Mental Health First Aid:
  9. Hope for Mental Health, a series from Saddleback Church: watch/hope-for-mental-health
  10. Christian Care Connect: 
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