R John Abernathy
This project examined the care and counseling ministries of three large, evangelical churches seeking to answer this question: "What staff and programs provide for an effective church-based Care and Counseling Ministry?" It was anticipated that the selected churches would have: a professionally trained appointed leader and trained laypersons; a safe environment for hope and healing; a clear pathway for people to find help; and the churches would use both prepackaged and their own written programs/materials. The research method and design was a case study of these three churches using interviews, direct observations and documentation such as websites and print materials. The goal was to gather the best practices from these church ministries and prayerfully seek to directly apply various organizational and functional traits to Wildwood Community Church in Norman and in the surrounding areas. This research sought to discover how the selected churches structure and execute their care and counseling ministries. In addition, this research endeavored to learn new ways of incorporating staff and laypeople as leaders and workers in Wildwood's Care and Counseling Ministry. Moreover, analysis was made to assess and determine the most valuable programs to implement for Wildwood's ministry of care and pastoral counseling.