I’m Going to Grad School!

So here’s an announcement and a request…

ANNOUNCEMENT

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been accepted into the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Colorado Christian University. It’s a two-and-a-half-year program that’ll start in July. It’s mostly online and is designed for folks with full-time jobs, which is handy.

This feels like the next step in responding to God’s call on my life to “see the hearts of the hurting.” In fact, during our first year in Cambodia I attended a leadership conference and felt like God clearly pressed upon me the image of a bridge built on two pillars. The top of the bridge, the overarching call on my life, was the growth and health of the global church. The two pillars upon which that calling would rest? Discipling young people and heart-focused pastoral counseling. Those core ideas have been on my office wall for nearly ten years now.

Since this grad program is designed for adult learners with full-time jobs, I plan to continue serving with Team Expansion in exactly the same capacity, providing pastoral care and empathetic coaching to missionaries all over the world.

Starting years ago at Living Well in Cambodia, both of my counseling supervisors repeatedly encouraged me to look into a step like this. They both told me: “Your forties are the perfect time to get a masters in counseling. You should go for it.” They both had. 😊

I’ve spent thousands of hours over the last eight years sitting with hundreds of clients from around the world, and my deep hope is that this program will equip me to serve them with more skill, more resources, and more knowledge.

An MA degree will also open the door for possible teaching at the college level at some point in the future (missions and/or counseling). I hope to write more in the future too, exploring the blessings the church can bring when we walk alongside of those who are hurting, and contrasting that with the tremendous damage that can be done when we fail to understand trauma, abuse, grief, and deep emotional pain.

REQUEST

Like many companies and churches, our missions agency provides an educational reimbursement fringe benefit up to $5,000 per year. This is fantastic and could be extremely helpful! However, because Team Expansion is a missions agency, and because we serve in a support-based position, we have to raise our own benefits.

This isn’t a new concept, but it is a bit unique: we won’t get the benefit if we don’t raise it.

We don’t know exactly how we’re going to pay for grad school. We do know that we’re not going to use funds that our regular supporters have given to the general ministry fund. What we can do, however, is invite you to consider giving especially for this educational need.

If you’ve been blessed over the years by our writings or pastoral counseling ministry, or if you’d like to support this preparation for future ministry, would you consider giving? Team Expansion has taught us to invite boldly, so here we are. Just put “education” in the notes section of our giving page.

We couldn’t have gotten this far without y’all, and we can’t get a whole lot farther without y’all. If you have any questions, please let me know.

In the meantime, we’re going to keep trying to “follow close” behind Him, serving missionaries and cross-cultural workers around the world, equipping them to see the hearts of the hurting people around them, for his glory and for the growth and health of the global Kingdom.

All for ONE,

Jonathan T.

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