Presenter Topics – Dr. Beverly Yahnke

  • DOXOLOGY Executive Director for Spiritual Counsel
  • Brookfield, WI                                                      

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Pastor as Caregiver

Pastoral Responses to Souls Struggling with Mental Illness  (90 minutes):  Every pastor has endeavored to care for a mentally ill congregant, or new member prospect. Sometimes it is very difficult to know just how to respond effectively. Well-meaning, but ill-informed elders tell you, “He’s stopped coming to church.” “She’s just nervous around others.” He’s “depressed-out-of-his-mind.” “Their daughter is borderline.” The mentally ill and those who love them deserve well-informed and effective pastoral action plans lest they fall away, disillusioned, misunderstood, unnoticed or disaffected with the church itself.  How can the church respond to help – one person/family and church at a time? The session provides clinical and spiritually informed action plans to take home and implement with confidence.

The Fine Art of Pastoral Referral:  How To/When To/Why To  (75 minutes):  Making pastoral referrals for mental health needs is a particularly useful competency.  Referral requires the ability to be a good observer, a capacity to determine the nature of an individual’s/family’s needs and to draw conclusions about the level of dysfunction present.  This session prepares the pastor to make a confident referral for any individual/family requiring care.  Special attention is given to state reporting mandates as a unique way of ensuring care will be provided in urgent situations. Round-table conversation is used to invite pastoral responses identifying useful strategies in overcoming the reluctance to making referrals and to examining why some referral efforts fail.

Caring for the Struggling Marriage:  A Pastor’s Guide  (90 minutes):  When marriages are wounded, people turn to their pastor for marriage counseling and support. Very few seek soul care or ask to receive biblical teaching, prayer, absolution and blessing. Most want the pastor to affirm their perceptions and decisions, or to fix all that is broken in the marriage. The goal of this session to provide a useful template to increase pastoral confidence and effectiveness in responding to marriages in pain. The session will: explore a useful guide to inform pastoral inquiry; identify pastoral strategies which will direct the conversation to essential emphases; establish meaningful expectations; and, help to craft a Godly truce to prepare couples for referral. This session assists pastors to provide an effective foundation for restoring a time of marital equilibrium while preparing the couple for ongoing marriage counseling (elsewhere).

Pastoral Care for Children

The Transgender Child:  Caring for Child, Family and Church  (90 minutes):  Let’s break all the rules, shall we? Let’s talk about politics, religion and sex. We’ll review competing perspectives, recommendations and action plans regarding care for transgender children. The session will provide a helpful overview regarding key issues and will provide fact-based realities about gender dysphoria, highlighting how the mistaken advice of well-intentioned helpers can threaten a child’s well-being. The session will confront media distortions and move our responses from fear and uncertainty to confident presentation of the biblical truth and biological facts. Session offers a candid view of what care/despair looks like for child, parent and church and provides important talking points and strategies for the response of pastors and educators alike.

Children of Trauma  (60 minutes):  We’re becoming better at planning for disaster responses:  Yet, amid all of the crisis, loss and sadness it is entirely possible to overlook the littlest ones. Many first responder strategies are choreographed to assist communities and “people”.   In the opinion of many, children are among the most underserved in disaster response settings. (The elderly are underserved, as well.)   Among the disaster’s many victims we will find the most vulnerable, most needy and most frightened souls of all: the children.  This sectional will provide an overview of the best wisdom available regarding a child’s response to disaster, and how pastors and helpers might respond most effectively to child size trauma.  Years of experience have taught us we are wise to attend to little ones, whose lives can bear immediate and long-term large hurts.

Pastoral Self-Care

Resilience Strategies (Which Make a Difference) for Remarkably Busy Pastors  (90 minutes):  This fast-moving and engaging session will explore healthy responses to the genuine stressors of doing what it is God has called you to do. The session examines habits of thought and the power our choices have to influence our sense of satisfaction, success and well-being. Many Godly servants have come to believe that they must live their lives in the fast lane if they are to meet everyone’s needs and enjoy everyone’s approval.  This conversation will review some of the cutting-edge recommendations about pre-emptive and palliative strategies that pastors can use with confidence in the parish as well as in their vocations as husband, father, son and friend.

Additional topics may be available upon request.