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LeaderCare adds staff, extends ministry reach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–LeaderCare, a ministry to ministers and their families, sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, is expanding with added services and staff.
Designed to provide personal development resources as well as crisis prevention, intervention and restoration resources for pastors, staff members and their families, LeaderCare began in May 1996, later adding a 911-type crisis hotline.
Joining the LeaderCare staff are Barney Self, hotline specialist; Dallas Speight, retreat specialist and counselor; and Bob Sheffield, ministers’ advocate specialist. A ministers’ wives specialist will be added to the staff later this year.
Self, a licensed marital and family therapist, has been clinical director of Christian Counseling Services in Nashville, Tenn. Earlier, he was in private practice in marriage, family and individual pastoral counseling. He holds bachelor and master of business administration degrees from Baylor University, Waco, Texas; and master and doctor of religious education degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Among his responsibilities will be counseling pastors, staff and their families who call the LeaderCare hotline, as well as providing appropriate referrals and follow-up for those he counsels.
Speight, a licensed mental health counselor, has been director of pastoral services for Baptist Hospital, Pensacola, Fla., since 1994. Earlier he was assistant director of the hospital’s pastoral care unit. He has been a pastor of churches in Florida and Louisiana. He holds the B.A. degree from Bob Jones University, Greenville, S.C. He earned the mater of divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; the master of science in counseling and human development degree from Troy (Ala.) State University; and the doctor of ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Ga. He is a graduate of the Command and Staff General College, U.S. Army.
He will oversee retreats for pastors, staff and spouses and coordinate personal development and career assessment programs.
Sheffield, a LifeWay employee since 1985, has been a church consultant in deacon and pastoral ministries in the pastor-staff leadership department. Earlier, he was pastor of churches in Mississippi and Texas. He earned the B.A. degree in sociology from Mississippi College, Clinton, and the bachelor of divinity degree in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Among his responsibilities will be work with deacons, church committees and other church leaders in their relationships with ministers and their families, as well as development of resources to help pastor and staff search committees.
Other LeaderCare staff include Brooks Faulkner, senior LeaderCare specialist in compassion fatigue, personal growth and random violence; Norris Smith, specialist in conflict management and mediation; and Tommy Yessick, wellness specialist.
Neil Knierim, manager of the LeaderCare section, said the hotline (1-888-789-1911), a 24-hour-a-day service, receives approximately 3,000 calls annually. Needs range from having someone to listen and pray with them to referral to a provider for intensive psychiatric care.
In May 1999, LeaderCare assumed responsibility for Wounded Heroes, now known as Wounded Ministers, a ministry to depressed and hurting ministers begun by Southern Baptist evangelist Freddie Gage. Wounded Ministers retreats are scheduled Sept. 20-24,1999,and Feb. 14-18, 2000, at Ridgecrest (N.C.), a LifeWay Conference Center. At Glorieta (N.M.), a LifeWay Conference Center, retreats are Nov. 15-19, 1999, and April 3-7, 2000. Ministers’ Family Weekends are planned for June 23-26, 2000, at Ridgecrest and July 7-10 at Glorieta.
Career assessments are provided in individual and group sessions. Approximately 85 people are provided individual assessment each year, along with four group assessment sessions totaling 215 people per year. Knierim said most sessions include both the spouse and the minister.
Weekend events for ministers and spouses who have experienced a forced termination are called “Agenda for Healing.” LeaderCare conducts nine of these events each year, with 200 total participants. The weekends include group therapy and support sessions to help couples work through issues related to the termination. State Baptist convention church-minister relations directors follow up with additional counseling and resume placement service as needed.
LeaderCare conducts Personal and Professional Growth Seminars each year. Participants examine their skills, affirm their call, analyze their personalities and giftedness and consider their ministry goals. This intensive event is limited to six persons for each event. Extensive follow-up is done with each participant to monitor progress.
Minister/Spouse Marriage Enrichment events are conducted eight times each year. These two-day events deal with relationships within a ministry marriage. Typical subjects are intimacy, communication and prioritizing relationships and responsibilities. Approximately 350 couples participate each year.
Conference for ministers who need encouragement and support are offered in a variety of locations. Average attendance for each event is 130 ministers. Staff from LeaderCare, LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr., and a minister who has been through a difficult experience, speak at these events.
Six teambuilding events for pastors and their staffs are planned across the United States between September 1999 and September 2000.
Knierim said through referrals, personal contacts and the LeaderCare Hotline the LeaderCare staff discovers “a number of people who need help beyond a couple of phone calls or a few minutes following a seminar.
“We have more than 1,000 counselors available through our state convention network and 90 clergy care organizations through which we can get help for persons who have severe needs. Annually we refer 300 couples and individuals to these resources.”
LeaderCare also conducts and sponsors five church conflict mediations annually. LeaderCare has trained more than 400 persons to conduct church mediations. Approximately 40 mediations are done annually by state convention-related mediators.
“The Minister’s Family,” a quarterly magazine is published to encourage, inspire, inform and enrich the lives of ministers and their families.
Information on events and resources available from LeaderCare may be obtained by calling 615-251-2265. Subscriptions to “The Minister’s Family” may be obtained by calling 1-800-458-2772.

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  • Charles Willis