Counseling & Support

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

Welcome to RiverLakes Counseling Ministries, where you will find encouragement to help you find and follow Jesus through the transitions, challenges and struggles of life.  We are a ministry to hurting people encouraging them with the Hope of Christ,  so that they can be reconciled to God and to others. Whether you’re in the midst of a crisis, having to confront a challenge, or searching for spiritual direction, our ministry offers a friendly face of understanding and practical assistance.  By applying Biblical truths to everyday difficulties, you can learn to live a life full of joy that pleases God.

-Dr. Brent Van Elswyk, Pastor of Families,
Counseling and Support / Teaching Pastor

Lay Pastoral Counseling

People Encouraging People

People Encouraging People (PEP) is a ministry of trained Biblical Lay Pastoral Counselors to hurting people.  PEP counselors draw upon the comfort they have received from God to help others move closer to Jesus in the midst of their problems. When life challenges get tough, are you strong enough to ask for help?  

Referrals to Christian professional counselors are available as well. Don’t let your spiritual and emotional health be threatened. Call (661) 589-9733 x222 for assistance, appointments or referrals.
Care for Caregivers: Hands & Feet of Jesus is a new monthly support group for men and women responsible for the care of another who’s unable to care for themself. Caregiver roles have varying obligations and oversight that often lead to high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. This faith-based framework and safe atmosphere will encourage you as you commiserate and collaborate with others who also labor with tender hearts in need of camaraderie. Find understanding as you face the physical and emotional burdens common to the family, friend, lay or professional Caregiver.
Join us the first Monday of each month from 6:00 - 7:30pm (except 9/2) in the Board Room (2nd floor of Community Center off the North Lot). Call or text Amy at (301) 536-2578 to sign up or get more info. Childcare possible by prior arrangement only. 

Counseling and Support Ministries

Plan now to prepare for your marriage, not just your wedding.
A formal, public commitment of parents with their children.
For men and women going through the pain of a marriage breakup.
Weekly seminar for men and women grieving the death of someone close.
For women affected by their mate's sexual brokennes.
Hope, help & healing for women in Christ-centered, curriculum-based, highly confidential settings

Find Help to Get Through the Holiday Season

Sunday, October 13
3:00 - 5:00pm
Sunday, October 27
3:00 - 5:00pm
Sunday, October 27
3:00 - 5:00pm

A Guidebook for Lay Counseling Ministry

Conceived in 2002, this is a collection of what it takes to begin and maintain your Lay Counseling Ministry.  Take it and tweak it for your needs and to fit your church’s personality. Replace names and logos with your name(s) and logo. Add, remove, copy and paste to your heart's content. With this master, you’ll have a great start to a great ministry. Find included: Philosophy, Training, Procedure, Letters, Permission(s), Counselor Application and Releases, and Forms (most every form we’ve ever found we needed).  It’s all in this Guidebook Church Model to Effective Biblical Lay Pastoral Counseling.

The cost of the guidebook is $50.00 and once purchased will be sent to you via email. If you have any questions please call Debbie Allen at RiverLakes Community Church ((661) 589-9733 ext. 222).

Giving Opportunity

People Encouraging People

Trained lay counselors serve as a crucial lifeline to hurting people to provide hope, support and encouragement. Meeting with a lay counselor in a safe, accepting environment may assist an individual in overcoming the obstacles that are in front of them, with the ultimate goal being to point them to a closer, life changing walk with Jesus.  

Since its inception in 2002, the People Encouraging People ministry of RiverLakes Community Church has also been providing lay counselor training. Over the course of about 2 years, potential lay counselors attend 3 phases of training, obtain psychological testing, and participate in an interview process. Additionally, Consultation and Ongoing Education is provided on a regular basis to assist counselors with learning new techniques and counseling constructs, many of which are used directly in counseling sessions, as well as for the personal growth of counselors.
When you make a donation to RiverLakes Community Church, which supports the People Encouraging People ministry, not only does your gift go toward providing valuable resources used for training and education for counselors, but it impacts the lives of people living right here in the Bakersfield community and the Church-at-large. Any gift of any size is significant in helping us be People Encouraging People.

Thank you for your contribution!