​RiverLakes Community Church offers counseling and counseling referrals through the People Encouraging People Ministry. Most cases are suitable for the Biblical Lay Pastoral Counseling services. The ultimate goal of Lay Counselors is to help people become more Christlike in attitudes, beliefs and purpose, resulting in a greater spiritual maturity and enriched relationships with God and others. Trained Lay Counselors typically meet man-to-man, woman-to-woman, or couple-to-couple. The Lay Ministry of RiverLakes Church is non-fee, short-term, confidential, and Biblically based. For information, intake and scheduling, call 589.9733 x222.

Additionally, RiverLakes Community Church offers classes and conferences that provide focused teaching, training, support and encouragement for individuals, couples and families. Various support groups are available for those in similar life circumstances. Check out "Support Groups" or call the church at 589.9733 x222 to see if one is right for you. When entering into pain while deepening our relationship with Christ, we will discover the wisdom we have been seeking.

Brent Van Elswyk

Las Vegas Debriefing

Las Vegas Debriefing

​Monday, October 9

6:30 - 9:00pm

Community Center Auditorium

The recent massacre in Las Vegas has had a huge impact on our community. So many of us were either present during the attack or know someone who was. Our hearts grieve for the lives lost that day. 

If you or someone you know have been impacted by that tragic day, we invite you to join us for a special meeting led by Pastor Brent Van Elswyk and a team of trained grief and trauma counselors. At this gathering we will pray and talk through the trauma of this event which has affected so many of us.

Getting Ready for Marriage

​Premarital Counseling that helps you develop a strong and stable foundation upon which to build a God-honoring and fulfilling marriage. Plan now to prepare for your marriage, not just your wedding. Cost: $120.00

CC, Room 120

Crisis Care Team

Crisis Care Team

​The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has touched many areas of our life. Our daily routines have shifted, our activities have been curtailed and our relationships have moved online.  We suddenly find ourselves navigating uncharted waters and experiencing a range of emotions. If you’re feeling the pressure of all this and desire prayer and encouragement, the Crisis Care Team is only a call away. Just phone the church office at 589-9733 and leave your name, number and need in a voice message and a CCT member will be calling you back. Referrals to Christian licensed counselors are available as well. Don’t let your spiritual and emotional health be threatened. Access words of truth, hope and comfort by calling for the Crisis Care Team today. You may also email us at

The following links may be beneficial as well:

  1. Our Daily Bread
  2. Focus on the Family

Resources to download:

  1. Attributes of God
  2. Christian Counselor Referral List
  3. Encouragement Verses
  4. God Can
  5. Exercising God's Truth Over satan's Lies With Thank You Prayers
  6. How Do I Feel?
  7. My Child
  8. Names of God
  9. The Truth About Me
  10. Who I Am in Christ
  11. Wilderness Verses
​Giving Opportunity

​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!


People Encouraging People: Lay Pastoral Counseling

People Encouraging People: Lay Pastoral Counseling

Need Counseling?  People Encouraging People 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?  By appointment at 589.9733 x222.

Leader(s): Brent Van Elswyk
Meets: Various

Premarital Counseling: Getting Ready for Marriage

Premarital Counseling: Getting Ready for Marriage

Premarital Counseling:  Getting Ready for Marriage, with Dr. Brent Van Elswyk, will help couples construct a solid foundation toward a fulfilling marriage. Traditionally thought to be only for engaged couples, this class is also suitable for couples who are "courting" or seriously considering marriage, as well as for newly married couples and those embarking upon a remarriage. Premarital Counseling can assist any couple in building a strong and lasting relationship. Let this marriage be for life!  Join us on   Wednesday evenings September 23 – November 4, 2020 from 6:00 – 7:30pm.  Call the church office at 589-9733 to leave your contact info and voicemail request to register for Premarital. $150, payable at first class, includes resources and couple inventory.

Next Premarital series will be Spring 2021.

Premarital Counseling class includes lecture, worksheets, reading, workbook and discussion. On the first day you each receive a packet of material (including outline & worksheets), a workbook for assignments, and a number of resources/books to use as a couple. Topics include: Why Marry?; How Men & Women Differ; Expectations; Communication; Conflict Resolution; Issues (money/anger/etc); and Intimacy.  Plus, along the way, you will take an individual Personality Assessment and do an online Prepare Test (or similar option for remarriage). Toward the end, or shortly thereafter, Dr. Brent will provide appointments to meet with each couple alone for couples counseling and review of test results (for which he is certified). 

If you prefer Premarital Counseling elsewhere, just as a couple and not in a group setting, we can recommend a licensed Christian professional.  We have found the group format more affordable while offering the benefit of learning from others as they may share and inquire from different perspectives. But this style does not appeal to everyone's taste or schedule. If you would like a referral, call Debbie at 589-9733 x222.

Parent Dedication

Parent Dedication

​Dedicate Your Baby during Sanctity of Life 2021: Parent Dedication is a formal commitment of parents with their child(ren) on January 24. This is a public statement telling others of your love for the Lord, your intention to model that love to your children, and your willingness to be held accountable.  Attendance at Parent Dedication Class is required of both parents on Sunday, January 10 after first service (approx 10:00am) in the Community Center, Room 120.  Exceptions only by prior approval with Pastor Brent at 589-9733.  Please, no children over 6 months in Parent Dedication Class.  The Nursery/Sunday School program is available for childcare needs through 4th grade. If you have already been to the class, your attendance again is not mandatory, but you must call the Church Receptionist in the office at 589-9733 by January 12 to confirm vital information. 

The next Parent Dedication will be Mother’s Day 2021.

A Guidebook for Lay Counseling Ministry

A Guidebook for Lay Counseling Ministry

​A Guidebook for Lay Counseling Ministry

Copyright 2003/ Revised 2018.

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.

Please email to order a guidebook.  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). 

Meets: Various