Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation


Schedule & Sessions

Schedule: All times are CDT. For a detailed weekend schedule, please download the CCEF Conference app (search “CCEF Conference” in Apple or Google store) or refer to your printed program.

Outlines: If outlines are available (not all sessions include outlines), they are listed below next to the appropriate session and description. Please scroll down to download.

Thursday October 12th

8:00 am Pre-conference registration
9:30 am – 12:30 pm Pre-conference options (part 1) (See below)
12:30 pm Complimentary boxed lunch
2:30 pm – 5:30 pm Pre-conference options (part 2) (See Below)
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Early conference registration
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Ministry expo & bookstore open

Friday October 13th

7:30 am Conference registration
8:00 am Ministry expo & bookstore open
8:00 am Fellowship Coffee
9:00 am Familial by Design (David Powlison)
11:00 am Shaking Up the Family Tree: God Does the Unexpected (Alasdair Groves) (Outline)
12:15 pm Lunch break
2:30 pm Breakout Session 1 options (see below)
3:30 pm Break
4:00 pm Breakout Session 2 options (see below)
5:00 pm Dinner break
7:15 pm Every Single Family Member (Jayne Clark)

Saturday October 14th

8:00 am CCEF booth, ministry expo & bookstore open
8:00 am Fellowship Coffee
9:00 am Nurturing Family (Julie Lowe) (Slides)
10:15 am Break
10:45 am Breakout Session 3 options (see below)
11:45 am Lunch break
1:45 pm Breakout Session 4 options (see below)
2:45 pm Break
3:15 pm Families Helping People in Crisis (Ste Casey)
4:30 pm Dinner break
7:15 pm Adoption Panel
8:00pm Worship

Sunday October 15th

8:00 am CCEF booth, ministry expo & bookstore open
8:00 am Fellowship Coffee
9:00 am Now and Then: The Returns of Family History (Ed Welch)
9:45 am Break
10:15 am God Redeems Family (Steve Midgley) (Slides) (Outline)
11:30 am Dismissal

General Sessions

Familial by Design
David Powlison

God ordained that you are a familial being, because he is thoroughly familial himself. Our Father conceived the idea of parents and children. Both your physical birth and your rebirth in Christ needed a context of parental nurture, protection, and encouragement for you to grow up. Brothers and sisters are his idea, too. He adopts and raises lots of kids. Whether in your family of origin or in the family of God, each of us needs to learn how to care for and cooperate with our siblings.

The Lord also birthed friendship along familial lines. Jesus is not ashamed to be called our older brother and to call us his friends. Friendship grows when we are brotherly and sisterly with others.
And ministry is still another familial practice designed by God. Paul described his pastoral care in both motherly and fatherly terms (1 Thess 2). And he equipped the church to be brothers and sisters who are growing up to take on parental responsibilities in ministry to each other.

We are familial—by design. This is in the deep structure of what it means to be human. This talk sets the stage for our conference this weekend.

Shaking Up the Family Tree: God Does the Unexpected (Outline)
Alasdair Groves

Time and again God’s plan for our families does not unfold as we would like it to. But this is nothing new. Whether with Jacob and Esau or Mary, the mother of Jesus, God has been stretching, re-working and even redefining families since the beginning. This talk follows up on God’s plan to create families by exploring his redemptive purposes in upending our expectations for what families should be. We’ll focus on how to grab hold of the good things God holds out to us in our surprising, and often uncomfortable, experiences of family.

Every Single Family Member
Jayne Clark

Singleness is a universal experience. We all live as singles at some point during our lifetime. Only some of us get married and, even for those who do marry, many will experience singleness again before they die. Yet often there is not much understanding of, teaching about, or vision for life as a single. Sometimes even those in our own family struggle to relate or know how to offer encouragement. This session will offer a window into some of the myths and realities, joys and challenges of living single with the Lord in the hope of bringing every single family member closer together.

Nurturing Family (Slides)
Julie Lowe

Families, both nuclear and extended, are growing more distant. Children are growing up without meaningful attachments to their grandparents, cousins, or relatives; adult siblings are less invested in each other’s lives; and parents are captive to managing family schedules rather than nurturing relationships. Both distance and an accelerated pace of life become the justifications for lack of meaningful engagement. The tyranny of the urgent triumphs over the much needed virtue of investing relationally in one another.

But Scripture has a different vision for family life. In it we see that nurturing family is imperative. Deuteronomy 11:19 does not hesitate to assert that there is an indisputable biblical basis for cultivating family relationships. This session will challenge us to reclaim the value of cultivating connection with family and what steps you can take to begin that cultivation right now.

Families Helping People in Crisis
Ste Casey

The Lord blesses us with gifts so that we might use those gifts to bless others. This includes the gift of our families. But when we meet people with complex problems, we can be tempted to keep them as far away from our family life as possible. How do we grow in sharing the gift of our family’s strength and stability with those who have need or are facing a season of crisis? How does the love of Christ empower our family life to be a place of welcome, safety, and love to those who are isolated, addicted, or oppressed?

Adoption Panel

A panel of CCEF staff members who have walked through the adoption/foster care process that will be moderated by Mike Emlet.

Now and Then: The Returns of Family History
Ed Welch

How should we think about our pasts, especially the influence of the families in which we were raised? This is the question we will consider together. We hope to learn from and build on the good, be alert to where our pasts make us more vulnerable to sin, and bring the hard and painful things to Jesus. We want the Spirit to move us through our pasts in a way that strengthens and sanctifies us, and leads us into wise love.

God Redeems Family (Slides) (Outline)
Steve Midgley

The language of family is one of the ways by which God explains himself and his church. We learn that God is our heavenly Father, that we are his adopted children, and that the church is the family of God. But we shouldn’t think that it is God who borrows from us. God doesn’t take our concept of family and apply it to himself; it is we who have borrowed from God. Fatherhood derives from him. Family is rightly understood only in relation to him. A day is coming when everything good about family will find its fulfillment in him—and on that day family will finally and fully be all that it was ever intended to be.

*Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session 1 options:

Busy Families: Learning to Say “No” in Order to Say “Yes” (Slides) (Outline)
Mike Emlet

The 1976 hit song by The Eagles puts it like this: “Life in the fast lane/ Surely make you lose your mind/ Life in the fast lane/ Everything all the time.” Does this describe your family life? Do you say “yes” to many good things but wonder if you are saying “no” to the best things? Do you yearn for something different? This session will explore the causes and challenges of frenetic family life and will promote ways to proactively address internal and external pressures that contribute to the tyranny of urgent family living.

Draw Them Out to Draw Them In (Slides) (Outline)
Todd Stryd

We can all naturally gravitate toward people who are easy to talk to and relate with. But what about those individuals who are awkward, quiet, or hard to understand? We all know people like this. This person could be your uncle, sister, your child, or a member of your church.

God is not partial and does not show favoritism, but cares equally for those deemed easy and hard. Therefore, we, as his followers, are spurred on by his love to consider the hard people in our life. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Good intentions run up against confusion and failed efforts. While there is no formula for success, Scripture does offer us a perspective on loving hard people and creative wisdom can open doors to meaningful connection and relationship.

This breakout will consider the practical how-to’s of reaching out to those on the relational margins of our families, our churches, and our communities with the purpose of bringing them into a fuller communion.

What to Do When Family Hurts You (Slides) (Outline)
Darby Strickland

Family and extended family relationships are complex and, sadly, often painful. How do we think through difficult relationships when the very people God put in the position to love and care for us were the ones who hurt us the most? This session is for those have been hurt deeply by a family member or are walking alongside a suffering friend and need God’s wisdom and comfort. We will honor the reality that there are no simple solutions, and look to God’s Word for practical guidance and encouragement. God has powerful things to say to you the midst of your pain.

In This Together: Care for Families in Ministry (Slides) (Outline)
Laura Andrews

Ministry life can often be hard—isolating, confusing, overwhelming—not just for leaders, but also their families. This breakout will look at common challenges and pressures families in ministry face and the wisdom and support needed to live faithfully under these conditions.

Breakout Session 2 options:

Family Devotions in Your Family (Slides) (Outline)
Alasdair Groves

There is a wealth of resources out there on how to have family devotions. Sifting through them can be overwhelming. But even more burdensome is the guilt most of us feel about whether or not we are doing devotions “right” or “enough.” This workshop will help you develop (or refine) a tailored approach to nurturing the hearts of the members of your family. We’ll consider God’s goals for family devotions and the vast combined wisdom he has given our brothers and sisters in the church.

The Long Way Home: Counseling after Infidelity (Slides) (Outline)
Michael Gembola

Surprisingly, in the majority of cases, marriages survive infidelity. What God has brought together is very difficult for people to separate. Still, restoration is an incredibly painful, difficult process. And reconciliation is not guaranteed. There are key obstacles to reconciliation. The mindset and habits necessary to enable a person to commit adultery do not go away when a person first confesses. In the early stages of the process, that same mindset and old habits get in the way of healing, and can do further damage to the marriage. This session will present several common pitfalls in the process, and set a course that counselors, pastors, and friends can walk along with a couple.

Divorce: When Families Fall Apart (Slides)
Julie Lowe

The aftermath of divorce can be painful for both children and parents. In many cases, families are reeling from the effects of toxic conflict, loss, and broken relationships. We will explore the impact of divorce on families, as well as the needs of children. We will also discuss ways the church can minister to families struggling with the outcomes of divorce.

The Empty Nest: Loss or New Lease on Life? (Slides) (Outline)
Janet Nygren

So many dreams and expectations can be centered on family, but what happens when children leave home? An empty nest can elicit devastating loss, even while celebrating the very things families have been praying and preparing for. Familiar patterns, routines, and loyalties are tested as relationships and circumstances change. Hearts can be exposed in new and surprising ways, both through the good and the painful. Whether you are going through this stage yourself, or thinking about others in your church, join us to explore how God speaks to empty-nesters.

Breakout Session 3 options:

Grandparenting: The Ins and Outs
Ed and Sheri Welch

Grandparents seem to have an easy job. They already practiced on their kids and now they get to do it better with their grandkids. But the job has its challenges. We can offend our children or have strained relationships with them, which jeopardizes our relationship with our grandchildren. Whatever old resentments our children might carry, they are sure to come out again when they have children and impact how they want us, or don’t want us, to be involved. In other words, grandparenting is rarely easy, and grandparents need a growing edge of humility and wisdom.

A Single Life
Jayne Clark

Being single at sixty is different than living single in your twenties, whether you’ve lived your entire life single, or find yourself single again. As we grow older we discover that each stage brings its own opportunities and heartaches, and offers the chance to grow better or to grow bitter. As we explore singleness through the ages, we will consider ways that God meets us and helps us to make the most of the single life we’ve been given.

When Your Child Says “I’m Gay.” (Slides) (Outline)
Michael Gembola

When parents and their young adult children are in conflict over sexuality, the family has almost no one to go to for help. They even disagree about what help is needed. This session will provide counselors with a conceptual framework and method for providing mediation and care, while inviting implications for church leaders, family members, and friends.

Parenting an Angry Teen Who Won’t Communicate (Slides) (Outline)
Rick Horne

An angry teen takes a toll on every member of the family—including the parent’s relationships with each other and others at home. A teen’s unwillingness to talk civilly compounds family unsettledness and parents struggle to nurture cooperation and respect. While there is no magic potion, there are biblically wise and empowering principles for parents that can make a difference in volatile situations and patterns of dishonor. The gospel’s power also gives a Christian parent the joy of the Lord and offers ballast in the midst of the storm, even if the teen doesn’t change at the heart level.

Breakout Session 4 options:

​Taming the Technology Beast​ (Slides)
Julie Lowe

Technology is an inevitable part of our world and lives. It comes with many benefits, as well as the possibility of grievous regrets. Many kids and adults are entering into the digital world without preparation, education, or conviction. It is not technology itself we should fear, but what we do with technology. The goal of this breakout is to consider how to teach youth to be wise stewards of technology, while also evaluating our own practices.

Navigating the Fog of Addiction in the Family (Slides) (Outline)
Eamon Wilson

Addiction has devastating effects on all members of the family. Deceit and manipulation result in broken trust. Questions such as, “Should I let her drive the car?” or “Should I loan him $50 dollars?” can feel as though they are potentially life and death decisions. Further, the addict might seem nothing like the parent, child, or sibling you remember from years ago. What does compassion and grace look like in such circumstances? Is letting your loved one feel the full brunt of destructive behaviors ungracious, or is it the road to repentance? How do you respond when the addict points out your shortcomings, pulls for your pity, or plays to your fears? This workshop will propose a biblical understanding of addiction, and outline the guiding principals for navigating life with an addicted family member.

Caught in the Middle: Caring for Aging Parents and Your Own Children–at the Same Time (Slides) (Outline)
Mike Emlet

“Honor your father and mother.” “Bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” You may be in a season of life when living out these two commands simultaneously feels impossible. You find your responsibilities to care for your aging parents colliding with the responsibilities to care for your children. How do you prioritize these two important callings without succumbing to the guilt, frustration, fear, and exhaustion that are all too common? This breakout will examine these challenges and provide biblical guidelines for loving your parents and your childrenat the same time.

Redemptive Responses When a Family Member Identifies As Transgender (Slides) (Outline)
Tim Geiger

A growing phenomenon in Christian families is that spouses, children, parents, and siblings announce that they are transgender. Often this news seems to come from nowhere and is devastating to the rest of the family. How can you understand gender struggles and offer the opportunity for a redemptive relationship with your family member? Harvest USA president Tim Geiger will walk you through what you need to know when you face this in your own life and when you come alongside others who face it.

Pre-Conference Descriptions

Marriage Counseling: A Practical ​Approach to a​ Challenging Task (Outlines)
Aaron Sironi

Marriage counseling is hard. ​There are so many variables when you’re counseling two people at once.​ ​I​f we’re honest, we often feel unqualified and ill-equipped to do ​it well. But marriage counseling is an essential ministry. In this workshop, we will explore how to keep our bearings biblically​ and​ form specific strategies that engage conflicted couples in tangible ways.

This session is not a comprehensive theology of marriage. Rather, the aim is practical and concrete. Aaron will share what he’s learned working with couples who have moved from adversarial conflict to intimate love. This pre-conference will be interactive.

Restoring Counselling to the Church – A Vision for Church Based Biblical Counselling (Outlines)
Steve Midgley

The church has a remarkable calling. It is nothing less than the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27). Each part is equipped by God for works of service so that the whole body might be built up (Eph 4:12). It is a community of the redeemed serving as ambassadors to a needy world (2 Cor 5:20). But in all of that, what place does counseling have? How can godly, pastoral conversations fulfill the purposes God has for us? This pre-conference will tackle both theory and practice as we consider how a culture of counseling can help us fulfill the great calling God has given us.

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