Counselors already are starting to counsel some people, but Jim Coffield, who wears two hats: CC director of counseling at the center and director of the church’s adult ministries, said he expects the center — 12915 Kingston Pike, that is part of Presbyterian Church of Americas — to be fully operational this month.
The Rev. Seth Hammond, CC’s pastor, said the center provides services on a number of issues.
“Jim said the No. 1 issue he’s dealing with is anxiety,” Hammond said. “People are just plagued with anxiety. I think some of it is post-COVID, some of it is just the economy and just the daily stressors of life.
“We see our culture is very anxious,” Coffield said. “It seems like anxiety is through the roof in our culture right now: depression is significant: divorce rates are high: and suicide rates are high, so it’s a time for the church to be the church and step into those areas that our neighbors are struggling with.
“We’re just hoping to meet the needs of the people around here in Farragut and the larger community around,” he added.
”There will be individual counseling dealing with anxiety, depression and those sorts of things.”
Over the years, Coffield has focused on counseling leaders, whether they be pastors, missionaries or community leaders. marriage and family will be another aspect of counseling, and the center will serve teenagers who are dealing with issues.
“What’s unique about clinically based but Biblically formed counseling is there’s a set point,” Coffield said. “There’s something that’s standard that you can look at … there’s a way the brain works and the way trauma affects people.”
The center “is going to be unique in that it is going to be clinically effective and Biblically rooted, so all of our counselors will have a clinical training side to that … but also because it’s in the church, it’s going to provide that spiritual support that people ultimately need,” Hammond said. “So, all of our counselors will have both as their emphasis.
“They will have it as a spiritual component to it and also really as an emotional component,” he added.
Coffield described the types of counseling as having thinking-based, feeling-based and behavior-based counseling.
“This center’s going to combine all three elements,” Hammond said.
“What I love about it is I think the church needs to lead the way in being a support for the community,” the pastor added. “This is a way the church can lead the way: by providing counseling and support of ministries to help who are hurting.
“I would say that every person is hurting. Every person has something that they’re dealing with, and I have found that counseling is a very effective way to help people deal with life’s struggles and burdens.
As for why the church wanted to “invest a lot of money” in this counseling center, it’s “because we see the value,” Hammond said. “And, we’ve also seen how people receive great peace and healing after meeting with counselors who are fully trained and equipped.
“I think it goes back to the verse: ‘To seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which God has carried us,’ and we want to seek the peace and prosperity of Farragut and the surrounding community,” he added. “One of the best ways to do that is counseling.”
“It’s a counseling center that will follow that mission for the church to be concerned with its neighbors,” Coffield said.
“And, to provide hope and healing and peace that we’re all longing for,” Hammond added.
“We don’t think we’re the only people doing good counseling,” Coffield said. “There’s places like Ebeneezer (Baptist) and First Baptist (Concord) have a counseling program, so we don’t think we’re the only people doing that in the community, but we do think that’s part of the way the church needs to respond to our changing culture is to serve our neighbors.”
Opening the center was part of Christ Covenant’s strategic plan.
“We want to become a church that clearly impacts the community within a 20-mile radius, and one of the strategic points to it is to provide counseling and supportive ministries to impact our community,” Hammond said.
So, “every year, Christ Covenant has one big goal that we want to accomplish, whether it’s for the surrounding community or the world, and the one big goal (for 2022) was to build a counseling center,” he said.
“It’s really part of our strategic plan to impact our local community here by providing counseling and supportive ministries,” the pastor added. “The counseling center was one piece of that bigger strategic focus.
“They’ve put together a beautiful place,” Coffield said.
The center “was just an empty room,” Hammond recalled. “We had a temporary classroom in here, but our elders at the church, we had a vision to complete our existing facility and when we hired (Jim) over four years ago, he brought his expertise in counseling.
“(Coffield) had run a counseling center in Orlando, Florida, for 14 years, and we thought this would be part of our future planning, when we hired him, to build a counseling center,” he added.
“The good news for our church is that our whole facility is now complete, and we’re looking at future expansion. That’s exciting. That was a big deal for our church to get this center here once we had Jim here.”
Coffield’s vision for counselors “is to have around five,” Hammond said. “Right now, we have three: Coffield, T.J. Hindman and Melissa Snyder.”
The counseling center is only one of the church’s ministries in which it tries to make an impact.
“We do a lot of local outreach,” Hammond said.
Working with Knox County Church Network, CC helped spearhead Renew Clinic, a substance abuse clinic in downtown Knoxville as part of its 2021 goal. It opened in May 2021.
The church also partners with the neighboring Cornerstone Church to do a food pantry for people in need; packages and delivers food on the weekends to seniors who receive Mobile Meals during the week; provides counseling and support services to Choices Resource Center, a pregnancy center; established Grief Share Ministry to help people within the church and community coping with the death of a loved one; provides support to Street Hope to work with young women who have been trafficked; partners with a truck stop ministry, for which it recently packaged 700 care bags for truckers coming through Watt Road; and provides a program for adults with intellectual disabilities.
And, the church also participates in world missions, supporting 25 missions around the world.
“Even though the message in the Gospel is timeless, I think we are trying to be timely in the way that we live out that call to love our neighbors and love God,” Coffield said.