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Winter 2008 Rapport: Walking Side by Side

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Todd Monger (M.A. 2003) is a licensed professional counselor and the director of the Student Success Center at North Central University, Minneapolis.

I felt the call to full-time ministry when I was 16, in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia. I assumed my ministry would start right away, and it would involve a church, a pulpit and a congregation. Yet God’s call and my assumptions were very different. In 2003, six months after graduating from AGTS with a master’s degree in counseling, and two and a half years working at a psychiatric hospital, I became the first full-time counselor at North Central University (NCU).

I never imagined that my congregation would consist of students, my “sermons” would be in the form of counseling and my pulpit would be found in the shadows of life’s circumstances. My education from AGTS opened a door into a ministry that I believe God specifically designed for me—I am a pastor, but not in the way I initially thought I would be.

Currently I serve as the director of the Student Success Center (SSC), a program built from my heart in response to the needs of students at NCU. The SSC is a one-stop shop for students who need academic support, guidance in career and life calling, disability accommodations and mental health services. It is a place for the continuity of care and support of all students.

In the past five years, the counseling program has grown and expanded as the mental health need within all colleges has rapidly increased. Each year, we provide mental health services to more than 100 clients who are facing tough issues like depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, eating disorders and self-mutilation and concerns about life calling and personal development. Many times students are just praying for someone to walk beside them through their loneliness, fear, hurt, pain and confusion.

As Pentecostal men and women are preparing to fulfill biblical models of leadership and ministry, this sometimes includes the need to work through tough issues with someone who will avail themselves to be the answer to someone else’s heartfelt prayer.

Updated: Monday, December 10, 2007 4:03 PM

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