By Morgan Bryce
In November, Rev. Sean Rezek and the staff at Trinity United Methodist Church welcomed aboard Greg Smith to help launch a Christian counseling ministry geared toward meeting community needs.
Smith, an Auburn native, attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and started in the field as a therapist at a psychiatric hospital in the state before working his way into an administrative role. From there, he oversaw psychiatric departments in Alabama and Florida before settling in the Auburn-Opelika area in 2004 and opening the Pastoral Care and Counseling Center.
As a licensed professional counselor and ordained minister, Smith said his role is unique because many churches do not have someone with clinical training on staff to help church or community members through their challenges.
“My philosophy is that if you’re going to be a pastoral counselor, you need to be trained theologically and clinically. There are two aspects to people – our fallen, human nature and our spiritual nature,” Smith said.
“Greg will help us be able to bridge that gap between those two areas where people are struggling. If you need to talk to me or somebody on our staff, they’re here for you, will pray for you and can offer counsel,” Rezek added. “However, I as pastor recognize that there are things not in my wheelhouse that I need to be willing to let go – and that’s where Greg comes in.”
Initially, Smith said the ministry will focus on helping guide people through whatever struggle they may be facing. But as time passes, he will look to create support groups for issues affecting larger groups of patients.
A foundational aspect of the ministry is its honor system form of payment, as Rezek explained.
“It’s a sliding fee for those who can afford or want to pay for the service. Those who do that will put dollars into the ministry to keep it going … but for those that can’t, we won’t turn them away due to finances,” Rezek said.
“We will take people as they are and I will see anyone that walks through this door,” Smith added.
He has already begun seeing clients in recent weeks, and is currently accepting appointments. For more information or to schedule a visit with Smith, call 334-745-2632. The church is located at 800 2nd Ave.