This is the latest interview by Ellen Castillo in a series of posts featuring women who are biblical counselors. Each post will feature one or more counselors who have agreed to an interview to tell us about their ministries, their experience and expertise, and the history of their involvement in biblical counseling.
We trust that you will find this series informative and insightful. Many women have asked what opportunities might be open to them upon obtaining either a degree or certification in biblical counseling. As the biblical counseling movement expands, so do the opportunities for women to serve in a variety of ways as biblical counselors. Over the course of this series, you will hear from women who serve vocationally, as volunteers, in their churches, in a parachurch organization, in colleges, and a variety of other areas where they are serving around the globe.
Today we interview Kimberly Cummings, a Pastor’s Wife, and a Certified Biblical Counselor. She is also the co-founder of Women’s Hope Project where she writes and hosts the Women’s Hope Podcast.
Q: Kimberly, please tell us about yourself.
A: I have been married for almost 33 years. I have two beautiful grown children; one of each; and they have given me two cherished in-loves. I love traveling with my husband and enjoy teaching and speaking at women’s events.
Q: What are your credentials?
A: I became certified in counseling through ACBC in 2009.
Q: Are you in vocational ministry (paid), or volunteer?
A: I am very active alongside my husband’s vocational ministry, however, I counsel on a volunteer basis in my community.
Q: Where do you currently serve?
A: My husband is the pastor at Lake Hills Community Church in Castaic, California. I come alongside him however he needs me. I love having women from the community in my home for counseling, prayer, and biblical fellowship.
Q: How long have you been a biblical counselor?
A: I have been certified in biblical counseling for 9 years.
Q: How did you get interested in becoming a biblical counselor, what drew you into the
A: I traveled to Siberia in December 2006 to teach women how to study God’s Word. During the visit, I was taken to a Women’s Rehabilitation Center to meet the women and “encourage” them. It was in a tiny cinderblock building, wall to wall cots, I saw women’s lives being transformed as other women were coming alongside them with the Word and prayer. The rate of success was far superior to the secular counseling methods used in the United States.
Simultaneously, people in our church family were going to get “Christian counseling” and they were coming back worse off than when they went for help outside of the church. There was a disconnect between the sufficiency of Scripture to daily living with real-life problems such as dealing with rebellious children, marital issues, sexual sin, bitterness, and so-on.
When I came home from Siberia and told my husband of all I had seen, he told me there was no reason we could not offer the same ministry in our small, rural community. I showed an interest, and for Christmas, I received all the required reading to get my counseling certification. By God’s grace, I was certified two years later. A year later, our church opened a counseling center with three ACBC counselors ready to serve our community and nearby communities within three other states.
Q: Please give us a history of your experience as a biblical counselor.
A: I currently live in a community that has been influenced by a Christian University that has a high view of the Scripture and Biblical counseling, making it easy to make my home available to women in the community for counseling and intense discipleship. Through this, God has allowed my path to intersect with countless beautiful women and offer them hope.
Q: Do you have particular areas of expertise?
A: I love counseling women in all areas of need. I speak as well as write for Women’s Hope Project specifically with women in mind.
Q: Do you partner with male counselors or pastors in your ministry? In what ways and what advantages does male partnership bring to your ministry?
A: There are times I find it beneficial to counsel with an elder or pastor. I appreciate their leadership and wisdom when working with couples especially. It just seems to even the counseling “playing” field.
Q: What unique strengths and advantages do you believe that women bring to a counseling ministry?
A: I think one of the greatest strengths women bring to the counseling ministry is God’s design in creating us as nurturers. We have the God-given ability to nurture others while nourishing their hearts and minds with the truths of Scripture that bring lasting change. This combination displays the grace and truth of our Savior beautifully as we involve ourselves in the lives of other
Q: Describe any hardship or challenges that you have faced as a woman in ministry.
A: No doubt, sin is heartbreaking, and there are times when counsel is not taken. It is in these times I am counseling my own heart in the sovereignty of God as I pray for (and possibly pursue) those who walk away from biblical counsel. I trust the Holy Spirit can bring conviction when biblical counseling I have shared has not. I am not the author of their stories, and I have to trust
God, who is.
Q: What women have most heavily influenced you as a biblical counselor?
A: Elisabeth Elliot’s grit combined with Martha Peace’s grace have probably influenced and shaped me the most. Amy Baker’s and Susan Heck’s teachings have also influenced me tremendously.
Q: What men have most heavily influenced you as a biblical counselor?
A: Ed Welch, Paul David Tripp, David Powlison and SteveViars are the men who had the biggest influence on my counseling ministry.
Q: What counseling or ministry resources specific to women do you find most helpful?
A: Women Helping Women and Women Counseling Women are excellent go-to resources. They are written topically, so I don’t have to scour a whole book. Their theology of “why” we counsel biblically is also a great tool to share when dropping someone’s 2000 page thesis on counseling won’t cut it. GO to the conferences offered by Faith Biblical Counseling in Lafayette, IN. I went
for five years straight, and they were each life-changing. They do have conferences specifically for women.
Q: How do you stay current as a counselor, and is this important to your ministry?
A: I like reading articles by ACBC, IBCD, the BCC, and Biblical Counseling for Women to stay current just to name a few. I learn from podcasts as well. The Internet has made this so convenient. I attend conferences when they are in my area as well.
Q: What unique ways do you serve?
A: I do enjoy and get asked to speak at conferences. I also host a podcast, Women’s Hope Podcast.
Q: When you first became a biblical counselor, what do you wish you had known then that you
A: Not every problem will be solved in six to eight weeks of counseling. Some sinful habits have been in place for decades. Be patient.
Q: What would you like to say to any women considering becoming a Biblical Counselor?
A: JUST. DO. IT! Your life will be changed, even if you do not use it formally.
Q: We all must count the cost of ministry. What has ministry cost you?
A: Jesus Christ gave His life, so the costs really are minimal in comparison. However, sin does not crop up Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 to 5, so I have to be mindful to balance the needs of my counselees with the priorities of my home and my family as well the ministry I have within the local church.
Q: What blessings has ministry brought you?
A: Wow, how do I begin? Some of my most precious friendships have come from some of the most difficult counseling opportunities. I am amazed God would allow these beautiful relationships to develop through such difficulties. It is such a beautiful grace on display! Also, working through counseling issues with other women brings great opportunities for personal
heart examination. I am often counseling my own heart when I am helping others. It’s a win-win!
Q: Do you have a ‘ministry verse’ for your ministry that you find most meaningful? If so, why is
it special to you?
A: Long before I became a counselor, I personally found 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 so encouraging: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
Those all-inclusive words like “all” and “any” when speaking of God’s comfort in our affliction really brought the sufficiency of Scripture to our life’s problems to life long before I formally counseling. While this is not a particular verse, I love studying the “perfections” or “attributes” of God as I can’t fully understand who I am apart from knowing who God is.
Q: Are there things you would like to do as a biblical counselor but have not done yet?
A: I would like to contribute my writing more formally to some counseling venues and see what God does, but I just have not slowed down enough to do it. Lord willing, I will be writing my first Bible Study for the women of my church this Fall.
Q: In what ways have you grown as a counselor since the beginning of your ministry?
A: God has grown me so much. I feel as though I was a bull in a china closet when I first started counseling. I have learned to be more gracious in presenting truths to my fellow image bearers.
Q: What does a typical work/ministry week look like for you?
A: HA! HA! Proverbs 16:9 is always at the forefront of my days. I have a shareable calendar with my Beloved to make sure we are on the same page with what needs to be done in a given week, as it varies greatly in pastoral ministry. I am also the care-provider to my 82-year-old mother-in-law.
I keep counseling women to one day a week when possible. This usually takes place on Mondays, but I try to be flexible.
Tuesday mornings are dedicated recording the Women’s Hope Podcast. I like to use the rest of Tuesday to work on studies I am leading and participating in. Also, many meetings take place on Tuesday evenings.
Wednesdays are set aside for maintaining my home and any writing or image design needed for Women’s Hope Project.
Thursdays I am out in the community running errands. We also have an evening study we participate in.
Q: How do you manage your own spiritual growth and spiritual health?
A: I start early. I begin my day with prayer and coffee. Rarely will you see me without my prayer notebook. I have found reading/ praying through 5 Psalms and 1 Proverb per day are personally beneficial as well as helpful to counseling. I read through the Bible in a year. This year, I am reading from CH Spurgeon’s Study Bible. I mix up my readings. I also really liked Grant Horner’s reading plan. I also participate in studying God’s Word with other women. This is so important to me. I also try to read books that will be beneficial to women, so I know of reliable books I can recommend to women.
Q: Ministry can be draining and exhausting. How do you recharge?
A: My Beloved and I put time on our calendar for “us.” We love to go on long walks and talk about what is going on in our lives and ministries. Some of our greatest ideas came while walking the paseos in our community! This is a non-negotiable. Also, copious amounts of good coffee may or may not be involved in my mornings.
Q: How can the readers be praying for you and your ministry?
A: Southern California is our little mission field when it comes to reaching our community with the gospel. People are leaving in droves, but we choose to stay and serve the Lord here. Please pray we will be faithful to the proclaiming and living out the truths of Scripture. God has been so kind as to give me an online ministry as well. Please pray women will be brought to Women’s Hope Project and Women’s Hope Podcast, as so many are being led astray by false and fluffy teaching.
Q: Are you optimistic about the future of women in the biblical counseling ministry movement
A: VERY! We are seeing God use women in amazing ways this last decade in the biblical counseling movement. He is using our clay feet to bring hope to women! It is a privilege to be living in these exciting times!
Q: What kinds of opportunities do you see available for women in biblical counseling?
A: As a woman of God, you can take the tools and truths of Biblical Counseling anywhere! We have the more sure word (2 Peter 1:19). We can take it to the grocery store or to the jungles of Ecuador. I witnessed it firsthand in Siberia and I pray it spreads along with the Gospel through our whole hurting world. God’s Word is living and active and God is doing His work globally.
While I know they already exist, I would love to see more Biblical Counseling Centers who are intentional in ministering to and equipping the missionaries and international pastors to counsel biblically. I would especially love to see more centers like Vision of Hope in Indiana around the United States. This is so desperately needed.
Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing your heart for the ministry of biblical counseling with our
readers today. May God richly bless you as you continue to serve Him!
You can find Kimberly online at www.womenshopeproject.com
This series of interviews is conducted by Ellen Castillo, a Biblical Counselor and the Director of Word of Hope Ministries, Inc., on behalf of Biblical Counseling for Women. You can connect with Ellen at www.wordofhopeministries.com and www.biblicalmentor.com.