As a church, we want to help people in difficult circumstances
Some situations require the help of professionals. Finding a counselor can often be an overwhelming task, especially for someone in crisis. North Point Ministries has developed an extensive list of professionals to help individuals find the help they need.
Each counselor, therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist that we recommend has been carefully screened by North Point Ministries for his or her professional expertise, quality of care, and genuine Christian values.
Starting a Counseling Referrals Network
Fielding Referral Requests
The first step in starting a Counseling Referrals Network is to find great counselors in your local area. The sites below can be very useful in finding professionals near you.
Before adding new counselors to our referral network, we ask them to complete a Counselor Profile and sit down for an interview with two members of our staff.
If you do not have a database specifically for your approved counselors, we recommend using something simple like a Google sheet to keep track of your approved resources. It would be helpful to have a way to search your list by location and specialty in order to refer people to the best counselors possible.
Fielding Referral Requests
One quick way to allow people to request referrals is by adding a short request form of triage questions to your church website. If that is not an option, it might be a good idea to create a simple Google form you can email to people who request counseling referrals. This will help you narrow down the options and send out the best recommendations possible.
There are instances where counseling is the best next step for an attendee, but finances are an obstacle to seeking help. We try to remove barriers when possible to allow him or her to take a step forward. We do this by offering limited financial assistance to those who qualify.
If you are going to offer financial assistance for counseling, here are a few recommendations for getting started. Start the conversation about the financial assistance process in the counselor interview to help set expectations. Building good relationships with your approved counselors will make this process easier.
Decide your giving guidelines upfront. This includes discussing who can apply for financial support, any benchmarks for approval, and how much will be given.
Set up payment options with the counselors directly. We do not recommend giving the funds directly to the client. For example, in our system, we recommend that clients pay something to the counselors at the time of the appointments (similar to a co-pay) and then the counselors bill us any balance owed each month.
Include your accounting team or bookkeeper in these discussions so you can work together to make timely payments to your counselors.
Set up a system for tracking these funds. We currently use a Google sheet to track the funds that are paid each month.
Establish clear communication standards for both the clients and counselors. This will set expectations and cut down on confusion and questions.