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Express Grace Conference 2017

Express Grace Conference 2017

Express Grace “At Home”

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Dan Zink, Covenant Theological Seminary
I am a teacher, counselor, husband, father, and friend.  I have worked at Covenant Seminary since 1990, teaching since 1995. This is my 3rd career, having worked in Social Work for several years and as a pastor (briefly) in my seemingly distant youth. Having wandered a bit in my work, I kept going back to school.  This makes more sense to me all the time as it was part of a never-ending learning project to understand life and people and growth all under God’s hand.  God has shaped this project with special people: my family, my teaching partners, students, and counseling clients. He has also surprised me by teaching me through unexpected sources like music, college football, and horses. If I ever write a book, I think the title will be “Walk This Way.” I cherish time with people, time to contemplate this walk with God we are on, and imagine together the differences that come from focusing more on the process than any destination.

Saturday Evening Breakout Sessions:

Nancy De Haas Dunn, MA, LPC
Nancy is Founder and Director of Valley Christian Counseling in Huntsville. She has a Master of Arts degree in Christian counseling with additional hours of doctorate-level coursework and has been in private practice over 20 years. Nancy specializes in individual, marriage, and family counseling and works with adults, children, and families experiencing relational difficulties. She also works in the areas of depression, anxiety, sexual abuse, grief and loss, divorce, and codependency. Nancy has special interest in women’s issues, group therapy, and international work. You can find more about Nancy at: http://www.valley-christiancounseling.com.

BREAKOUT SESSION: Relational Connection
Nancy will be talking about our greatest need as human beings in the image of God: relational connection with God and others. When we face obstacles in forming and maintaining these relational connections within our marriages and families, we encounter relational problems. Nancy will be presenting biblical principles for relationships, discussing how to meet relational needs effectively and communicate heart-to-heart. In this breakout session, it is her hope that attendees will experience God’s truth as it relates to the need for relational connectedness and the relational blockages that hinder the growth and lasting intimacy in life and in relationships.

Carl Stewart, MA, LPC
Carl has been working with individuals and families in a variety of settings over the past 15 years and began private practice in 1999. He specializes in working with marriages, families, and children. He is passionate about strengthening marriages and often works with couples recovering from pornography use, sexual addictions, and affairs. Carl also enjoys working with men’s issues, particularly men and adolescents struggling with pornography, and watching the Lord bring healing to those in bondage to this trap. He and his wife have taught marriage enrichment seminars as well as premarital and parenting groups. He loves helping people find healing and transformation as they allow the Lord to work in their lives. You can learn more about Carl’s practice at: http://www.carlstewartlpc.org.

BREAKOUT SESSION: Wrestling with Pornography
Sex is the #1 searched topic on the internet. 60% of men look at pornography once a month.  56% of divorces involve obsessive interest in pornographic websites. Based on the statistics, if pornography has not infected your family, it is all around you: in the family next door, or the in the pew beside you. Join Carl to learn why porn is a powerful drug that hijacks the brain (especially in guys), why teens and pre-teens are even more susceptible to the effects of pornography, and what is “The Antidote” to the effects of porn (you may be surprised).

Aaron Shaffer, MA, ALC
Aaron works with adolescents and adults in individual, couples, and family settings.  Aaron primary uses a relational model of counseling. It is in relationship that we are often wounded, and it is in relationship that we grow in health. Therefore, Aaron’s aim is to provide an atmosphere that is safe and supportive. Aaron works with many issues including but not limited to depression, anxiety, marital issues, sexuality, adjustment issues, and grief. Aaron is currently an Associate Licensed Counselor for the state of AL under the supervision of Kathy Troyanek, MA, LPC, SC. Learn more about Aaron’s practice at: http://www.aaronshaffercounseling.com.

BREAKOUT SESSION: Speaking Grace into Shame
In Aaron’s session he will discuss the differences between guilt and shame and discuss the effects of shame, many we either miss or misdiagnose. He will also provide tools and resources for those battling shame in their personal life. In addition, he will help equip us in tangible ways to walk alongside those battling shame.


with Dan Zink

1.) What is something that excites you about speaking at Southwood’s Express Grace Conference?
God has been using many influences, many facets of my life, to bring a few strands of thoughts uniquely together for me.  I am excited to discuss what it looks like to be a whole person, in relationship with God, as an agent of the Kingdom.  Expressing grace at home looks like so many different things.  Oftentimes we discuss integrating theology and psychology, which is really only looking at the head from multiple angles.  I am interested in also linking theology to, say, my actual work with people to understand experientially what a relationship with God is.  I am excited to discuss this deepening understanding of the Grace of Jesus Christ from a cognitive level to something more felt.

2.) Who will benefit the most from this Conference this year?
Anybody who is interested in growing in their relationship with God.  I am coming not only to share my story, but also apply these things that I’m learning about what it looks like being in a relationship with God and how that impacts not only our relationship with him but our relationship with others, as we pay attention to our relationship with our spouse.  What better place to interact with all of these areas than a conference about Expressing Grace at Home?

3.) Is there something about Southwood in particular that makes you interested in this conference?
Southwood has been doing this for a while.  You all understand grace.  Somebody like me or anybody who would come in and do this conference does not need to come in and explain grace.  The question becomes more how does grace play out in a day by day, moment by moment basis, not how do we straighten out our theology.  Our world is a world that says, “get the cognitive side straight and everything will take care of itself.”  The only problem with that statement is that it is not true.  Getting all of the details straight about grace is great, it is helpful, and it is part of the process.  But it is not the whole process.

4.) How does Expressing Grace impact your own home?
We have horses.  What I have witnessed about the approach we have been taught to have a relationship with a horse.  Because of the nature of the animal, you have to reestablish trust, no matter at what level it already exists because they have great memories and they know you and at some level they trust you, but they are prey and you are a predator.  Every time you walk into a pasture or a barn they are on alert to how they might need to be protecting themselves.  You have to stay focused on them and what they might be feeling in any specific moment in order to rebuild the relationship of trust.  What I’ve found is, this is exactly the same thing with my wife, this is exactly the same thing with my daughters, this is exactly the same thing with the people that I counsel, and this is exactly the same thing with my students.  My family background did not prepare me well to relate to people in this way.  I hold people off to stay safe.  My assumption deep inside is that “you will leave just like everybody else has.”  I do this to God, too.

5.) How could Expressing Grace at Home continue the transformation of the hearts of God’s people?
I do not see myself, nor do I want to be seen, as an expert.  I am a thinking process engineer.  The bottom line is to be in the process of being transformed.  Yes, there is specific transformation that occurs at specific times, but that always serves the process.  My wife and I will be married 42 years next March.  We have grown a lot in our relationship together, but there is still a lot of work left to do.  Getting married was never supposed to mean that we get married and then we help each other get whole.  Rather, we are going to build a life together and that means mostly sticking together even though we can aggravate and annoy each other. We live in a world that says, “If you get it all right, you will be successful but if you don’t get it all right, it’s on you.”  And all of your failures are on you.  That is not true.  It is all a process.  We use grace as a code word, but it really is the process of being less defensive.