Our Counseling Philosophy

As Christians, each of us is on a journey as we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ. There are times in our journey where we feel overwhelmed; it is during these times that many of us face emotional obstacles.

Ebenezer Church Counseling Ministry seeks to assist the "stuck" and help them experience a healing encounter with Christ. The client, the counselor, and the Holy Spirit form a counseling team that will work together under the guidance of Scripture to bring healing to the client.

The Spirit is the key component of this counseling team as it guides each of us in all truth (John 16:13), provides comfort (Acts 9:31) and renews each of us (Titus 3:5).

The goal of our counseling effort will be to get the client "unstuck" and help them become the person whom God has created them to be.

Meet Our Counselor

Hello, my name is Keith Priest. I am a Christian Counselor here at Ebenezer United Methodist Church. I have attended Ebenezer since 2011 and became a member in 2013. To say that God had impacted my life through Ebenezer would be an understatement. Prior to completing my education at Liberty University and becoming a Board Certified Biblical Counselor, I served 20 years in the Marine Corps, retiring in 2015.

Ebenezer Church offers Biblically-based counseling free of charge to our community. In most cases, the Short-Term, Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling Model is used. This model focuses on how our lives would be different if we were free of the issues at hand. The focus is to help identify areas of strength in our lives and use those strengths to bring about healing. The counseling team is made up of you, me, and, most importantly, the Holy Spirit. We will spend time discussing Scripture and in prayer, and you will be asked to complete “homework” between sessions. In most cases, counseling is concluded in 6-8 sessions. If you have questions, please contact me at the church office 540.659.1349 or through the form below.

Schedule a Session

Are you feeling "stuck"? Schedule a meeting with Keith.

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Counselor's Insights

How do I cope during the Christmas season when I don’t feel like celebrating?
The weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be challenging for many people. For some, this may be the first Christmas after the loss of a loved one. Some harbor bad memories that revisit them during this time of year. Others feel stressed because of the increased demands on their time.

How do we prevent, or limit, the effects of these emotions? Not surprisingly, as a Christian Counselor, I recommend spending time with God. Spend time in His Word reflecting on the amazing gift He has given us in Jesus.

Extra holiday activities can negatively impact the time we spend with God and on our health. That can lead to stress and negative thinking. Healthy eating, proper exercise, and sleep are especially important when you are stressed. Next, prioritize what functions or events are important to you and your family. We want to accept every invitation, but that can leave us physically and emotionally exhausted. It is okay to say “No.”

If you are mourning a loss, give yourself grace. Each of us has a unique journey recovering from loss. Healing takes time. Don’t isolate yourself thinking you may be a burden to those around you. This is counter to God’s guidance for being invested in a community. Please spend time with your small group and others during this period. Allow them to help you through this time. It is through a community that we grow and heal.

‑ Keith Priest
Christian Counselor


What's next? When sessions conclude, I am often asked, “What is the long-term plan?”
Interestingly, the long-term plan is pretty simple: get invested in a community of believers by joining a small group. This achieves multiple purposes. First, the Apostle Paul tells us to be in community which will encourage us in love and works (Hebrews 10:24-25). Second, Paul tells us God is the God of comfort who will comfort us in all our afflictions. This allows us to comfort others in their time of need (2 Corinthians 3-4). Being in a small group supports Christians in so many ways. As Paul stated, we can be encouraged from a place of love. This means even when you falter, you will still be surrounded by people who genuinely love you and will help you get back on your feet and move forward.

During small group discussions, people quickly realize everyone struggles. This is where the 2 Corinthians passage comes into play. When we are intentional about sharing our sufferings with others and how God supported us through those times, we can begin to come alongside other people in similar circumstances and bring them hope and healing. When we are not invested in a small group, we are not exposed to people who can help us in this manner. God calls us into community, and these are two examples of how and why that community can be the difference between feeling empowered in our struggles or succumbing to hopeless or helpless feelings.

‑ Keith Priest
Christian Counselor


How do I know if I am being transformed by the Holy Spirit?
Many of us will kick off 2019 with a New Year’s resolution. The sad truth about resolutions is that according to Forbes, only 8% of us will achieve the goals we set. Obviously, we could use some help. If you are making a resolution to invest in your relationship with God, you may find these tips useful.

At times in our Christian walk, it may be difficult to know if we are walking with God or focusing on things of the world. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul guides us by providing a diagnostic tool for Christians to use to evaluate their lives. In Galatians 5:16-26, Paul compares “works of the flesh” and “fruits of the Spirit.” When you are experiencing jealousy, hostility, strife, or envy, or dealing with issues of lust or anger, you may be more focused on things of the world and not God. When you are experiencing love, peace, joy, patience, and self-control, you are most likely aligned with the Spirit.

If you find yourself out of step with the Spirit, do not criticize yourself. Use this as an opportunity to identify an area of growth in your life. Engage in spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, involvement in a Christian community (small group), or serving those in need. By doing this, you will take steps in growing into the person God created you to be and make progress towards meeting your resolution.

‑ Keith Priest
Christian Counselor


Can we agree to disagree in a way that honors God?
Given our current climate, it seems many of us are struggling to have healthy conversations with others who have different points of view. Whether we’re trying to discuss important topics like diversity, politics, or parenting, or simple ones like whether a dress was blue or gold, we’re finding these exchanges often leave us feeling isolated and disconnected from the community that God calls us into.

Jesus gave directions in the Commandments as he stated, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Lately, it seems when we engage in these difficult discussions, we place ourselves as the most important person in the conversation. We fail to seek understanding of a differing point of view.

I recommend we turn to Paul’s example in these times. To summarize Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23: to the Jew he became a Jew; to the weak he became weak. Paul became all things to all people so that he could save some. This sends a poignant message. We must first seek understanding of with whom we are talking. We do not have to agree, but we should value each other first and foremost as our neighbor whom God calls us to love. When we can do this well, we can find peace even during difficult conversations.

‑ Keith Priest
Christian Counselor

The Spirit is the key component of this counseling team as it guides each of us in all truth, provides comfort, and renews each of us.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13 (NRSV)


Meanwhile, the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

Acts 9:31 (NRSV)


He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5 (NRSV)