“For me, helping couples love more authentically, deeply, and sacrificially is God’s work, regardless of the particular belief system of the couple I’m working with.” — Me!
Hi Dr., Reverend, Father, Minister, Bishop, Pastor, or whatever you call yourself! (It’s so different from one tradition to another!)
My goal here is to provide you with the answers I know I’d have wanted when I was in the ministry in order to feel comfortable referring my parishioners to a counselor.
First things first…
Wanna Grab Coffee?
I remember as a pastor getting letters and emails constantly from people who wanted to meet with me to pitch this or that, and I remember feeling overwhelmed by it. But I also understand the value of meeting in person and if you would like to grab a Coke or coffee, please feel free to reach out to me at dave at davidflowerstherapy dot com. I’d love to see how I can serve your church!
If you would like to get a sense of what friends, colleagues, and former clients, parishioners, students, and supervisees say about me, check out my Google reviews.
For education, teaching, and post-graduate supervision information, click here and scroll to the bottom.
History in the Community
Davison and I go about as far back as it’s possible to go. My dad, Chuck, taught in Davison public schools from 1967-2007. I attended Davison schools from 5th-12th grades, and met the girl who became my wife in 5th grade at Gates Elementary School. Also a life-long Davison person, she has been a teacher in Davison, a literacy specialist in Davison, and is now an elementary principal in Davison. All three of our adult daughters attended Davison schools all their lives and graduated from Davison. I was drum major for the Davison High School Marching Band my senior year, and my wife and I both graduated from DHS in 1986. Davison is a community I live in, know about, have invested a lot in, and care about.
I got my first ministry job in 1994 at the Free Methodist Church in Davison, where I had grown up. It was supposed to be a two-month, interim position, but I loved it immediately and applied and was hired for the full-time position. I served there as youth pastor for eight years, from 1994-2002.
Planting of Church
In early 2002, the Sr. Pastor, Bill Acton, proposed that the Davison Free Methodist Church partner with my wife and me in planting a new church where I would be the lead pastor. This was a beautiful partnership from the beginning and was a passion project both for Pastor Bill and for me. I planted and served as pastor of Wildwind Community Church from 2002-2016.
Retiring from Ministry
In 2013 I experienced a severe flareup of my MS, which I had been doing fairly well with since my diagnosis in 1990 at the age of 22. This flareup, unlike most of the others, had lasting effects on my health and I began informing my congregation soon after I was looking for a way to retire from the ministry and do something where I had more control over my schedule.
Opportunity to Do Counseling Full-Time
That opportunity came in 2015 when a counseling colleague contacted me and asked if I would be interested in coming to work with her at her counseling center in Fenton. My wife and I knew this was the opportunity we had been praying and waiting for, and my last day in the pulpit at Wildwind was June 12, 2016.
Training in Couples Work
I had always moonlighted as a counselor, with the permission and support of my church boards, even when I was pastoring, and always felt drawn to teens, couples, and families. When I retired from the ministry, I knew right away I wanted to focus on working with couples. My extra and post-graduate training in working with couples includes:
- Prepare-Enrich certification. You may be familiar with Prepare-Enrich as it is used by tens of thousands of clergy, counselors, social workers, psychologists, and other helpers the world over to prepare people for marriage and to aid them with issues in their marriages. I have been a certified Prepare-Enrich facilitator for twenty years and have used it with over a hundred couples. I still use Prepare for my premarital counseling program today.
- Gottman, Level 2. The Gottman Method is one of the gold standards for relationship therapy worldwide.
- Certified Gottman Seven Principles Workshop presenter
- I have taken seminars in both Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Imago Therapy
Those who know me would say it’s not just my education and training that makes me good at what I do, but my insight and natural giftedness with counseling.
Who I Work With
I do not consider myself or market myself as a “Christian counselor.” I am committed to being the best counselor I can be for whoever I happen to be working with. But of course because of my background, I am deeply rooted in Christian theology, metaphors, understandings, history, and tradition and tend to bring this into my work naturally. I often use the teachings of Jesus and St. Paul in my work, regardless of my client’s religious background or lack thereof.
How I Work
The extent to which my work is connected to Christian concepts and ideas depends very much on the client. I bring a certain amount of it naturally as part of who I am and how I’m wired. (I’ve never had a single client ask me not to use any of those references.) On the other hand, counseling is counseling, not Bible study. People can be deeply committed Christ-followers and still have grown up with imperfect parents who didn’t pass on good communication skills. They can have broken relationships in many other ways as well. My job is to help them identify patterns that don’t work and replace them with patterns that we know, from 40 years of research on relationships, work to help couples connect more authentically and deeply, to improve their friendship, and to feel heard and understood by one another.
For me, helping couples love more authentically, deeply, and sacrificially is God’s work, regardless of the particular belief system of the couple I’m working with.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash