Paul Coneff, MFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has developed a unique and effective Christ-centered, Cross-centered, Word-centered, prayer-centered discipleship ministry called Straight 2 the Heart. In that ministry he focuses on Christ as the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), believing that Christ is our Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). After more than 7,000 hours of clinical and pastoral counseling, teaching and training, he realized most of his clients had been sexually abused. This led him to become not only a counselor and discipler of, but an advocate for, abuse victims through a group called the Bucket Brigade against abuse (https://www.bucketbrigadeagainstabuse.com). Paul has just moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan with his wife Cristina and daughter Carolina.
What leads you to be a counselor?
I was led into a Marriage and Family Therapy license because of growing up in a home filled with anger, separation, divorce and brokenness, turning to anger, alcohol, drugs, pornography etc., to try and numb my pain. This only increased the problems in my life. After becoming a Christian I saw all the brokenness of addiction, abuse, betrayal, abandonment, depression, and other issues, in the church. This led me to begin searching for spiritual truths that address not only our sin and need for forgiveness, but healing and freedom for our suffering, wounds, and addictions.
What do you like best about it?
Being able to listen to someone’s story first and then share how Jesus fulfilled prophecy when He was alone, betrayed, abused, tempted etc. to identify with that person’s suffering, struggles, and temptations, is very meaningful.
Integrating the person’s story with Jesus’ story into prayer, discipling that person in a way that moves the person into ministry through their own testimony, brings hope to the person for the journey of healing and freedom. And it also brings great joy to me because disciples are being multiplied.
How do you recharge on your day off?
Reading books, having my dog take me for a walk, being in nature, and surfing.
What are your three favorite things?
1) Listening to scripture; 2) Seeing my wife and daughter blossom with their gifts and talents; 3) Seeing the local church come alive with discipleship so they can multiply opportunities for Christ-centered community and ministry.