Grace Discipleship: Ministering to Men

Testimony of Darren Fehr

Although I was raised in a loving Christian household and accepted Christ into my heart at a very early age, I did not know my Lord and Savior until I was well into my forties. I had to be broken before I would know what it was like to surrender, because in my brokenness I was too weak to want to carry on. He took over. 
Steve Ranz and I started Men Under Construction so that when someone accepts Christ into their life, they can share in the learning of what the Exchanged Life is and means–how it guides us on the journey to know Jesus so that we can trust and love Him.
My journey really began with getting into a small men’s group at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN where I met Steve and from there, got into a 1-1 mentoring relationship with him where he introduced the Handbook to Happiness. Having the opportunity to study this book with Steve led me to take a course with Cross to Life Discipleship and this provided me with more personalized guidance, going in-depth into the key fundamentals of living the Exchanged Life. What impacted me the most was the deeper understanding of my FLESH-life. I would say this allowed me to move forward with maturing in my relationship with Christ (Luke 9:23).
We have had so many men that are in our small groups, or were in our groups, that have said they wished they knew about the Exchanged Life many years ago. We are so grateful that we have the opportunity to have Christ at the center of our ministry.
Steve was interviewed for a GFI webinar on March 23, 2022. Additional resources for discipling men are described. Here is the recording:

Spiritual Warfare in Counseling

Deeper Walk International will be providing a free conference on spiritual warfare on Friday and Saturday, January 28, 29, 2022. Grace Fellowship usually addresses these issues in the “phase 3” context of Exchanged Life Counseling.

Here is an introductory video about the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of soul care.

Cry of the Wounded Soldier

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An Exchanged Life Novel- free online

Frank Allnutt is a friend and Exchanged Life author:

Cry of the Wounded Soldier is a work of fiction, inspired by Charles
Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The story and characters were invented by
the author.

“A rare gem…a contemporary parable…a Gothic novel about the spiritual awakening of a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge….”

Desmond Morehouse was a crotchety old pastor who would give anything to forget his shameful past. Anything, that is, except his iron-fisted self-will. It had begun long ago, on a dark and stormy night in World War II—a night of horror and death on the battlefield that left the Pastor burdened with haunting guilt, fear, and a false identity. Over the years, his shameful secret slowly ate away at his heart and robbed him of the joy of being a child of God. Now a fading television evangelist in his autumn years, his life has deteriorated into endless frustrations and conflicts. As an ominous thunder storm rages through the night, Pastor Morehouse settles down to read once more Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. He is overtaken by sleep, only to be awakened by a mysterious intruder named Jonathan. It is the beginning of a life-changing, Dickensesque adventure through which the Pastor is taken back in time to see himself through the eyes of those he loved, as well as those he rejected—and to relive “that night” of fear, death, and guilt. The journey’s end is Golgotha, where the Pastor discovers his true identity in Christ.

Courtesy of the author: available as a PDF download here:

Jesus as My Life

Video presentation of the PPT

What is the believer’s essential identity? And how does abiding in Jesus Christ relate to being an effective, fruitful witness? This PowerPoint talk goes back to Genesis to consider man’s makeup, what happened at the Fall, and the significance of being identified with Christ. PowerPoint by Al Middleton of Dynamic Churches International. Presented (with permission) by John Woodward, Grace Fellowship International. 11/15/2021

The PPT file is here to download:

Introduction to Pastoral Counseling

An Exchanged Life Perspective
by Dr. John Woodward

Christ’s Great Commission is for His people to make disciples of all nations and this
mandate includes evangelism and teaching (Matt 28:19,20). One aspect of carrying out
this task in the context of the church is counseling. Counseling can be described as
remedial discipleship which helps a troubled believer overcome their problems biblically.
With the growing complexities of our culture, the moral decline in North America, and
society’s drift away from a Christian worldview, the pastoral ministry seems to be as
challenging as ever. The minister is expected to preach effectively, administrate the
church programs, visit newcomers and the membership, perform weddings and funerals,
evangelize, and demonstrate social concern. It is not surprising that some pastors regard
counseling as a responsibility they would rather avoid. It would be simple to refer
parishioners who are disturbed by “psychological problems” to a psychologist or
psychiatrist. Although there may be occasions where referral is necessary (such as for
organic issues), pastoral ministry is usually recognized as including some pastoral

A typical approach to help pastors counsel is to somehow integrate secular psychology
and the Christian faith. The tendency in the Clinical Pastoral Education field is to put
more of an emphasis on psychological research that biblical theology. An example of a
book aimed at introducing pastors to counseling is the volume in Baker’s Source Books
for Ministers series. The author’s intention is valid. “The goal of spiritual counseling is to
bring men and women into right relationship with God and lead them to the abundant
life.” This purpose statement quoted from James Bonnell is fine. Yet in the chapter on
techniques of counseling, the author just surveys secular counseling models with some
evaluative comments. [1] This leads to the dilemma of how to integrate unbiblical,
secular psychology with biblical counseling.

Continue reading this article…

Coaching Meeting: 7/21

Here is the video recording of the July Quarterly meeting for those in the Exchanged Life Counselor and Recovery Coach certification tracks with Grace Fellowship International. Jessie Dutra gives her testimony and John compares ABC Crisis Care model with Spirituotherapy.

An Evaluation of Belief Therapy

The Lifeline Caregiving Course that I am facilitating presents a summary of Robert McGee’s book, The Search For Significance. Here is the basic outline:
1. Our greatest fear is failure
God’s provision: The doctrine of justification
2. Our greatest fear is rejection
God’s provision: The doctrine of reconciliation
3. Our greatest fear is condemnation
God’s provision: The doctrine of propitiation
4. Our greatest fear is no one will understand
God’s provision: The doctrine of regeneration
This summary has merit in that it addresses the functions of the soul, core needs and applies key biblical doctrines. It is an improvement of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Rational Emotive Therapy because it adds biblical core beliefs as foundational. This opens the door for more explicit biblical solutions..
The theme of “self identity vs. God’s identity” is commendable, but clear instruction is needed for
  • the basis for one’s essential identity,
  • the description of our new identity in Christ, and
  • the “doctrine of identification” (Gal. 2:20; Romans ch. 6).
Spirituotherapy would acknowledge this content, but go beyond it. Belief therapy is still about the mind and self worth; Spirituotherapy is about the Holy Spirit revealing our identification with Christ. He enables the believer experience the Christ-centered life.
Some of the Network 220 ministries use the Exchanged Life message, but in a Belief Therapy approach.
We advocate for the Holy Spirit being the Therapist.The counselee needs correct beliefs, but he/she also needs the Spirit-filled Life and freedom in Christ (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 2:20). The message of the Cross should be central in guiding the counselee to personally know Jesus Christ as Lamb, Lord, Life, Liberator and Leader. The goal is not only improved functioning, but life transformation!
McGee, Robert. The Search For Significance (Houston, TX, Word, 1985).
Carlin, Paul. Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life (Crockett, TX, Kerusso Co, 2004)
– John Woodward