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Administering Grace


Administering Grace

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Growing up on a dairy farm in Minnesota, Glen Ryswyk learned early on to care for the frail and needy. He attended births, looked after newborn calves, and nursed weak and wounded animals back to health.

"There was a lot of exposure to that kind of dynamic in a physical, tangible way that really made an impression on me," Ryswyk says.

Ryswyk accepted Christ as Savior at the age of 12. As a teen, he joined a Bible Quiz team at the Assemblies of God church his family attended. Memorizing entire books of the New Testament gave him a Bible foundation he would rely on for the rest of his life.

"Sometimes people are astounded that I'm able to quote all of these Scriptures and tie them in to different situations," Ryswyk says.  

When Ryswyk was 16, he attended a Minnesota District youth convention when the speaker left the platform, walked straight to Ryswyk, and proclaimed, "You're called to full-time ministry." The encounter confirmed what Ryswyk already knew. Six months earlier, he had sensed God calling him to ministry as he prayed and wept at his church's altar.

As his senior year at North Central University in Minneapolis approached, he received an invitation to work with Richard Dobbins at EMERGE Counseling Services in Akron, Ohio. That experience introduced Ryswyk to the fascinating world of counseling.

Dobbins became a mentor who encouraged Ryswyk to relinquish the competitive drive that spurred him to succeed in Bible Quiz and in the academic world because it hindered his spiritual and emotional growth. Ryswyk slowly learned to focus on Jesus' sufficiency rather than measuring himself in terms of personal achievements or shortcomings.

He became an Assemblies of God chaplain in 1985 and worked four years at EMERGE, serving as the clinical director to ministers and missionaries. He was one of the first to receive official recognition as an AG U.S. Missions mental health chaplain.

Ryswyk now serves as the clinical director of the Christian Family Counseling Center in Lawton, Oklahoma. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor.

Many of his clients are ministers who struggle with the perfectionistic tendencies so familiar to Ryswyk as a young zealous Christian. He is also a national certified gambling counselor, ministering to people bound by addiction in a state that relies heavily on casino revenue.

Whether he is counseling a pastor in crisis, a couple contemplating divorce, or a person battling life-controlling habits, Ryswyk says God's grace is the door through which change comes.

"Grace takes us much further than we can take ourselves," Ryswyk says. "Many times in the counseling arena, the first step is to get people to become more gracious to themselves. God has opened the door of grace in my heart and mind. We all need to surrender that darkness, emptiness, and brokenness to God rather than the trying to fix it ourselves."


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