Feel like you are existing? Want to thrive instead?

Life has so many stressors. It seems like the only solution is to work harder, longer…but we all know that leads to burnout! Relationships explode or become frayed. Your best effort goes nowhere. You read your bible and see the prospect of an amazing life…a life of power, of transformation, of value, meaning and purpose.


Why don’t we see that today? It can be discouraging when you really want your life to count for something. Sometimes life feels crazy and you want to put the brakes on but can’t find the lever. What’s wrong? What’s the missing piece?

Courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art

We think we have found the missing piece—well 19 of them actually. They are the 19 relational brain skills needed to develop and maintain healthy, joyful relationships. In the past these skills were informally and casually passed on from one generation to the next but now they are rapidly dropping out of society.Why?

When a parent experiences some form of life chaos (economic/emotional/spiritual) they may miss passing on a skill even though they have it. The child then grows up and cannot pass on what he does not have. And so skills can fall out of family lines. The lack of these skills is a major cause for all sorts of trauma, societal and relational chaos.

The good news is that these skills can be learned! That is what the THRIVE workshop is all about—reintroducing the skills back into society! Here is what you learn:

THRIVE restores missing brain skills!

  • Brain skills grow when you train with people who have the skills
  • Brain skills blossom with interactive exercises shared in states of joy and rest with people and God.
  • Brain skills bless your relationships and transform your character.
  • Brain skills are not learned by reading a book, scanning Facebook or watching television.

THRIVE offers premiere leadership training           

  • Parents: be refreshed with joy. Shorten the amount of time you spend drowning in overwhelm.
  • Pastors: improve your leadership skills. Start joy in your congregation. Be faithful to your legacy. 
  • Leaders: lead fearlessly and relationally. Rest. Recharge your joy. Know what you are doing.
  • Missionaries: increase your ministry skill set. Equip those you serve. Discover solutions that work.

THRIVE trains you to:

  • Develop and express Jesus-like character.
  • Recognize overwhelm to sustain joy.
  • Resolve pain and protect what matters most.
  • Calm distress and quiet your cravings.
  • Live and convey your deepest values.
  • Change fear to love.

And so much more!

We have two opportunities in 2014 to take advantage of this training:

  • THRIVE 5-day US Skill Training. March 24 – March 28th, 2014. 5-day skill training format! 19 relational brain skill training –  Tracks I, II and III. East Peoria, IL. More.
  • THRIVE 5-day US Skill Training. July 14th – 18th, 2014. 5-day skill training format! 19 relational brain skill training –  Tracks I, II and III. East Peoria, IL. More.

If you would like to read about the kinds of changes that can come into your life and the lives of your family, you will enjoy hearing the testimony of Anna Hill. This training transformed her life.  Click here

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Twitter – @coursey_chris

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com


Pastor’s Weekly is GONE?

Newsflash—Pastor’s Weekly has a new name and format. Pastor’s Weekly is now called “The Roundtable.” This week’s topic, Best Practices – What works and What Doesn’t, was presented in a panel discussion format with Chris and Jim Martini, Shepherd’s House CEO, facilitating.

Our session opened with a presentation of the CONNEXUS materials and our vision of what it could do. Our goal for 2014 is to put CONNEXUS materials in 1,000 churches. What a JOY explosion!

Jim Martini gave three steps you can take to begin to spread JOY in your church and community.


1. Be An Instigator. Get the Joy Starts Here book and find a small group that is looking for a new book to study, or gather a group and form your own. Be an instigator with your pastor(s) and leadership (adult education minister, youth minister, etc.) and introduce them to the material. Show them what JOY can produce!

2. Start the CONNEXUS program. This begins with two classes running concurrently, Restarting (for those who are aware of their pain and know that something is missing) and Forming (not necessarily aware of pain, but who want more…a deeper more intimate relationship with The King). Next class is Belonging in which both groups come together to learn how to live in community. This is based on the Life Model concept of transformation happening when there is a gentle response to weakness and the “strong” and the “weak” relate.

3. Repeat! Now that you have experienced it, become a life-giver and give away what you know by starting more groups and sharing the JOY! Over 170 people across the U.S. are licensed teacher/trainers. Information about becoming a teacher/trainer are available by contacting CONNEXUS.

Somewhere along the way you are going to want to take the THRIVE training. It is available twice in the U.S. and highly recommended. See Resources below.

And then the interactive part started. The panel introduced themselves and shared their “best practices.” They told what was working at their end as they used the Connexus materials and how the JOY was spreading. There were questions…and answers. Wow! How do you summarize that? You don’t!

Listening to people share the excitement of seeing lives changed has a way of igniting your imagination as to what could happen if 1,000 churches really got hold of how to help people connect with Jesus. It would be/could be a repeat of what it was like in the apostle’s days!

Give a listen and feel the possibilities! The next session is Jan. 16, 2014.

Resources in this episode can all be purchased at www.joystartshere.com



Joy Starts Here





30 days Joy Exercises30 Days of Joy for Busy Married Couples

A listener asked if this book was available on Amazon (it was listed, but as “out of print.”) We don’t know why it was on Amazon since no one of us put it there! The book is NOT out of print. It can be purchased at www.joystartshere.com.





CONNEXUS curriculum




US THRIVE  Training Events2014
5-day Training (Tracks I-III)

Dates: March 24th – 28th, 2014 and July 14th – 18th, 2014
Holiday Inn, East Peoria, IL. USA
Registration: Is now open!
Click here to register.
Find Out

Hoping you will come on over to www.joystartshere.com to purchase or get more information on each of these resources.

May your JOY be full,

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org 

Twitter – @coursey_chris

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This blog post is based on a panel discussion led by Chris Coursey and Joe Martini, Jan. 9, 2014.

Tongue Tied? Try The Communication Cure!

Keith DorschtIf you are not sure what to say or how to bring up difficult topics, you are not alone says Keith Dorscht, our guest on Pastor’s Weekly. He has developed a software that makes it safe and easy to talk about important issues in life.

Keith Dorscht, Creator

The Communication Cure logo

For relationships that are floundering this program gives a safe way to begin conversation. Brain science has discovered that if we can stay connected for 20 minutes, a powerful dose of oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. Bonding takes a little time: first you empathize, then you sympathize and then you are moved with compassion.

This little program offers some 30 topics and helps a couple work through them together and bond in the process. After working through all the topics they frequently are able to resolve their difficulties.

Parents who want to have a conversation with a child that is deeper and more meaningful than talk of sports and class schedules this program offers just what is needed–20 talks. It has been tested on the battlefield—a 9th grade science classroom to great effect!

The Communication Cure has been developed with the insights of the Life Model in mind as well as the stages of development and maturity. This is an excellent resource to help couples working on their marriages, parents and children, or adult children who now have children. It would also be great for teen ministries.

On The Pastor’s Weekly Keith gives his personal testimony of how the Life Model and the insights on developmental stages and maturity helped him. He also tells how he came to develop The Communication Cure. He shared that the deepest, most severe pain a person can experience is aloneness and to address that pain you need “presence” — someone with you, not words, not information…you need their presence.

Keith realized that resources need to also be experiential, to help a person connect, hence the interactive element. The human design is for connectedness and to be alone is deadly. There are many within our congregations who struggle with how to express their experiences and the deep things in their hearts and consequently, feel alone.


www.TheCommunicationCure.com is an easy to use interactive resource that simply leads you through complete conversations on relevant topics with the people that matter most to you.You can try their two most popular talks for FREE for a limited time.

Order the new 15th Anniversary Edition of The Life Model today! This new version now includes study questions at the end of each chapter as well as many other bonuses. 186 pages.

The Life Model is a unifying approach to ministries of counseling, recovery, pastoral care, prayer ministry, deliverance, inner healing, child rearing, body life and health. Substance abuse recovery programs internationally are guided by the Life Model’s five principles. Because the Life Model develops strong maturity, it is widely used as a church model, particularly where people must face suffering. Missions have adopted the Life Model for restoring hurt missionary children. Almost every major ministry dealing with trauma and abuse in the USA uses the Life Model as part of their teaching. Written by James Friesen, E James Wilder, Anne Bierling, Rick Koepcke, and Maribeth Poole.

Click here to hear Keith Dorscht’s presentation. Scroll down to the “Missed Out On a Pastor’s Weekly?” section and click on the Nov. 7 talk.

Blessings on your New Year!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org                                    Twitter – @coursey_chris

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com

This blog post is based on a talk given by Keith Dorscht for Pastor’s Weekly, Nov. 7, 2013.