Tarita Smallwood’s role within Biblical Counselling UK was expanded recently. This week we sat down with her to get to know her better and hear more of how she serves day by day.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in a loving home and my Dad took me to church when I was little, but it wasn’t until I was 21 and my best friend explained the hope of heaven was a gift and not something to be earned, that I finally grasped grace and the beauty of the gospel.
My working life has been an unusual mix of finance and HR in the public sector, and women’s pastoral work for my local church, with the Cornhill Training Course and a certificate in Biblical Counselling with CCEF thrown in for good measure. Currently I spend half my week working for Biblical Counselling UK as Director of Finance & Development, and the other half working for Christ Church Cambridge as Finance & HR Manager – it’s rather convenient as both organisations are situated in the same building! Married to Mark, we have the joy of two little girls, currently 5 and 7 years old. Juggling family life and the different aspects of my work feels like a combination of University Challenge, the Krypton Factor and the X-files! But in it all, the Lord has shown his immeasurable kindness and continues to sustain me.
How did you first get involved with Biblical Counselling UK?
Steve Midgley walked into my office at church one morning with a crumpled pile of receipts and invoices and asked what he should do with them… I discovered these related to the first ever conference, ‘Changing Hearts’, and the accountant in me couldn’t resist bringing order to the chaos! That ‘bit of help’ gradually became a permanent role as the Lord wonderfully grew the work of BC UK over the following seven years.
What is your new role?
People often assume I’ve taken on this additional role of Development because it links to finance, and therefore sits neatly alongside my role as Director of Finance. Whilst there are synergies between the two roles, it’s not the reason Steve and I felt this would be a good move.
Development work is so much more than just ‘fundraising’. It’s seeking to build meaningful relationships with people who share our passion in bringing the Bible to bear upon the messiness of our lives. That is why we call those who choose to support the work of BCUK financially and through prayer, ‘Partners’ … we want to be partners in the gospel with them and seek ways of supporting the ministry of the local church through them. So the question is ‘How can we be a blessing to our Partners?’, not ‘How much money can we raise?’ I love meeting new people, making connections and hearing about other people’s lives, so this job seemed like the perfect fit.
What excites you about biblical counselling?
Our lives are messy aren’t they? We are a funny mix of godly and sinful desires, so easily spoiling our own life and the lives of others. Whilst God has promised to work in us and change us into the likeness of Christ, we can often be resistant to that, or struggle to know how God’s Word applies to our situations.
Taking the Dynamics of Biblical Change course was a pivotal moment for me in my Christian life. As many who take it find, it enabled me to wrestle with deeply rooted sins and experience the Holy Spirit take the words of our Wonderful Counsellor and apply them to the furthest recesses of my heart. So I’m passionate about biblical counselling and long for the local church to be a place where this heart-changing ministry takes place.
What can we be praying for you?
For opportunities to connect with those who support us in prayer and financially, and hear more from them about their lives, churches, ministry opportunities and ways the Lord might grow a biblical counselling ministry in their individual contexts. COVID and the cancellation of our annual conference next March has made it difficult to meet people, although I am always keen to connect over Zoom if you have a spare 10 mins. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to put a face to the names on our mailing list!
Please also pray for me to have a prayerful dependence on the Lord. I enjoy taking on lots and thrive with a busy schedule, but that can quickly lead to an attitude of self-reliance.
How can we get involved?
You are our ambassadors, so… tell others about biblical counselling, invite them to a conference (when we next have one!), forward our blogs to people who might be blessed by them, give a copy of Real Change to your church leaders, give a copy of a CCEF book as a Christmas present, ask us to speak at a local event, send people information about the Certificate Course, consider taking Dynamics of Biblical Change…
Finally, thank you. For your prayers, your encouragements and your financial support. We are truly thankful to the Lord for each one of you.