NEW LIFESCAPE FOUNDERS
STEPHEN C. THOMAS
Executive Director, New LifeScape Ministry
Stephen C. Thomas earned a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University and an undergrad degree from Bluefield College in Organizational Management and Development. Stephen has worked 17 years in the mental health field with duties such as a business manager and a policy writer while developing his clinical skills. He was promoted to partner at an agency where he focused on outpatient counseling and groups dealing with anger management and substance abuse. While in grad school he worked for several years in an inpatient psychiatric hospital doing individual and group work with patients. Stephen served as both the clinical supervisor and clinical director at two different community based mental health agencies leading the clinical programs and developing staff.
Stephen is Licensed in Virginia a as Resident Counselor.
REV. RICK PAINTER
Pastoral Director, New LifeScape Ministry
Growing up, Rick developed a wide range of job skills, working in temporary and part time jobs including factories and the power company. Rick developed interests in history, science, mechanics and fitness/nutrition. Rick earned a BA in church music, but enjoyed youth ministry. After getting his Masters of Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Rick continued in music, youth and education ministry. He was ordained in 1988 for his first pastorate. Rick pastored two churches in rural areas before becoming a church planter with NAMB-SBC. Rick later worked in professional tutoring before getting licensed as a QMHP and working in the professional mental health field with children and adults.
THE STORY BEHIND NLS
Director of Operations
After years in church leadership and community social and mental health work, Steve and Rick began to discuss the problems with government methods of taking care of "the poor" and how the church could meet those needs more effectively. They knew that the government approach to poverty was a trap for most people. They realized that the local church holds the hope and strength many need to escape "government sponsored poverty" and the ability to change their communities by changing the lives of people within that community through the power of Jesus. We also knew there is an unspoken wall between the two. Over several years of prayer, research, and discussion, the concepts, principles, and resources of "New LifeScape Ministry" developed.
Although we are currently working on a volunteer basis due to limited funding, our goal is to work with local churches where they are to help them discover how God has already equipped every Believer for a special ministry. Then, based on that information, develop a comprehensive plan to address community needs. NLS will also locate and assess individuals in the community who want to get off the government system and connect them with a local participating church to carry out their plan.