Dave Bender directs all aspects of The Counseling Center at Bay City. This includes counseling, counselor assignments, and the training and supervision of counselors. Dave performs about 65% of our counseling.

Dave has over 30 years of experience working with people, in California and Wisconsin.

He has completed two master’s degrees, one in ministry, and the other in counseling. He has taken a particular interest in his studies in understanding the “why” of human behavior.

  • MABC, The Master’s University
  • MMin, Northland International University
  • Counseling Certificates (2), The Christian Counseling & Education Foundation
  • BS, Maranatha Baptist University
  • Dave is the family pastor at Bay City Baptist Church in Green Bay, WI.

An Interview With Dave

What got you interested in doing counseling in the first place?
Well, I guess I simply saw the need. I saw how people needed someone to talk to and help them through hard times and I wanted to do something about it. Of course, that naturally led to doing counseling.

What’s important to you in working with people?
People need to be able to talk to someone. They need to be heard and loved and so I try to do that. But people also need to understand the truth and apply it to their lives. It’s not easy to change, and knowing the truth is not the same as actually changing our thoughts and behaviors. Change takes work.

I believe also that people need to understand why they do what they do. Coming to this understanding will take us deeper than behaviors and even thoughts, right down to our human desires. As we train counselors here I’m also trying to emphasize that with them so that they are able to help people also.

When I consider counseling and what’s important, I also know that people in the middle of hard times are really asking three questions of their counselor even if they don’t say it out loud: Can you help me? Can I trust you? Do you care?

People need to be able to answer “yes” to all three questions in order for counseling to be successful, and so we make sure we’re ready to do that.

You’ve said you’ve had some struggles yourself. Tell me about that.
Well, I really wish I could say I’m so strong that I’ve never had any troubles, but I’m really, really human through and through. And it can be hard to be human, right?

The first hard thing I’ve dealt with is anxiety. Again, I wish I didn’t have to say that, but it’s true. It was really hard to work through it. God has helped me and now 99% of the time I don’t have any anxiety. God still keeps me on my toes though, and dependent on Him. I’m thankful to have had this struggle because it really helps me to help other people overcome anxiety.

Also, I’ve been through two stretches where I was depressed. The first lasted about six weeks and it was the result of a medication I was taking at the time. I’ll never forget how hard and painful that was and I’m actually very glad to have experienced it. Now when someone says, “depression hurts,” I know exactly what they mean. I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to counsel and help others in depression if I hadn’t experienced that. There was a second time and it was the result of my response and my thoughts related to a difficult life event in about 2014. That time it probably took about a year before I felt like I was back to feeling good again. I learned a lot from that experience and haven’t been depressed again since.

Even though it was hard, I’m glad I went through both of these experiences because it helps me understand more deeply what people are going through.

One question people might have for me is this: “Did you take any medications to help you?”

The answer to that question is “no,” I haven’t taken any medications to help with anxiety or depression.

Tell me about your family.
I’m married to Julie, she’s the absolute best. She’s the only one for me and I don’t know what I’d do without her. She works as a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital. I am so grateful for her in so many ways. We were married in 1986 and have had three children, two girls and a boy, who are now all in their 20s.

We’re empty-nesters and I sure do miss having them around. We had a lot of good years together and great memories for which I’m grateful. We have one grandchild. She’s probably the cutest child on the planet but other grandparents might want to argue with me about that.

What do you like to do outside of work?
Even though I don’t get to do these a lot, I do enjoy snowboarding, downhill skiing, and wakeboarding. I enjoy doing just about anything that’s fast and fun and active, and I like to stay in shape. I’m also a pilot and like to fly whenever I can.

See a list of Dave’s favorite counseling articles here.