Alumnus Angie Swonger – Journey from Teacher to Pastor to Counselor 

When God called Angie Swonger into Winebrenner’s Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) program, she was not at all the “traditional, straight-out-of university” graduate student. Having already been an educator for over 20 years, Angie was also serving in her local church as an ordained pastor (Church of God, Anderson).  

 It was 2015 when her senior pastor approached her about the new counseling program Winebrenner had launched. His affirmation of Angie’s gifts combined with God’s inner promptings moved Angie to investigate what Winebrenner was offering. 

 Once she was confident that Winebrenner’s MACC program was for her, Angie prayed and considered how she could even pay for a Master degree. Then God provided a job homeschooling a group of siblings and she jumped with both feet into two straight years of studying! 

Angie shares that when she graduated from the MACC program, she felt “fully prepared” for the job before her. In addition to their firm grasp on counseling theory, her professors were practicing counselors “in the field” and frequently incorporated actual case studies into class discussion. Angie opted to take the national exam for licensure two months before graduation from Winebrenner and succeeded on her very first try! Angie divulges that counseling is “not an easy profession to get into, but if you are willing and have great teachers, you can do it!” 

Looking back on her MACC adventure, one of Angie’s highlights was how her professors would bring their teaching back to Scripture. How did Jesus exemplify a particular counseling theory? How do the mind, spirit and body all come together? The focus on the Holy Spirit and His wisdom also drew her cohort together. Angie reminisces, “We were all using our passions for Him. 

After graduation, Angie went on to work with men and women who were mandated by the court to be in counseling due to criminal behaviors.  Hearing their stories and witnessing their earnest desire to break free from unhealthy patterns, the experience completely changed how she views people who have found themselves on the other side of the law   

Today, Angie is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Moving Forward Counseling Services, a private counseling practice in WatervilleOhio. She also works full-time at Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) in Toledo, Ohio where she walks through treatment alongside people on probation who have a high risk to reoffend. At TASC, she has the privilege of witnessing many “successful completions” and is thankful she plays a role in her clients’ healing. It is a tough assignment, but she would not want to be anywhere else.  

 She remains grateful to Winebrenner and her MACC professors for both the education and spiritual foundation they provided her. While she cannot verbally share about Christ in her publicly funded position, she can consistently be Christ to those entrusted to her.