Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Bethesda by the Sea unique?


Bethesda by the Sea offers 100% one-on-one counseling. There is no group counseling. We aim to look not only at the presenting problem and “above-the-water-line” issues, but instead to discover and address the “below-the-waterline” root causes. The intensive counseling format provides a focused opportunity not only to identify the root problem, but also take significant steps toward freedom and healing in a short period of time. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the ultimate “Counselor,” we are able to explore issues that may not have been explored before in weekly or bi-weekly hourly counseling.




Where do I stay during my visit to Bethesda by the Sea?


You will stay in the home of Bill and Lynn Lewis, which is located about half a mile from the beach in Panama City Beach, Florida. You will have a private room and bathroom. A simple breakfast will be provided each morning before counseling begins. Lunch and dinner are on your own. Feel free to enjoy the many excellent, nearby restaurants, or choose to prepare your own meals. You will have kitchen privileges. There are grocery store options nearby.




Am I responsible for my own transportation?


Yes, guests at Bethesda by the Sea are responsible for their own travel arrangements and transportation while here. The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is less than half an hour from our location. If flying, we recommend renting a car in advance for pick up at the airport.




What do I need to bring?


Most of your needs are provided here. Bring weather-appropriate, comfortable clothing, needed personal items, a Bible, and a notebook or journal for note-taking. You will also need to bring any food items which you wish to prepare for lunches and dinners. Space in a refrigerator and freezer is provided.




Are there forms that need to be completed in advance?


Yes, as part of the application and registration process, you will complete and submit several forms. To access them, please click Apply.




Does Bethesda by the Sea offer follow-up counseling?


Yes, if needed, hourly follow-up counseling can be provided by phone, FaceTime, Skype, or Google Duo for a suggested contribution of $125 an hour. A counseling hour is 45 minutes. Clients are also most welcome to return for another counseling intensive if needed in the future. Please see the Sliding Scale for Suggested Contributions based on Gross Household Income.




Who may visit Bethesda by the Sea?


The mission of Bethesda by the Sea is to provide pastoral care and counseling to missionaries, pastors, and those in full-time ministry. Priority is given to them. If the schedule permits, we are also available to help believers who are active in Christian lay ministry. We desire to be a resource to the Body of Christ — locally, regionally, and globally.




Does Bethesda by the Sea offer hourly counseling?


Yes, hourly counseling is available for those in the area for a suggested donation of $125 an hour. A counseling hour is 45 minutes. Please see the Sliding Scale for Suggested Contributions based on Gross Household Income.




Are you available for speaking engagements?


Yes, Bill and Lynn Lewis are available to speak in churches, as well as at conferences, retreats, or seminars. For information, email us at info@bethesdabythesea.com




What type of counseling do you offer at Bethesda by the Sea?


BBTS offers counseling that is pastoral and prayer-based. The Lewises both possess an M.A. in Biblical Counseling, but they do not practice as licensed, state-regulated counselors. Therefore, they do not diagnose mental illnesses or disorders, nor prescribe treatment for them. Bethesda by the Sea does not file insurance or provide diagnoses or codes for insurance claims to be filed. All counseling is based upon Biblical principles.




Is there a charge for Bethesda by the Sea's programs?


There is no set charge or fee for our programs; rather, there is a Suggested Contribution for each program. We do not want anyone in ministry who is struggling to go without help. No one will be turned away. We have also developed a Sliding Scale for Suggested Contributions based on Gross Household Income. Visit the Donate page to learn more.




Do you ever travel to see clients?


Yes, if a client is unable to come to Bethesda by the Sea for some reason, Bill Lewis is open to travel. We strongly prefer that clients visit Bethesda by the Sea in order to "come apart" to be rested, renewed, refreshed, and restored. The experience of being "away from it all" is an integral part of our programs. In the event that Bill does travel, all transportation, meal, and hotel accommodation costs would need to be covered, in addition to a contribution to the ministry.