Studying Love: John Van Epp ’80

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When John Van Epp ’80 was a biblical and pastoral studies student at Cairn, he thought he was preparing for a life of pastoring. After graduation, he accepted a position with his home church in Ohio and soon became the founding pastor of a church plant. While pastoring the church, John continued his education, earning a master’s in counseling and a second master’s in church history. John then completed his PhD in psychology at the University of Akron and transitioned into 25 years of full-time counseling.

Counseling led John to the opportunity to begin writing books and programs about relationship health. His experience as a pastor had shown him the connection between behavioral sciences, social psychology, and Scripture. With this perspective, he wrote two books, including How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, which has been successful in leading people across the country toward better relational health.

Looking forward, John has plans to write two more books, both within his field of developing healthy relationships. He enjoys working with his eldest daughter, Dr. Morgan Van Epp Cutlip, in his organization, Love Thinks, LLC which provides training and materials for his eight relationship programs. The Relationship Goals church-wide series is a unique 6-week series with sermons, small group studies for singles and marrieds, and lessons for elementary and youth groups—all learning how Van Epp’s Relationship Attachment Model can help explain our relationships with God and others.