Sweeten Life Systems continues a tradition of ministry that was first launched in Cincinnati and has grown to have a deep, rich American and international presence.
The ministry began in the early 1970s, with the Fourth Great Awakening (often called the Jesus Movement)
on University of Cincinnati campus. Students, drawn to the safety of Gary and Karen Sweeten’s home, shared joyful stories of youth as well as painful stories of drugs, alcohol, sexual deviations, and abuse that cried out for healing. In order to understand and respond to their needs, Gary earned a Ed. D. in counseling. Gary 's doctorate focused on integrating faith and psychology to equip Christians to grow strong personally and serve others as peer helpers.  
In 1973 Gary joined the staff of College Hill Presbyterian Church as discipleship minister, charged with overseeing all educational programs of the large, dynamic church. At that time, the church faced new and overwhelming challenges of a culture out of control. Parents and pastors both sought help in rearing children able to resist the temptations of a society gone wild. In response, Gary and his colleagues developed classes on marriage, parenting, small groups, and creative Bible studies.
In addition to offering classes, the church Elders recognized a need to train lay people to provide care and cure for troubled souls. Using the knowledge and skills Gary gained studying for his doctorate, the College Hill Presbyterian Church Elders created a ministry of equipping called the Teleios (or Wholeness) Center. In the next ten years, the center blossomed, developing classes, materials, and programs designed to prevent problems and promote the personal maturity of every member.
From the most mature learners emerged a group of people who had a passion to use their talents, experiences and gifts to assist people in distress.  This group, the Teleios Team recruited, equipped and deployed numerous members to serve as para-professional helpers. Teleios grew and grew, and thousands of people received care and counsel from the volunteers. (
As Teleios grew, pastors and counselors learned of its successes and asked for support and materials in an effort to replicate it in their own churches or organizations. In response, the team developed a non-profit, faith-based charity called Equipping Ministries International (EMI). Established  in 1978, EMI takes the philosophy and strategy begun at Teleios to cities and countries around the world. (
For the next step in the journey, Emmett Cooper, M.D., Ph. D., Medical Director of Emerson North Psychiatric Hospital contacted Gary to help establish an adult in-patient unit that integrated faith with the medical and psychological aspects of psychiatric treatment. In 1989, Dr. Cooper established the holistic adult counseling program called Life Way .
The Life Way program integrated medicine, psychotherapy, family interactions, prayer, Bible studies, and group dynamics.  The most innovative aspect occurred as the residents learned the same caring skills developed at Teleios and used in churches. The unit became a loving, powerful community of wholeness that promoted health and ongoing growth rather than sickness.  The team also developed an outpatient clinic.  (
Gary resigned from EMI in 1994 and created a new organization, Life Way Inc./ Sweeten Life Systems, a 501 ( C ) 3 faith-based, non-profit charity that continues to this day. Our tag line expresses our focus: “A lifetime of great relationships.”  
More recently, Gary resigned from Life Way Counseling Centers to concentrate on the goal of helping all persons grow in healthy behavior. He allowed his counseling license to expire and is no longer legally allowed to provide clinical counseling services.
Sweeten Life Systems never provides clinical counseling services, and does not diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders. We provide coaching and consulting services using an asset based model that looks at strengths of people rather than deficiencies.
One of our passionate desires is to recruit and mobilize Seasoned Believers so they can bring their creative and entrepreneurial gifts, talents, and business wisdom to social and spiritual issues such as job creation, alcohol and drug recovery, family health, missions, and education.


Hope & Change for Humpty Dumpty

A training manual for those who want to promote healing, growth and change in others. Critically important for leaders, coaches, teachers, and ministers.  BUY »


Sweeten Life Systems

P.O. Box 498455
Cincinnati, OH 45249
513.204.1655 fax

©2023 Sweeten Life Systems.
All rights reserved.

Site design by SoundPress.

With your financial support, Sweeten Life is able to make these resources available in multiple languages and to groups of varying needs. Click the button to see how your donation can help.