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The BCC Weekend Interview Series: Biblical Soul Care Ministries of Harvest Bible Chapel

June 4, 2011

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Weekend Interview

As part of our BCC vision, we want to point you to the best of the best in robust, relational biblical counseling. Each week we’ll be posting (and then making available as an ongoing resource) interviews with churches, para-church groups, and individuals committed to biblical counseling.

Biblical Soul Care Ministries/Harvest Bible Chapel

Garrett HigbeeThis week we highlight the Biblical Soul Care Ministries at Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. To learn more about their biblical counseling ministry, we interviewed Dr. Garrett Higbee, Executive Director of the Biblical Soul Care Ministry at Harvest.

BCC: “Tell our readers about your biblical counseling ministry mission and vision.”

BSCM: “Our vision is to return soul care to the local church. Our mission is to transform lives with the life-giving Word of God, in the compassionate Spirit of God, through the intentional community of God.

BCC: “What is the history of your biblical counseling ministry—tell us your story?”

BSCM: “Biblical Soul Care came out of the partnership between Harvest Bible Chapel and Twelve Stones Ministry (TS is a short-term biblical alternative to residential care, see twelvestones.org). Twelve Stones refines a model of care that is solidly biblical, effective, and intensive. People that were failing in all other forms of counseling came to TS and consistently had an encounter with God’s Word and Spirit that was life altering (see twelvestones.org for testimonials). The impact we believe had to do with caring about context and the life of the counselee before we brought the content of the Word of Life. The inclusion of advocates in the counseling  was another clear reason we has so much success. We knew that this belonged in the local church and did everything with that in mind.

Our desire is to build a local church model of soul care so God honoring, excellent, and compelling that it would go viral in the church around the world. We knew that meant finding a great host church for this fortunate virus we call biblical soul care. Harvest has a vision and passion for the Word that was a great match. They also were a church of small groups. What they did not have was a great counseling ministry or a vision past a “counseling center” in the church.

We are in the process of making this a church of biblical counselors. Since 2010, we have trained over a thousand people nation-wide in the exciting Christ-centered model of counseling and care. The church now has 100’s of small groups living out the truth in love more deeply. We have ongoing formal corrective counseling going on at each church. We are helping the most hurting families by doing intensive one or two day residential counseling on our Elgin property while training every believer who will listen and obey how to live out the “one anothers” of Scripture. We are on the verge of something great as the Lord moves us from an intentional community to being intrusive in each others life for the Gospel.”

BCC: “How do you pursue a church of biblical counseling (where sufficiency of Scripture, progressive sanctification, one-another ministry, etc. saturate your congregation)?”

BSCM: “It starts by believing that this is more than a counseling philosophy. It is a biblical mandate for all believers. Then it means actively integrating and assimilating the philosophy and training into every discipleship based ministry in the church. That takes time and care.”

BCC: “How do you pursue a church with biblical counseling (where you further equip those who sense a special calling and commitment to formal biblical counseling training/ministry)?”

BSCM: “At the same time you teach the value to the church body you must train some who will be able to handle the Word of God is a way that it pierces in to the deepest wells of pain, suffering, trauma, and sin. That means extensive training both in and outside the church with the best leaders in biblical counseling, like those affiliated with the BCC. It means team counseling and honest personal growth and accountability. It requires hands-on training and supervision. It is quite demanding, and realistically only a few will be called to this level of care and equipping. We believe that everyone at this level should be a trainer and equipper so that small group leaders and others will come up right behind them.”

BCC: “What is your succinct definition of biblical counseling?”

BSCM: “Speaking the Truth of God’s Word in the Light of His Grace.”

BCC: “How has your biblical counseling ministry impacted your church and community?”

BSCM: “We are tired, at times overwhelmed and on our knees, but by all reports BSC is a ministry that is permeating the way we do life, the way we walk in Christ, and how we love each other. We are not ready to open our doors to the community at large just yet but we are hoping to in the next two years. We cannot begin to tell you the power of God’s hand in this ministry in the last year. It has been like being in an E.R. watching God save and restore one soul after another. Christ is the center of all we do and all the glory is His.”

BCC: “What counsel would you give churches just starting to think about launching a biblical counseling equipping ministry in their church?”

BSCM: “Do it early, ask others who did it successfully how they did it well. Check out the BCC website and adopt the confessional statement as a way to do this with excellence. Get the Biblical Soul Care DVD’s mentioned below and Paul Tripp’s book Instruments in the Redeemers Hands to get started. Pick a mature couple to help you and get them to take a group to a CCEF, ABC, Faith Baptist Counseling, and/or NANC training conference as soon as possible.”

BCC: “Tell us about any resources (books, pamphlets, audio/video, book reviews, articles, journals, blogs) or seminars/conferences that you offer.

BSCM: “We highlight the best resources we can find form the list of training centers above in question 7. But I would point to our DVD set called Biblical Soul Care for the Local Church which has 18 session on how to transform your church into a culture of caring (biblicalsoulcare.com). Check out a great resources for the friends of those who are hurting. We call it the advocate manual. It is designed to help those care-givers who might walk through the counseling process with their friend (it is on the Harvest website free of charge). We are considering a blog and other resources to help with training and teaching in the near future.”

BCC: “How can people be praying for your biblical counseling ministry?”

BSCM: “Pray for more leaders to join us. Pray that we live these 5 values that we espouse: Christ-centered, biblically-based with truth and grace, Spirit-led, prayer-saturated, and community-oriented.

BCC: “How can people learn more about you and contact you?”

BSCM: “People can connect with us at: Biblical Soul Care Ministries of Harvest Bible Chapel, 800 Rohlwing Road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008. www.biblicalsoulcare.com or www.harvestbiblechapel.org, Email: [email protected], Phone: 847-238-7005.”

BCC: “Thank you, Garrett. We’re thrilled by your work and are excited that through this interview, many more people will become aware of your excellent equipping resources.”


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