BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the fourth of a several-part BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series on Updates on the Biblical Counseling Movement. We’ve asked several leaders of major biblical counseling organizations to share with you—our readers—what is happening in their ministries. In our first post in this series, Dr. Bob Kellemen, the BCC’s Executive Director, shared The State of the Biblical Counseling Coalition which you can read here. In our second post, which you can read here, Dr. Jim Newheiser of the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD) shared about their unique training focus. In our third post, which you can read here, Dr. Wayne Vanderwier, Executive Director of Overseas Instruction in Counseling shared the state of biblical counseling around the world.
Prospering by God’s Grace, for His Glory
The Psalms begin with a marvelous promise to those who choose to delight in God’s Word. The Lord says that such a person “will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” In many ways, I believe that summarizes what is happening to the women and men involved in the biblical counseling movement. By God’s grace, and to His glory, we are prospering.
I saw this firsthand a few weeks ago at our Biblical Counseling Training Conference (BCTC). This year marked our conference’s 30th anniversary, and as I moved around our two campuses where the event was being held, I was reminded of how the Lord faithfully keeps His promises. There was evidence everywhere of trees planted firmly by streams of water, of fruit being yielded in its season, and of God’s people joyfully prospering. The single concept that kept coming to mind was how often the Lord blesses us with “more.”
When Bill Goode, Bob Smith, Amy Baker, and Randy Patten launched the BCTC in 1985, 42 persons attended. Our team was delighted that missionaries, pastors, and leaders from churches around the country would come to study biblical counseling principles, methodology, and practice for an entire week. Their attitude was always that they would work on the depth of the ministry and trust God for the breadth.
This year’s BCTC attracted 1,930 persons representing 43 states and 10 countries. While it pained us to do so, we actually had to close several tracks because we simply could not hold any more people in some of our teaching venues. The only logical explanation for why that many persons would come to Lafayette, IN in the month of February is the powerful blessing of our God.
It was great to watch and listen to attendees huddled up between sessions discussing what they were learning. Because many churches now send teams of their key leaders to study together, the conversations often turned to the ways they might practically implement the sessions within their particular place of ministry. I felt like I was walking among trees that were being “planted firmly by streams of water.”
When our conference first started, there were only a handful of books written by a few authors. It was delightful to look into our bookstores at the conference and see stacks of great BC resources written by dozens and dozens of godly men and women. One guest left with over $4,000 worth of books for his church. It was like watching kids in a candy store. Isn’t that exactly what the Lord promised? Fruit is being yielded in its season.
There were also a number of budding writers who are asking if the Lord could possibly use them to produce a book, article, pamphlet, or video that might be helpful to the movement. We believe some of the best future resources could presently reside in the hearts of some of the shyest men and women in the room. Seeing the thought of “could God really use me in this way” being sparked in future authors was like watching future fruit trees in the making.
The Lord is using BC principles to help strengthen churches around the world. Several international guests took the time to contribute to a video explaining how they hoped to use the training in their homelands. Our conference team had multiple meetings with people from all over the world to plan ways we might work together in the coming days.
For the first time in our history, we were able to stream the Track 1 lectures simultaneously in Spanish. We were amazed that over 1,000 persons from 26 countries logged into these presentations. Since the conference, we have received requests from all over the globe for information on handouts, books, and other resources.
Several years ago, we made a strategic decision to increase the number of tracks at the BCTC and invite leading men and women from other BC organizations to help us teach. People like Brad Bigney, Stuart Scott, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Garrett Higbee, Martha Peace, DeePak Reju, John Henderson, Charles Ware, Lilly Park, Kevin Carson, Charles Hodges, Bob Kellemen, Chris Moles, Pam Gannon, Randy Patten, and others joined our Faith team to provide 213 teaching sessions.
It was wonderful to see leaders from many BC organizations working together to serve the greater body of Christ. We believe the quality of our training is greatly enhanced by working side-by-side our friends who are serving God faithfully in other places.
Our conference guests understand that training is a point along the journey, not the end of the road. Many were excitedly seeking information about additional conferences, advanced degree programs, and other ways to build on the training they had received.
We were able to point them to the BCC website which serves as a portal to learning about many other BC organizations. We are glad to be part of a group that is not simply trying to promote the BCC, but to promote BC. The number of excellent training possibilities is growing exponentially. We want our conference guests to be familiarized with the best programs possible so they will view receiving ongoing training as a lifelong pursuit.
Something powerful happens when you gather people from around the world who truly love God and His Word and want to learn, develop, and share best practices in soul care. It really is true that together we can accomplish more.
The Biblical Counseling movement has a long, long way to go. But it has also come a long, long way. Praise the Lord who keeps His promise to prosper His people as we seek to follow Him.
Join the Conversation
How is the Lord blessing you in your ministry as a biblical counselor?