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Biblical Counseling Coalition: Grace & Truth

The BCC Weekend Interview Series: Briarwood Counseling Ministries

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’re posting (and then making available as an ongoing resource) interviews with churches, para-church groups, and individuals committed to biblical counseling.

Briarwood Counseling Ministries

This week we highlight Briarwood Counseling Ministries of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. To learn more about their biblical counseling ministry, we interviewed Howard Eyrich, Pastor of Counseling.

BCC: “Pastor Eyrich, please tell our readers about your biblical counseling ministry’s mission and vision.”

BCM: “Our mission and vision is in concert with our church: ‘For God’s glory, we are committed to equipping Christians to worship God and to reach Birmingham to reach the world for Christ.’ We believe that biblical counseling is a ministry of Christians to hurting and misguided people, encouraging them with hope, that they can be reconciled to God and others in relationships (2 Corinthians 5:20). By applying biblical truths to daily living problems, believers can learn to live their lives in a way that is pleasing to God. By exposing their problems to the Word of God, biblical counselors, as ambassadors of Christ, seek to ‘ensure that Christians are not taken captive through false teaching, philosophy and empty deception according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ’ (Colossians 2:8). Biblical counselors seek to lovingly share one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-10), and to proclaim Christ, ‘admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ’ (Colossians 1:28).”

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

BCM: “Pastor Frank Barker, founding Pastor, desired to have a Lay Counseling ministry so he enlisted a retired lawyer and seminary graduate to establish the ministry in the late 80′s. There were two other directors who both served short stints. I (Howard Eyrich) have led the ministry for most of the past twelve years. The ministry trains and supervises a team of approximately thirty Lay Counselors. The ministry sees about 50% church members and 50% community members.”

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

BCM: “The Pastoral leadership, Senior Pastor, ordained and church staff promote and support the essential doctrines of sufficiency of Scripture, progressive sanctification, and shepherding. Everything we do, from the preaching of the Word, to all our ministries, to our one-to-one biblical counseling all focus on assisting hurting people to overcome the issues of life so as to practice walking in the Spirit. We pursue equipping people to live life in biblical perspective.”

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

BCM: “We provide a two semester seminary level training program that is NANC certified. In addition, we encourage our counselors to continue education through Birmingham Theological Seminary. Our training covers fifty-two hours of class time. This is followed by fifty hours of supervised counseling and ten hours of observations.”

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

BCM: “Biblical counseling is about loving people by taking the time to understand them, interpreting their life situations through the grid of Scripture, confronting them with God’s framework, and challenging them to engage in the put off, mind renewal, and put on dynamic of Ephesians 4:22-24.”

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

BCM: “As I noted, 50% of our counseling focuses on community members. Evangelism has been accomplished, lives have been transformed, relationships have been healed, and marriages have been restored.”

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

BCM: “First, I can think of no more effective ministry that can touch the whole person and thereby impact the whole church. Second, keep your vision focused: biblical counseling is the process of helping hurting people assess their life practices in light of biblical theology and then helping them to develop the means and methods to implement this theology into the fabric of their lives. Third, see your biblical counseling training as an essential part of the whole idea of discipleship.”

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

BCM: “For a number of resources and a growing blog on premarital and marital counseling, go to www.howardeyrich.com. Go to www.briarwood.org for sermons by Dr. Harry Reeder whose teaching enhances all we do. To learn more about our counseling ministry go to http://www.briarwood.org/counseling. For a flyer about our counseling ministry visit http://www.briarwood.org/clientimages/37045/reaching/counseling/counselingflyer.pdf. Each summer we sponsor a NANC certification seminar. You can learn more about it at:  http://www.briarwood.org/clientimages/37045/reaching/counseling/counselingbrochure_5-11.pdf.”

BCC: “Howard, how can people be praying for you and Briarwood Counseling Ministry?”

BCM: “Please pray for wisdom and protection.”

BCC: “How can people contact you and connect with you?”

BCM: “People can learn more about us and contact us through: Altadena@briarwood.org, 305-776-5281, 2200 Briarwood Way, Birmingham, AL 36243, http://www.briarwood.org/counseling, and www.briarwood.org.”

BCC: “Howard, thank you for helping our readers to learn more about biblical counseling and the ministry of equipping the saints to speak the truth in love to one another.”

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  • http://plantcityladyandfriends.blogspot.com/ Carol Noren Johnson

    Dr. E,

    This ministry is impressive.

    How does discipleship differ from biblical counseling?

    Do your counselors meet at Briarwood Presbyterian Church and do you assign counselors to counselees?

    Carol

About the BCC

The BCC exists to strengthen churches, para-church organizations, and educational institutions by promoting excellence and unity in biblical counseling as a means to accomplish compassionate outreach and effective discipleship.