Promoting PErsonal Change, Centered on the PErson of Christ through the PErsonal Ministry of the Word
Biblical Counseling Coalition: Grace & Truth

How Does God Expect Us to Be Able to Change?: The Linchpin

How Does God Expect Us to Be Able to Change--The Linchpin

A New Insight into Ephesians

Many of you reading this blog have sat through a preaching series on Ephesians or perhaps even taught the book of Ephesians. Others reading this blog have cited various portions of Ephesians to teach, reprove, rebuke, and exhort counselees on a variety of topics. Still others of you hold some type of Bible college or seminary degree which means that the book of Ephesians has been the focus of a course along the way. In my Th.M. (Masters of Theology) program in seminary, I had an entire course on Ephesians in which we worked from the Greek text. I could not give an accounting of the number of times I have read and studied this book in part or entirety.

So, we are each intimately acquainted with this book. Nonetheless, about three weeks ago a new insight into this book occurred to me as I read through it one morning in a quiet time. I discovered the linchpin of this book—the fulcrum or essential requirement on which the entire book depends and pivots.

Ephesians and Biblical Counseling

A typical preacher or college professor will tell his class that the book of Romans is the Bible in miniature. On occasion I’ve quoted this and said “and the book of Ephesians is Romans in miniature.”

Many of us have told a class or a counselee that chapters 1-3 are foundational doctrine and chapters 4-6 are the practical out workings of that doctrine. Many of us have also used Ephesians 1 to encourage a counselee struggling with the assurance of salvation pointing out that God took action in eternity past on his/her behalf. Or, we’ve reminded another counselee from Ephesians 2 that it was by grace that they were spiritually resurrected without an iota of works on his/her behalf.

Every biblical counselor involved in marital counseling has cited Ephesians 5:21-33 to instruct couples in appropriate marital roles. I teach our FELLOWS program regarding marriage and cite this passage as the means of reversing the consequence of the curse in marital relationships.

Every biblical counselor has challenged counselees with respect to spiritual warfare. Connecting Peter and James with Paul, we instruct a counselee to “humble yourself” (1 Peter 5:6), “submit to God,” and thereby resist Satan (James 4:7), and armor yourself (Ephesians 6:10-17) to conduct spiritual warfare.

In many respects, if the only book of the Bible a biblical counselor had in hand was Ephesians, she/he would have sufficient data about God, humanity, the dynamics of change, and the goals of change to conduct a biblically successful counseling enterprise.

Ephesians 1:1-3:12 answers the question, “What has God done for us?”

  • He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.
  • He chose us in him before the foundation of the world.
  • He predestined us to the adoption of sons.
  • He bought redemption through His blood.
  • He revealed the mystery of His will.
  • He provided us an inheritance.
  • He sealed us in him with the Holy Spirit of promise.
  • He made us alive in Christ.
  • He raised us up with Christ.
  • He joined us with other believers in the church.

Ephesians 4:1-6:24 answers the question, “What does God desire from us?”

  • Develop biblical unity (4:1-10).
  • Develop spiritual gifts (4:11-16).
  • Develop Christlike godliness (4:17-6:9).
  • Deploy spiritual armor (6:10-19).

The Linchpin

Ephesians 3:13-21 is the linchpin and answers the question, “How does God expect us to be able to change?”

The linchpin is Paul’s prayer. Paul prays that they would be strengthened with power in the inner person in accordance with the riches of Christ’s glory (think power).

Paul extrapolates this by looking to a three-fold outcome.

  1. First, that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith. The Ephesians lived in a world dominated by faith and minds that dwelled on the goddess Diana. She determined their life practice. So Paul is praying that the work of the Holy Spirit will produce in the Ephesians an alternative mindset or worldview by making Christ the object of their faith—dwelling or controlling their thinking.
  1. The second desire of Paul’s prayer is that they would comprehend the love of Christ to the point that it is inexplicable (surpasses knowledge).
  1. Third, Paul prays that they would be filled with the fullness of God. Paul is praying that the power of the Holy Spirit working in the inner person would lead to an all-encompassing awareness of the love of Christ which in turn would    motivate them to obedience (putting off the old man and putting on the new man) by the mind renewal that comes from Christ’s indwelling.

So, here is what happened in my quiet time. The Holy Spirit focused me on the linchpin. In a very dramatic way, after practicing biblical counseling formally since 1969, I was shaken to the core of my being with the incredible simplicity of my and my counselees’ dependence upon the Holy Spirit to effectively implement Ephesians 4-6 in the counselees’ lives as they grasp what God has done for them outlined in Ephesians 1:1-3:13.

The result has been that this Pauline prayer now resides under the glass at my counseling desk. It has been become my daily reminder to humbly seek God asking both for wisdom for myself and the work of the Holy Spirit in my counselees’ lives even as Paul prayed for this Ephesian church. If the apostle Paul desired and needed to pray this prayer, then certainly I do. May God encourage you to do the same as you engage your counselees and their world, a world not unlike Paul’s world.

Join the Conversation

How would it impact your life and ministry if Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:13-21 became your “linchpin” prayer?

Topics: Faith, Gospel-Centered Ministry, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Sanctification | Tags: , , , , , , ,

How Christ Changes People

How Christ Changes People

We all want to change and grow in Christ.

But how does change happen? How does sanctification—or growth in Christ—occur? What is the power for progressive change?

Typically in biblical counseling we have talked about how people change. That’s a great phrase and one I’ve used and will continue to use.

However, lately I’ve been tweaking that language in an important way: how Christ changes people.

We can only change because of Christ’s saving grace that has already changed us (Romans 6; Ephesians 1:1-3:12; Colossians 3:1-11) and because of Christ’s sanctification grace that motivates and empowers us to change (Ephesians 3:13-21; Titus 2:11-12).

As I develop in detail in Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives, our salvation not only forgives our sin (justification) and reconciles us to God (reconciliation). Our salvation also changes us by implanting a new heart within us (regeneration) and embedding new resurrection power in us to be victorious over sin (redemption).[i]

How We Counsel Christians

How does the phrase, “how Christ changes people” impact how we counsel Christians? In thinking about the relationship between our salvation and our sanctification, some summarize it as, “sanctification is the art of getting used to our justification.”

I suggest a more biblically robust description. “Sanctification is the art of applying our justification, reconciliation, regeneration, and redemption.”[ii]

If sanctification is simply the art of getting used to our justification, then biblical counseling would either be unnecessary or consist only of reminders of our salvation. We would focus on the “indicatives” of our salvation (what Christ has done for us and who we are in Christ), rather than also addressing the “imperatives” of our salvation (how we live for and grow into the image of Christ).

Interestingly, Martin Luther, who many look to for this “indicative-only approach,” did not practice this approach. While Luther believed that reminders of our salvation and meditation on the indicatives are essential motivators for growth in grace, Luther practiced a both/and approach of faith active in love.[iii] In response to grace by faith (indicatives), empowered by grace we actively grow in grace as we love God and others (imperatives).

Others see sanctification primarily as imperative-only—“try harder.” Apart from grace motivation and grace empowerment, this approach to sanctification matches what the apostle Paul preaches against in Galatians 5:3. “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” If this were our view of sanctification, then discipleship would become little more than spotting a sin, confronting a sin, and exhorting behavioral change.

The biblical approach to sanctification is a both/and approach. Christ’s grace is both a salvation grace and a sanctification grace. We highlight both the indicatives of our salvation (Christ has already changed us) and the imperatives of our sanctification (Christ is empowering us to increasingly reflect His image). We must understand our salvation and we have a role to play in applying our salvation.

Sanctification Looks Like Christ

Many Christians have simply given up on sanctification. I’m convinced this is partially because we’ve mis-defined sanctification either as being exclusively of God (“let go and let God,” the indicative-only approach) or as self-effort obedience (“try harder,” the imperative-only approach).

I’m also convinced that many have given up on sanctification partially because we’ve made the goal so otherworldly and mystical. The Bible makes it so this-worldly, so human. Sanctification is increasingly becoming like Christ in His relating, thinking, choosing, and feeling. Our target is the heart—a heart that increasingly relates like, thinks like, chooses like, acts like, and responds to feelings like Christ does. Sanctification is both who we are and who we are becoming. In Christ we are regenerated human beings and we are sanctified human becomings—becoming more like Jesus.

Jay Adams taught this truth decades ago in his foundational work, The Christian Counselor’s Manual. “Be what you are. Basic to the New Testament concept of motivation is the task of becoming what you are. In a real sense we are not merely human beings, but also human becomings.[iv]

In Gospel-Centered Counseling, I unite a robust understanding of our salvation and our sanctification into the following definition:

Sanctification is the grace-motivated and grace-empowered art of applying our justification, reconciliation, regeneration, and redemption so that our inner life increasingly reflects the inner life of Christ (relationally, rationally, volitionally, and emotionally) as we put off the old dead person we once were and put on the new person we already are in Christ (relationally, rationally, volitionally, and emotionally).[v]

As biblical counselors, we journey with counselees in their growth-in-grace story empowering them to tap into Christ’s resurrection power that is already at work in their new heart. People learn and apply the gospel truth that “it’s supernatural to mature.” Christ’s grace changes people and empowers them to mature into His likeness—becoming more like Him in how we relate, think, choose, act, and respond to our feelings.

Biblical counseling for change involves empowering saints to apply the supernatural power of Christ’s grace to mature them into Christ’s likeness. God has planted within us the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:5-23). The apostle Paul made it the goal of his sanctification to “know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Phil. 3:10). We help people to tap into, apply, and avail themselves of the resurrection power that is already in them. We stir up the new creation they already are in Christ.

Gospel Amnesia and Gospel Inertia

Peter takes this biblical counseling approach in 2 Peter 1:3-11. He starts by highlighting our new identity in Christ—our new nature as new creations.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4, emphasis added).

Peter doesn’t stop there. He fans into flame our new heart with these words.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to  godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9, emphasis added).

Peter starts and ends with our identity in Christ as new creations. He insists that we avoid gospel amnesia—forgetting who we are in Christ. He also insists that we avoid gospel inertia—apathetically refusing to grow up in Christ.

Christian, the Face of Jesus Is in You!

Someone once asked Gutzon Borglum, the creative genius behind the presidential carvings on Mount Rushmore, “How did you ever create those faces out of that rock!?” Borglum replied, “I didn’t. Those faces were already in there. Hidden. I only uncovered them.”

Christian, the face of Jesus is already in there. In you! This is the essence of regeneration. God originates within us a new disposition toward holiness. Christlikeness is etched within. The Divine nature is embedded in our new nature (2 Peter 1:3-4; Colossians 3:1-11).

In sanctification, we yield to and cooperate with the Holy Spirit who uncovers the Christ who dwells within. To grow in Christ we need to understand and apply who we are in Christ. Once we are clear on the new person we are in Christ, we continue by faith active in love as we cooperate with the Divine Architect who daily transforms us increasingly into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:16-18). In biblical counseling it is our joyful privilege to join with our brothers and sisters in Christ on their growth-in-grace journey.

Join the Conversation

How does the phrase, “how Christ changes people” impact how we counsel Christians?

[i]See chapters 11-12 and 15-16 of Kellemen, Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives.

[ii]Kellemen, Gospel-Centered Counseling.

[iv]Jay Adams, The Christian Counselor’s Manual, 161.

[v]Kellemen, Gospel-Centered Counseling.

Topics: Christian Living, Faith, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Sanctification, Theology | Tags: , , , , ,

12 Marks of Counseling That Is Biblical: BCC Weekend Resource

The BCC Weekend Resource

BCC Staff Note: On weekends, we like to highlight various free resources that you can find on our site. Today we highlight the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Confessional Statement.

What Makes Biblical Counseling Truly Biblical?

That’s a great question, isn’t it? “What makes biblical counseling truly biblical?”

During the launch period for the Biblical Counseling Coalition, three dozen biblical counseling leaders spent nine months working on nine drafts of what has become The Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Confessional Statement. This document succinctly identifies and describes 12 marks of counseling that is truly biblical.

You can find the online version of the BCC’s Confessional Statement here.

You can find and download the PDF version here.

Join the Conversation

“What makes biblical counseling truly biblical?”

Topics: Biblical Counseling, Methodology, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , ,

Friday’s 5 to Live By

Friday's 5 To Live By

Each Friday our BCC staff links you to the top five biblical counseling and Christian living blog posts of the week—posts that provide robust, rich, and relevant insights for living.

Who Is Saying Medication Is Unimportant? Part 2

Heath Lambert continues his series on biblical counseling and medication. Read his thoughts at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors’ blog site here: Who Is Saying Medication Is Unimportant? Part 2.

Forgive Us for Our “Go-It-Alone” Attitude

Trevin Wax quotes Phil Newton on a prayerful attitude of forgiveness for our self-sufficient ways. Read Newton’s thoughts at Forgive Us for Our “Go-It-Alone” Attitude.

4 Books to Feed Your Brain

Jon Bloom at Desiring God shares recommendations of Some Books to Feed Your Brain.

Do Children Who Die Go to Heaven?

Daniel Akin has recently updated a resource original co-authored by Dr. Akin and Dr. Al Mohler. Read Dr. Akin’s position on Why I Believe Children Who Die Go to Heaven.

Curved Inward

Alex Dean at Gospel-Centered Discipleship writes:

“Incurvatus in se (being curved inward on oneself) is the main enemy of making, maturing, and multiplying disciples. More than Satan’s plans to thwart our evangelistic efforts. More than the apologetic arguments of the leading atheists. More than the newest scientific discovery. Men and women curved inward will never desire to make, mature, and multiply disciples of Jesus.

This is why so many theologians have remarked about the power of the gospel especially for Christians. We need to have our gaze redirected every day. The gospel reminds us, over and over, that nothing good resides in our members, and yet, there is no condemnation because of the finished work of Christ. We are drawn to look on Jesus. We are moved to consider him. Something like worship begins to stir up in our hearts. And do you know what the automatic outflow of worship is? Making Disciples.”

Read the rest of his thoughts at Curved Inward.

Join the Conversation

Which post impacted you the most? Why? What blog posts have you enjoyed this week that you want to share with others?

Topics: Five To Live By, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , , , , ,

Who Is Saying Medicine Is Unimportant?

Who Is Saying Medicine Is Unimportant

BCC Staff Note: The following blog was first posted by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. We re-post it today with permission of the ACBC and the author, Heath Lambert. You can read the original post here.

Counseling and Medicine

The biblical counseling movement has a persistent reputation for being anti-drug. Because of our annual conference focus on mental illness we have had numerous posts on medicine and mental illness in the last year. Every time I write about counseling and medical issues I make clear that physical care for the body is important, and that counselors should not function as physicians and try to take people off their medications. In spite of those qualifications, people regularly accuse me and others in the biblical counseling world of being against medicine.

Will the Person Hating Medicine Please Stand Up?

It makes me wonder where the accusation is coming from. Who is saying that medicine is unimportant? Someone must be. In fact, I was told during a recent conversation, “Well, you might not be saying that, but other biblical counselors are.” When I asked for the identity of these other biblical counselors no names could be produced.

That got me thinking about leaders in the biblical counseling movement and their statements in this regard.

I think any objective evaluation of the biblical counseling movement would point out four big leaders in the development of our model. I think those four leaders are Jay Adams and Wayne Mack (who had an instrumental role in founding the biblical counseling movement) and David Powlison and Ed Welch (who have significantly developed the movement in recent years.) Every person embracing and practicing biblical counseling today has learned about biblical counseling from at least one of these four men.

So I looked at the statements about counseling and medical issues from the teaching of these four men. Here is an incredibly brief summary of what I found.

Jay Adams

In Competent to Counsel, Jay Adams’s very first book on counseling, he clearly endorsed the presence of disease and the need for medical doctors, including psychiatrists in caring for people who need help. In a book, What about Nouthetic Counseling?, written a few years after Competent, Adams said this:

It is perfectly clear that . . . illnesses can and do affect behavior. In such instances, medical help should be sought and administered prayerfully.

Wayne Mack

Writing in Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically, Dr. Mack has this to say about counseling and medical issues.

Sickness can sometimes be caused by personal sin (Ps. 32:3-4; 38:3; Prov 14:30; 1 Cor 11:30). But sickness that is not caused by personal sin can also be an important factor in the struggles and temptations our counselees face. For instance, viral infection, hepatitis, mononucleosis, diabetes, and hypothyroidism are all associated with depression. In many cases, when Christians suffer from those conditions their depression symptoms may simply be a consequence of the exhaustion and discomfort cause by the malady. So we must not assume that in every case depression is a direct result of personal sin. It may be relieved or eliminated simply by the correct diagnosis and treatment of a medical problem.

He goes on to say that, “It is not our place as biblical counselors to prescribe drugs or remove counselees from drug regimens.”

Ed Welch

Welch’s book Blame it on the Brain is a wonderful effort at reaffirming the Bible’s teaching that human beings are composed of a body and a soul. He walks through chapter after chapter with sophisticated analysis emphasizing the importance of the body, the importance of the soul, and the importance of caring for each one. The point of the entire book is to help Christians know the difference between spiritual issues, physical issues, and combinations of the two in order to help people most effectively.

Welch says:

Since we approach physical and spiritual problems in different ways, we need to be able to distinguish between them. Physical problems are met with understanding, compassion, and creative teaching. Spiritual problems are also met with understanding, compassion, and creative teaching, but the content of the teaching is the law of God and the Gospel of Jesus, and the response is repentance and faith rather than intellectual understanding or simple behavior change.

Throughout his book, Welch assumes and encourages medical care for medical problems.

David Powlison

Powlison penned an Affirmations and Denials document, which many in our movement have used as a standard for faithfulness in biblical counseling belief and practice. Powlison says in that document:

We affirm that God’s providential common grace brings many goods to people, both as individual kindnesses and as social blessings: e.g., medical treatment, economic help, political justice, protection for the weak, educational opportunity. Wise counseling will participate in and encourage mercy ministries as part of the call to love.

Where’s the Beef?

Again, this is a brief survey. Each of these men have had much more to say about the importance of medical care for medical problems. Many in the biblical counseling movement besides these men have had plenty to say as well.

My point is that even a cursory reading of the leaders in the biblical counseling movement indicates that they have carefully articulated a belief in the importance of the physical body and medical treatment. I can find no indication that the intellectual leadership of the biblical counseling movement has ever given voice to the dangerous practice of ignoring organic illnesses or encouraging the rejection of medical care.

If this is true then where did the biblical counseling movement get such a reputation?

I think there are several answers to that question. I’ll talk about them in my next post.

Topics: Biblical Counseling, Medication, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Psychology and Christianity | Tags: , ,

5 Strands in a Web of Care: Internal Resources

5 Strands in a Web of Care--Internal Resources

BCC Staff Note: This blog was first posted by Tim Lane at his blog site. We re-post it today with his permission. You can also read the original post here.

Strands of Care

The other day, I was doing some cleaning in my basement. While working in a particular corner, I walked right into a spider web. My entire face was consumed. As I tried to get loose, pieces of the web kept sticking to other parts of my body; my fingers, arms, shoulders, and even my torso! I could not get free of the web’s embrace no matter how hard I tried.

Later that day, I was having a conversation with a fellow pastor about discipleship, counseling, and pastoral care in the local church. In a serendipitous moment, I made a connection between my bad experience with the spider’s web and a positive one as it relates to pastoral care. When we think about caring for people within the context of the local church, the image of a web is helpful. We want to create a web of care so that people find it hard to hide, get lost, slip away, or fall through the cracks.

I started thinking about the various strands of what that web would include. You see, a spider’s web does its job well because the spider spins many strands. A single strand will not suffice if the spider is going to catch its prey. Likewise, no single strand will suffice if the church is going to guard and feed the sheep. Here is a list of some of the strands.

Strand One: The Pastor

This is the first and most important strand, yet many churches think this is the only strand. When they do, people are not cared for. It only takes a congregation of 25 to overwhelm one pastor!

Strand Two: Spiritual Leaders

Any church worth its salt will have a number of spiritual leaders who assist the pastor and help provide stability for the people. If this is going to happen, it will mean that the lead pastor/pastors will have a vision and plan for equipping these leaders with interpersonal ministry skill.

Strand Three: Pastoral Staff

Most churches, even if they are small, have staff; a secretary, receptionist, nursery coordinator, children’s minister, youth pastor, and other assistant pastors. Every staff person must be adequately trained to know how best to help others grow in grace. Once again, it is the responsibility and calling of the lead pastors to provide this kind of training so that key staff are adequately able to know how to assist in the growth process of others.

Strand Four: Uniquely Gifted Lay-people

There are always a number of people who have gifts of mercy and are relationally strong in helping others with wise counsel. Often, they have gained these skills and character qualities through the hard knocks of life. You know who they are because people talk about how they have been helped by them. If this strand is going to be leveraged to the fullest, know who they are and create a natural but more formal connection with them and the other strands.

Strand Five: Small Group Leaders

In most cases, equipping for small group leaders has one of three legs missing. The two legs that are often present are: 1) training in how to lead a Bible study and 2) training in group dynamics and how to lead the group in discussion. The third leg that is often missing is what to do if an individual or couple approaches the small group leader after the meeting and asks for help with a problem in their lives. When small group leaders are given this third aspect of training, they become a vital part of the overall web of care.

Topics: Biblical Counseling, Local Church Ministry, Pastoral Resources, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , , ,

Walking Together: Moms & Daughters

Walking Together Conference

BCC Staff Note: As part of our Biblical Counseling Coalition vision to multiply the ministry of the biblical counseling movement, we enjoy posts like today’s where we can use our BCC “megaphone” to make you aware of biblical counseling ministries. Today we’ve asked Camille Cates of Healing Hearts Ministries International to introduce you to their ministry and some upcoming events for mothers and daughters.

Mothers and Daughters

Mothers and daughters…God has given these two women a unique relationship. When things are going great between them, it is smooth sailing. But, throw a conflict into the mix and things can get really rocky, really quickly. How do they deal with conflict? Even in homes where Christ is professed, it is easy to resort to rolling eyes at each other, mumbling snide remarks, giving the cold shoulder, or slamming doors when they disagree.

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

As Healing Hearts Ministries International has counseled women over the past 25 years, conflict between mom and daughter has been a recurring theme. Oftentimes, the struggle exists because mom has never learned how to biblically work through her own thoughts, desires, and actions. If she has not learned this for herself, what kind of help can she offer her daughter?

Fear, anger, or a demand for perfection are the most common heart-issues driving mom and daughter further and further apart. While there is an abundance of parenting information available, as biblical counselors, we know that much of it is not gospel-centered. Healing Hearts wants to equip moms and daughters to turn to Christ and His Word in the midst of their most difficult relationship struggles, so we developed the Walking Together Conferences to help.

About the Walking Together Conference

Mothers and teen daughters (ages 13+) are invited to attend this special, one-day event of teaching, worship, and fellowship as we lead them through the biblical principles of:

  • Walking in Faith, not Fear
  • Walking in Peace, not Anger
  • Walking in Grace, not Perfection

Each session is followed by breakout sessions to help moms and daughters apply these biblical truths to their lives.

Individuals who work with moms and teen daughters are also invited to attend.

Find a Healing Hearts Walking Together Conference near you:

  • Kent, Washington – Calvary Chapel South – September 20, 2014
  • Amarillo, Texas – Grace Church – October 18, 2014
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin – Spring Lake Church – March 21, 2015
  • Florence, Kentucky – Grace Fellowship Church – May 2, 2015
  • West Olive, Michigan – Harvest Bible Chapel – May 16, 2015
  • Warren, Michigan – Warren Community Church – May 17, 2015 (Special Moms Only Event)
  • Rochester, Minnesota – Autumn Ridge Church – October 3, 2015

For more information or to register go here.

Want to help promote this event through your church or organization?

For bookings contact

For event promotions contact

Topics: Conference, Parenting, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , , , ,

Word of Hope Ministries

Word of Hope Ministries

BCC Staff Note: As part of our Biblical Counseling Coalition vision to multiply the ministry of the biblical counseling movement, we enjoy posts like today’s where we can use our BCC “megaphone” to make you aware of biblical counseling ministries. Today we’ve asked Ellen Castillo, Executive Director of Word of Hope Ministries, to introduce you to their ministry.

Who We Are

Word of Hope Ministries is a biblical counseling and training ministry in Santa Maria, California. We also provide ministry globally online. It is our desire to serve you with gospel-centered ministry.

We believe that the Bible has all that we need to help people with life’s struggles. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

What We Believe and Offer

As a para-church organization, Word of Hope Ministries assists people who are facing life’s struggles. This is accomplished by:

  1. Using Christian principles to counsel individuals and families in need.
  2. Training others to competently counsel and mentor in their local churches.

Biblical Counseling

Biblical counseling is committed to the position that Scripture provides the only authoritative guide for what we are to believe and how we are to live (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). The biblical counselor is trained in the use of Scripture and the principles of biblical counseling. The counsel is not based on man’s wisdom, opinions, experience, or concepts of behavior (Isaiah 55:8-11), but seeks to bring the full range of biblical truth to focus on the counselee’s need (Hebrews 4:12).

Biblical counseling deals with the entire range of problems confronting mankind including but not limited to: broken marriages, parent-child relationships, fear, depression, alcohol and substance abuse, stress, anxiety, worry, and any other problems that may result in mental and/or physical immobility. In short, the biblical counselor is equipped to deal with any problem dealing with ourselves, our relationship to God, or our fellow man (2 Peter 1:3).


We offer two types of training.

1. Biblical Counseling Training for Men and Women

This training is held locally on the Central Coast of California only. Ellen Castillo, a Certified Biblical Counselor, leads students through a video-based curriculum that requires a one year commitment. Completing the one-year course qualifies men and women to pursue certification through one of our preferred certifying organizations where there will be additional requirements. The training year begins in October.

For more detailed information about our Biblical Counseling Training, visit Word of Hope Ministries.

Our biblical counseling training is for:

  • Men and women who have a heart to do deep discipleship with those in their sphere of influence.
  • Men and women who are interested in the ministry of biblical counseling.
  • Pastors who want to grow in their ability to counsel (pastors who hold ministry degrees will be able to “audit”: no homework required other than some additional reading.
  • Lay leaders who want to gain expertise about how to help others.
  • Those who are potentially gifted for counseling (a reference from a pastor or leader will be required) and who wish to explore their giftedness further.
  • Those who may wish to obtain a certification as a Biblical Counselor from one of our preferred certifying organizations.

2. Biblical Mentor Training for Women

We use a 13-week course that we’ve developed that prepares women to become “Biblical Mentors” in their sphere of influence. This course is taught as requested by local churches throughout the year. There is also an online version available to individuals and groups that are not local to us. For more information about our Mentor Training for women, visit Biblical Mentor.

Topics: Education, Equipping, Megaphone Post, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , ,

Weekend Resources: LifeLine Mini-Books Video Introduction

The BCC Weekend Resource

BCC Staff Note: The mission of the BCC is to advance the ministry of the biblical counseling movement. The BCC is not about the BCC; the BCC is about BC. Today we use our BCC “megaphone” to highlight a video introduction by Tedd Tripp of the LifeLine Mini-Books. This is a new series of counseling resources from Shepherd Press. They are available from and

Topics: Book Reviews, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Video | Tags: , ,

Friday’s 5 to Live By

Friday's 5 To Live By

Each Friday our BCC staff links you to the top five biblical counseling and Christian living blog posts of the week—posts that provide robust, rich, and relevant insights for living.

Who Is Saying Medicine Is Unimportant?

At the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors’ blog site, Heath Lambert addresses the important question, Who Is Saying Medicine Is Unimportant? 

How Does a Pastor’s Wife Care for Her Husband When He Is Attacked?

Pastor Brian Croft at his Practical Shepherding site, asks and responds to the question, How Does a Pastor’s Wife Care for Her Husband When He Is Attacked

What We Look Forward To…

What is it we do and should look forward to in the life to come? Read Jay Adams’ convictions on that vital topic in What We Look Forward To… 

Cultivating Your Marriage and Guarding It from Impurity

Randy Alcorn shares biblical insight into an important and practical way to Cultivate Your Marriage and Guard It from Impurity.

Gospel In Life

Here’s a link to a new web site that collates resources from the ministry of Pastor Tim Keller: Gospel In Life.

Join the Conversation

Which post impacted you the most? Why? What blog posts have you enjoyed this week that you want to share with others?

Topics: Five To Live By, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.