Coalitions Working Together: Biblical Counseling Coalition and The Gospel Coalition

A Great Conference in a Great City by a Great Organization

Today, April 14, 2011 is the final day of the bi-annual conference of The Gospel Coalition (TGC) in Chicago.  Over 5000 pastors and Christian leaders gathered to focus on the theme They Testify of Me, which highlighted how all of Scripture, including the Old Testament, center on the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Speakers like Tim Keller, Al Mohler, James MacDonald, and D.A. Carson ministered the Word in ways that were serious, practical, substantive and most of all Christ-centered and gospel focused.  The Gospel Coalition is one of the ways the Lord seems to be especially working among His people in our day, bringing many men and women together around the common theme of the beauty of the sufficiency of the gospel.

If you’ve never been on the Gospel Coalition’s website, (, I would encourage you to bookmark it and check it regularly.  It is filled with powerful blogs, cutting edge book reviews, and practical tips and tools for people interested in gospel-centered ministry.

TGC and BCC: A Growing Relationship

In many ways the Biblical Counseling Coalition (BCC; has modeled itself after the TGC.  The BCC’s executive director Bob Kellemen recently said, “what the TGC is to the public ministry of the Word, the BCC seeks to be to the private ministry of the Word.”  Because there is such a mutual appreciation for the sufficiency of the Scripture in ministry by both groups, it is not surprising that the TGC and the BCC found four important ways to work together this week at TGC conference.

1. David Powlison’s Workshop Session

Dr. David Powlison of the CCEF and Board Member of the BCC, led a Wednesday (11-noon) session on The Pastor’s Counseling Ministry.  This presentation was very well attended and gave the participants an excellent introduction to how biblical counseling fits into the overall mission of the church.

2. BCC Q/A Special Event

Dr. Powlison, Garrett Higbee (BCC BOD Member), Bob Kellemen (BCC Executive Director) and I led a BCC Q/A focused around Recent Advancements in Biblical Counseling. This special event attracted a good group of men and women from 12:30-1:30 PM on Wednesday.  The participants asked thoughtful questions and the time went by quickly.  At the conclusion, the guests were encouraged to speak individually to each of the presenters if time did not allow them to ask their question during the session itself.  Each speaker had a crowd of men and women prepared to ask more questions.  The interest in personal ministry of the Word was very high.

3. BCC and Pastoral Care

Throughout the conference, the BCC provided pastoral care for attendees. This was motivated by TGC and the BCC’s concern for Christian leaders: who cares for the care-givers; who shepherds the shepherds?

4. BCC Booth

The BCC hosted a booth at the conference with literature related to the BCC, sample BCC documents, and sample materials authored by BCC Board Members and Council Board Members.  We actually had to scurry around and make additional copies of some of our materials because the number of interested men and women surpassed the number of original copies we brought to the conference.

A Lesson about Coalitions

We have said all along that as men and women in the Biblical Counseling movement find ways to build stronger relationships and collaborate whenever possible, that together we can accomplish more.  The openness of TGC to the BCC’s efforts seems to confirm that fact.  Unity is not only a beautiful thing — it is a powerful thing.

Steve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.