Rejoicing in a Flourishing Coalition

Today the Biblical Counseling Coalition blog, Grace & Truth, is featuring Pastor Viars’ post, “The Lord Blesses Us with More!: A BC Movement Update.” This complimentary article details the growth of the BCC, the movement behind the BC movement.

Just over three years ago, a group of biblical counselors began dreaming about what it would look like for the various BC individuals and organizations to purposely work together in a coordinated and proactive fashion.  On the one hand, we were glad for our great heritage but we also wondered if there was a level of effectiveness for Christ that would only be achieved if we put more effort and resources into serving in a unified and collegial fashion.  It was out of this desire that the Biblical Counseling Coalition was born.

Our early discussions coalesced around two major purposes; stronger relationships and excellent resources.  We wanted to be the kind of women and men who knew and loved each other well.  Sometimes in ministry it is easy to develop separate silos where, over time, there is even misunderstanding and mistrust.  If any group of people should work hard to love one another, it should be biblical counselors.  We also believed that these deepening friendships would lead to “iron sharpening iron,”  resulting in the sharing of best practices and the production of resources that possessed a level of depth and excellence only achievable through God’s people working together.

Today, it is simply amazing to step back and look at what the Lord has done.  Many people have quietly worked behind the scenes and others have given sacrificially to bring these goals to fruition.  Please join us in praising God as we contemplate the power and beauty of His people “dwelling together in unity” (Psa. 133:1).

Stronger Relationships

Among our executive team

Two of the early leaders of the BCC were Bob Kellemen and Garrett Higbee.  Bob has served effectively as our organization’s first executive director.  His tireless passion and energy has provided an organizational structure for the BCC that is marked by excellence at every step.  Bob explained early on that he felt his calling was to help us lay a strong foundation but that his real gifts and desires were in the areas of teaching, writing, and speaking.  That is why I have thoroughly enjoyed watching his budding friendship with Garrett Higbee, the Director of Soul Care at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago.  Harvest’s senior pastor, James MacDonald, has been a strong supporter of the BCC concept and has allowed Garrett to invest time and resources to help Bob in a variety of ways.

When Bob told our board a few months ago that he felt it was time to transition out of the executive director role, we honestly wondered how we would keep the marvelous momentum going.  I cannot express how relieved we were when the suggestion was made that Garrett be named the new executive director but that Bob continue to work as the Director of Resource Development.  That is a match made in heaven that could only occur in the context of mutual friendship and collegiality.  It has really been the BCC at its best.

Among our governing board

The Lord has blessed us with an incredible leadership team.  Our current board consists of:

  • Dr. Deepak Reju (President), Ph.D., Pastor of Counseling, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Steve Viars (Vice President), D.Min., Sr. Pastor, Faith Church, Lafayette, IN
  • Dr. John Henderson (Secretary), Ph.D., Counseling Pastor, Denton Bible Church, Denton, TX
  • Dr. Garrett Higbee (Treasurer), Psy.D., Executive Director, Harvest Bible Chapel’s Soul Care Ministries, Chicago, IL
  • Dr. Nicolas Ellen (Member), D. Min., Pastor, Community of Faith Church, Houston, TX
  • Dr. Bob Kellemen (Member), Th.M., Ph.D., Executive Director, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Crown Point, IN
  • Randy Patten (Member), M.Div., Director of Training and Advancement, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Louisville, KY
  • Dr. David Powlison (Member), Ph.D., Executive Director, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

I have known some of these leaders for many years while others are relatively new to me.  But that is part of the beauty of a coalition.  For example, Deepak Reju is doing a fabulous job as our board chairman.  Even though Dee is much younger than me, I have learned many lessons by just watching him lead our team.  I do not know how I would have had the privilege of meeting someone like Dee had it not been for an organization like the BCC.

Among our council board

Our BCC council board continues to grow.  As I look down over this list, I am amazed and deeply grateful for the men and women who are already investing time and resources into this collaborative effort.

  1. Dr. Ron Allchin, D.Min., Executive Director, The Biblical Counseling Center, Chicago, IL
  2. Dr. Amy Baker, Ph.D., Resource Director, Faith Ministries, Lafayette, IN
  3. Dr. Ernie Baker, D.Min., Professor of Biblical Counseling, Master’s College and Seminary, Los Angeles, CA
  4. Pastor Dwayne Bond, Ph.D. Candidate, Sr. Pastor, Wellsprings Church, Charlotte, NC
  5. Dr. Kevin Carson, D.Min., Pastor, Sonrise Baptist Church, Ozark, MO
  6. Dr. Robert K. Cheong, Ph.D., Pastor of Care and Counseling, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, KY
  7. Dr. Greg Cook, D.Min., Pastor of Soul Care, Christ Chapel, Dallas, TX
  8. Judy Dabler, MA, Reconciliation Specialist and Founder, Live at Peace Ministries, St. Louis, MO
  9. Pastor Jack Delk, M.Div., Pastor of Covenant Member Care, Bethlehem Baptist, Minneapolis, MN
  10. Dr. Mike Emlet, M.Div., M.D: Faculty Member, CCEF, Philadelphia, PA
  11. Dr. Howard Eyrich, D.Min., Pastor of Counseling Ministries, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL
  12. Pastor Andy Farmer, MABC, Counseling Pastor, Covenant Fellowship Church, Glen Mills, PA
  13. Elyse Fitzpatrick, M.A., Founder, Counsel from the Cross Ministries, Valley Center, CA
  14. Dr. Jeffery S. Forrey, Ph.D., Professor and Biblical Counselor, Newburg, IN
  15. Julie Ganschow, Teacher and Counselor, Reigning Grace Counseling Center, Kansas City, MO
  16. Dr. Rob Green, Ph.D., Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries, Faith Church, Lafayette, IN
  17. Pastor Brad Hambrick, Th.M., Pastor of Counseling, The Summit Church, Durham, NC
  18. Dr. Justin Holcomb, Ph.D., Professor and Biblical Counselor, SBTS, Louisville, KY
  19. Pastor Jonathan Holmes, M.A., Counseling Pastor, Parkside Church, Cleveland, OH
  20. Dr. Kevin Hurt, D.Min., Sr. Pastor, Grace Bible Church, Mountain City, GA
  21. Dr. Robert Jones, D.Min., Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling, SEBTS, Wake Forest, NC
  22. Dr. Heath Lambert, Ph.D., Executive Director, ACBC; Assistant Professor of BC, Boyce College and SBTS, Louisville, KY
  23. Dr. Tim Lane, D.Min., Founder, Tim Lane Ministries, Philadelphia, PA
  24. Pastor Joe Lee, B.S., Family Life Pastor, Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, MA
  25. Dr. Jeremy Lelek, Ph.D., President, Association of Biblical Counselors, Dallas, TX
  26. Pastor Lee Lewis, M.A., Pastor, The Village Church, Fort Worth, TX
  27. Pastor Ken Long, M.Div., Executive Pastor, Grace Fellowship, Florence, KY
  28. Pastor Adrian Martinez, MABC, M.Div., Biblical Counseling, Discipleship, and Christian Education Pastor, Grace Community Bible Church, Endeavor Hills, Australia
  29. Dr. Rod Mays, D.Min., National Coordinator, Reformed University Fellowship, Charlotte, NC
  30. Shannon K. McCoy, MABC, Biblical Counselor, Valley Center Community Church, Valley Center, CA
  31. Sacha Alexandre Mendes, MABC, M.Div., Youth Leader, Maranatha Baptist Church; Leader, Brazilian Association of Biblical Counselors, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil
  32. Pastor Abe Meysenburg, Pastor, Soma, Tacoma, WA
  33. Steve Midgley, Chair, Biblical Counselling UK, Cambridge, England
  34. Dr. Jim Newheiser, D.Min., Executive Director, IBCD, Escondido, CA
  35. Sue Nicewander, MABC, Executive Director, Biblical Counseling Ministries, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
  36. Lilly Park, Ph.D. Candidate, Professor of Biblical Counseling, Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis, IN
  37. Martha Peace, BSN, RN, Biblical Counselor, Faith Bible Church, Atlanta, GA
  38. Dr. Jeremy Pierre, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Counseling, SBTS, Louisville, KY
  39. Pastor Pat Quinn, M.A., Counseling Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, MI
  40. Pastor Andrew Rogers, MABC, M.Div., Pastor of Soul Care, College Park Church,  Indianapolis, IN
  41. Dr. Stuart Scott, D.Min., Executive Director, The Center for Biblical Counseling, SBTS, Louisville, KY
  42. Dr. Mark Shaw, D.Min., Pastor, Faith Church; Director of Vision of Hope, Faith Church, Lafayette, IN
  43. Dr. William Smith, Ph.D., Pastor of Shepherding Ministries, Chelten Baptist Church, Dresher, PA
  44. Dr. Bob Somerville, D.Min., Professor of Biblical Counseling, The Master’s College and Seminary, Los Angeles, CA
  45. Dr. John Street, D.Min., Professor, The Master’s College and Seminary, Los Angeles, CA
  46. Dr. Paul Tautges, D.Min., Biblical Counselor, Sheboygan, WI
  47. Steve Timmis, M.A., Director of Acts 29 Western Europe, Sheffield, England
  48. Dr. Wayne Vanderwier, D.Min., Executive Director, Overseas Instruction in Counseling, Chesterton, IN
  49. Betty-Anne Van Rees, MABC, Biblical Counselor, Ontario, Canada
  50. Dr. Charles Ware, D.D., President, Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis, IN
  51. Dr. Ed Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., Counselor and Faculty Member, CCEF, Philadelphia, PA
  52. Pastor Mike Wilkerson, B.A., Pastor of Biblical Living, Mars Hill Church, Seattle, WA
  53. Dr. Sam Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Counseling, SEBTS, Wake Forest, NC
  54. Dr. Tom Zempel, D.Min., Care Pastor and Professor of Biblical Counseling, Shepherds Seminary, Cary, NC

More information on these women and men is available at http://bit.ly/BCCBios2014.  Each year our group gathers at a retreat center to work at building deeper friendships.  We talk about our personal lives, families, and ministries.  We pray with and for one another.  We talk about what God is teaching us inside and outside the counseling room.  It has been delightful to watch the relationships mature and it is exciting to think about where this kind of relational health can take us in the days ahead.

Excellent Resources

From the very beginning it was our desire not to promote the BCC, but to promote BC.  We especially recognize that men and women who are just getting started in this craft are looking for additional training and cutting edge resources.  By God’s grace, we are making significant progress in this endeavor.

The BCC website

Tens of thousands of dollars have been invested behind the scenes to make the BCC website (biblicalcounselingcoalition.org) a helpful resource.  We want people to be able to learn about other training programs taking place around the country.  We are seeking to build a network of women and men who can easily find and learn from one another.  The website provides great resources but also links people to what others in the movement are doing.

BCC Books

One of the goals of our leadership retreats is to produce books and other resources that represent some of the best of the current thinking in the movement.  Our first book, Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling co-written by over 40 authors, has been very well received.  The manuscript for our second book, Scripture and Counseling, is in the hands of our publisher and is scheduled to be released this fall.  We have a contract for our third book, Biblical Counseling and the Local Church, with Zondervan Publishers and are beginning to work together on this exciting project.

We are seeing the principle of synergy unfold right before our eyes because together we can accomplish more.

Thank You

Many who will read this update have participated in making this dream a reality.  Some have prayed to this end for many years.  Others have given sacrificially to make this happen.  Many have invested time and other resources.  To God be the glory—great things He has done.  Let’s pray and work together as we continue to develop our Biblical Counseling Coalition.

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Steve ViarsSteve 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.