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BCC Interview: The Association of Biblical Counselors

May 15, 2011

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

The Association of Biblical Counselors

This week we highlight The Association of Biblical Counselors, headquartered in Bedford (near Fort Worth), Texas. To learn more about the ABC’s biblical counseling ministry, we interviewed their President, Jeremy Lelek.

BCC: “Tell our readers about your biblical counseling ministry mission and vision. What is your organization all about?”

ABC: “The mission of the Association of Biblical Counselors is to ‘encourage, equip, and empower people everywhere to live and counsel the Word.’ We are a membership organization that seeks to enlist professional counselors, pastors, and all believers to take part in the infinitely important work of biblical soul care. Through our Center for Church Equipping (with Dr. Bob Kellemen as our Executive Director), we will train and certify believers in biblical counseling while also providing them an opportunity to develop a vibrant, Gospel-centered counseling ministry within their own churches. Through the Center for Pastoral Life and Care (with Dr. Paul Tripp as our Executive Director), we seek to offer effective, Gospel-centered ministry particular to the needs of pastors. As a member of the ABC, people gain access to literally 100s of outstanding counseling resources, a scholarly eJournal, a weekly EquipU newsletter, and amazing discounts on books and events sponsored by our ministry.”

BCC: “What is the history of your organization? Tell us your story.”

ABC: “The Association of Biblical Counselors launched under the leadership of Jeremy Lelek in 2005. Since then we have grown from just a few members to having members represented in all 50 states of the US as well as many countries around the world including Mexico, Argentina, Canada, England, Israel, Russia, Ireland, and South Africa to name a few.”

BCC: “Share a little bit about your staff—who works with you and in what roles?”

ABC: “We have a growing staff in the following roles.

  • Chandler Fozard, Executive Director, Hope Prison Outreach
  • Brad Hambrick, Chief Editor, Journal of Counseling and Discipleship
  • Dr. Bob Kellemen, Executive Director, Center for Church Equipping
  • Jeremy Lelek, President
  • Tamara Lelek, Administrative Assistant
  • Scott Lowrey, Vice President
  • Ronnie McElroy, Executive Assistant to the President
  • Faith Morrin, Media Strategist
  • Zach Pummel, Videographer (contract)
  • Brittany Smith, Graphic Designer (contract)
  • Zack Smith, Website Developer (contract)
  • Dr. Paul Tripp, Executive Director, Center for Pastoral Life and Care
  • Cathy Wiseman, Event Coordinator.”

BCC: “What are the types of resources (books, pamphlets, audio/video, book reviews, articles, journals, blogs) that people can find at your site/through your ministry?”

ABC: “The ABC site is extremely robust, and offers a plethora of resources to members and non-members alike. Our bookstore contains books from best-selling authors in biblical counseling such as David Powlison, Paul Tripp, Ed Welch, Bob Kellemen, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Jay Adams, and many more. We have developed our bookstore to offer prices that are comparable to Amazon. We also have many free video and audio interviews and lessons in biblical counseling by top leaders in the field. Additionally, we provide full video and audio versions of all conferences for purchase that include speakers such as Tullian Tchividjian, Paul Tripp, Eric Johnson, David Powlison, Mike Emlet, and Bob Kellemen. Members have access to 100s of archived articles that address issues ranging from anger and anxiety to addiction and eating disorders. We have also archived all editions of the Journal of Counseling and Discipleship with leading authors in biblical counseling serving as contributors. So as to ensure continual updated information and articles, ABC has designed its new website to offer daily blogs from leading scholars and practitioners in biblical counseling.”

BCC: “What upcoming conferences, seminars, classes, and other training opportunities do you

have in the next year? Which ones do you repeat each year as annual events?”

ABC: “ABC hosts an annual conference in May (this year is May 5-7, 2011). This year’s conference is called, The Groaning Cosmos: Sin Suffering and the Gospel. Speakers include Matt Chandler, Tullian Tchividjian, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Paul Tripp, Robert Kellemen, and Jeremy Lelek. Additionally, ABC is now offering local and regional training in biblical counseling called Biblical Counseling Forums, the first of which is entitled, Sex and the Context of God. Future dates and locations are to be announced. Finally, ABC will be offering one-week intensives beginning in the summer that will accrue required training towards an ABC Certification in Biblical Counseling.”

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

ABC: “ABC defers to the two definitions offered by the authors of our training materials, Dr. John Henderson and Dr. Bob Kellemen. They are as follows:

  • Biblical Counseling is a fluid event and process, as part of the Great Commission, whereby one or more theologically and relationally qualified persons provide spiritual, emotional, and behavioral service, comfort, and guidance in love to one or more persons through the truth and power of God’s Word under the ministry of the Holy Spirit. (John Henderson)
  • Biblical Counseling is Christ-centered, church-based, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed one-another ministry that depends upon the Holy Spirit to relate God’s Word to suffering and sin by speaking and living God’s truth in love to equip people to love God and one another (Matthew 22:35-40). It cultivates conformity to Christ and communion with Christ and the Body of Christ leading to a community of one-another disciple-makers (Matthew 28:18-20). (Dr. Bob Kellemen)”

BCC: “How can people be praying for your ministry?”

ABC: “People can pray for the Association of Biblical Counselors by asking God to help us continue to develop and maintain a Gospel-centered focus in our mission and that this will be reflected in all literature we produce and distribute. We also seek the Lord to help us stay humble in our call and passionate in our love for God and people!”

BCC: “How can people learn more about and contact you?”

ABC: “People can connect with us at: Association of Biblical Counselors, 209 N. Industrial Blvd., # 237, Bedford, TX 76021, www.christiancounseling.com, [email protected], 877-ABC-4551.”

BCC: “Thank you, Jeremy. It has been great getting to know your ministry. Thank you for helping our BCC readers to learn more about your biblical counseling ministry.”