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BCC Interview: Truth in Love Ministries

May 29, 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.

Truth in Love Ministries

This week we highlight Truth in Love Ministries of Clay, Alabama. To learn more about their biblical counseling ministry, we interviewed Dr. Mark E. Shaw, their Founder and Director.

BCC: “Tell our readers about your mission and vision. What is your organization all about? Who is your primary audience?”

TIL: “Our mission statement is: ‘For God’s glory, Truth in Love Ministries is committed to utilizing compassionate Biblical Counseling to educate and train the Body of Christ to make and multiply disciples of Jesus Christ.’

Our vision statement is: ‘Truth in Love Ministries exists to educate and train the leadership of the church, locally to globally, by building strategic partnerships focused on equipping the saints to do the work of biblical counseling from within the church and to provide loving biblical counseling to individuals, couples, families, teenagers, and children from all demographics.’

Truth in Love Ministries partners with churches and Christian organizations to develop TEAM biblical counseling ministries by equipping all saints in the local church (Eph. 4:11-16). We teach, train, and launch biblical counselors in a two-by-two team format of biblical counseling for the purpose of greater help for the counselee and greater learning for the disciple of Christ (Luke 10:1). It is an effective way to do ministry, counselors do not feel alone in ministry, and it fulfills the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) and the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-40). We teach in the classroom, train in the counseling session, and launch qualified and competent ‘lay persons’ with a more experienced saint for the purpose of helping hurting souls. Any competent Christian can counsel with training in this ‘team’ format.”

BCC: “What is the history of your organization—tell us your story?”

TIL: “Truth in Love Ministries began three-and-a-half years ago. It was inspired by an opportunity Mark Shaw was given to teach on the topic of addictions at a pastor’s conference. At that conference, he saw the great need to train pastors and all saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12-16). Plus, he knew that many of them were under-utilizing their church members who were competent to counsel. Therefore, TIL was birthed as an equipping ministry to the body of Christ. Six months after our non-profit status was obtained, we began doing biblical counseling in teams of two. We met with 2 families with only 3 biblical counselors that first day on March 28, 2008. Today, we have over 80 sessions per week with 50 active biblical counselors! In 2010, we taught and trained 220 biblical counselors by God’s grace! God has increased our ministry exponentially and we give all the glory to Him for His great wisdom to do team ministry in pairs.”

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

TIL: “Dr. Mark E. Shaw is the Founder and Director. He is a disciple-maker, teacher, trainer, speaker, preacher, counselor, and author who desires to see ‘spectators’ in the church get into the ‘game’ of ministry by becoming active participants as team biblical counselors for the purpose of glorifying God and leading others to Christ.

Ms. Shirley Crowder is our Operations Director. She is a disciple-maker, teacher, trainer, speaker, counselor, and administrator who organizes, structures, and leads the ministry in many aspects.

Mr. Ronny Shaw is our Office Manager. He is our first line of contact with new counselees and he coordinates the team biblical counselors and all appointments at our various locations. He is Mark’s father and led Mark to the Lord Jesus years ago!

Mrs. Sharon Ryce is our Financial Secretary. Her wisdom and organizational skills are invaluable as she handles all of the day-to-day financial duties of the ministry.

Mr. Glenn Koehler is our volunteer Senior Website Designer and just started recently to redesign our website to provide additional help and resources to hurting souls.

Mr. Max Campbell serves our Board of Directors as Chief Financial Officer. He provides insight for budgeting and financial planning.

We have 50 biblical counselors who volunteer in a variety of locations in the Birmingham area! These persons have been trained in our ministry and typically serve one night/day per week in TIL at one of our various locations. Some of our board of directors also work as biblical counselors in TIL as well as voluntarily serving on our board.”

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?

TIL: “Dr. Mark Shaw has written the following books and booklets on biblical counseling topics (general and specific) that are published by Focus Publishing:

  • Strength in Numbers: The Team Approach to Biblical Counseling
  • The Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective
  • The Heart of Addiction Workbook
  • Addiction-Proof Parenting: Biblical Prevention Strategies
  • Divine Intervention: Hope and Help for Families of Addicts
  • Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts
  • Coming Soon in 2011: Relapse! Biblical Prevention Strategies (not official title yet)
  • Coming in 2012: A Small Group Disciple-making Program for Addiction

Booklets include:

  • Hope and Help through Biblical Counseling
  • Hope and Help for Gambling
  • Hope and Help for Self-Injurers and Cutters
  • Hope and Help for Videogame, TV, and Internet “Addiction”
  • Hope and Help for Marriage
  • Hope and Help for Men as Husbands and Fathers

Our volunteer Senior Website Designer has only been with the ministry a few months so we are still developing our website to provide many more biblical counseling resources such as sermons, lectures, and podcasts.”

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 (share permanent links)?”

TIL: “Our next big TIL training event is co-sponsored by Briarwood Presbyterian Church and Briarwood Counseling Ministry on July 21-23/August 4-6, 2011. This is a Thursday-Saturday arranged over two weekends, thirty hours of required NANC certification training, and is excellent for anyone, especially those interested in becoming NANC certification (www.nanc.org). We plan to offer an ‘Addictions Track’ at this year’s conference for the first time with special guest teachers from around the country.”

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

TIL: “We define team biblical counseling as ‘at least two redeemed sinners partnering together in the body of Christ to ‘speak the truth in love’ to counselees so that all involved may know God intimately, glory the Lord, become more like Christ, fulfill the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-40), and fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). It is disciple-making that is Christ-centered, Gospel-driven, Word-based, and Holy Spirit-empowered.’ (excerpted from the new expanded edition of Strength in Numbers, p. 12) Let me add that this type of counseling must always be compassionate!”

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

TIL: People can pray that:

  • We would glorify God in all that we do (1 Cor. 10:31).
  • We would seek to trust in God and not ourselves (Prov. 3:5-8).
  • God would continue to grant our board and leaders His wisdom to direct this ministry toward His goals (James 1:5).
  • God would raise up workers for the harvest (Matt. 9:37).
  • We would be better disciple-makers of biblical counselors (Matt. 28:18-20).
  • We would seek to depend upon the sufficient Word of God rather than the ideas/theories of man in our counseling (Col. 2:8).
  • We would faithfully speak the truth in love to our counselees for God's glory and their good (temporally and eternally) (Eph. 4:15-16).
  • We would see God produce His fruit through this ministry by witnessing His work to heal hurting souls (Prov. 12:18; 16:24).

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

TIL: “People can connect with us at Truth in Love Ministries, PO Box 367, Clay, AL 35048, www.histruthinlove.org, [email protected] , (205) 910-0085 Ronny, [email protected], (205) 567-1111 Shirley, [email protected].”

BCC: “Thank you, Mark, for your ministry. It has been great getting to know more about your Team approach to biblical counseling.”

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