The BCC Weekend Interview Series: Immanuel Bible Church

July 2, 2011


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Weekend Interview

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

Immanuel Bible Church

Paul TautgesThis week we highlight Immanuel Bible Church of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. To learn more about biblical counseling at IBC, we interviewed their Pastor, Paul Tautges.

BCC: “Pastor Tautges, tell our readers about your biblical counseling ministry mission and vision.”

IBC: “Biblical counseling naturally fits within our existing framework for discipleship. That is, we view every ministry of our church through a disciple-making lens (Matthew 28:18-20). Our vision is simply to be a mature church that is used by God to birth and equip reproductive followers of Jesus Christ. With that said, it is only natural that what we may at times call biblical counseling is really an essential element of the process of helping one another make progress in sanctification (Colossians 1:28). Our passion is to talk about becoming like Christ. We believe once a congregation catches that vision, then one-on-one mentoring or small group ministry develops as part of the body life of the church, whether or not you ever call it “counseling.” The issue is always this: Are we growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ?”

BCC: “What is the history of your biblical counseling ministry—tell us your story?”

IBC: “I first developed my biblical counseling conviction in my college days at Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, Missouri, as the school transitioned away from an integrationist model. For the past 25 years, I have been personally involved in counseling ministry, designing and teaching counseling courses here and overseas, equipping others to counsel, as well as authoring and editing counseling-related books and booklets for the wider body of Christ worldwide. Several of these works have been translated into Russian and Arabic and talk of translating into German has recently begun.”

BCC: “How do you pursue a church of biblical counseling—where sufficiency of Scripture, progressive sanctification, and one-another ministry saturate your congregation?”

IBC: “We accomplish this primarily through vibrant expository preaching aimed at the faithful application of the Word of God to believers’ lives, as well as relationships that revolve around personal transformation, which includes a mutually-understood freedom to practice the many “one-anothers” of the New Testament. We are not a social club, but we do nurture social relationships within our church family toward the end of fostering spiritual growth toward maturity in Christ-likeness. The goal of our members is to become ‘doers of the Word’ and not ‘hearers only’ (James 1:22).”

BCC: “How do you pursue a church with biblical counseling—where you further equip those who sense a special calling and commitment to formal biblical counseling training/ministry?”

IBC: “In 2000, following a teaching trip to Ukraine, we developed our equipping strategy known as The 4:12 Institute (explained on our website and named after Ephesians 4:12 and Hebrews 4:12). One of our year-long teaching tracks (after a year of theology) is called Equipped to Counsel. All in our church are encouraged to attend these classes and out of those who complete them, I choose some who should receive additional training, on-site or off-site, and hands-on experience counseling others. Also, since we work hard to communicate our conviction that counseling is discipleship, many of our small group leaders are those who have been impacted the most by our training. In the next few years it is our hope that we can tweak and improve our training strategy to become more effective.”

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

IBC: “Biblical counseling is an intensely-focused and personal aspect of the discipleship process whereby believers come alongside one another for the threefold purpose of teaching, warning, and leading one another toward the biblical love and godliness that mark progress toward spiritual maturity (2 Timothy 3:16-17).”

BCC: “How has your biblical counseling ministry impacted your church and community?”

IBC: “Our BC ministry has impacted our church to a much greater degree than it has our community, which is by design. At this stage our BC ministry flies “under the radar” of the community at large because of our conviction that counseling is the normal work of discipleship within the local church. However, this is also intentional since we do not have enough trained men and women to take on any more counseling from outside our church family. Our referrals come from word-of-mouth, Christian radio stations, and other local church pastors.”

BCC: “What counsel would you give churches just starting to think about launching a biblical counseling equipping ministry in their church?”

IBC: “Spend at least two years consistently teaching and preaching discipleship and progressive sanctification as ‘the normal Christian life’ and the work of the local church, i.e. practical theology. The preaching pastor should aim at becoming a pastoral theologian and, during that two-year framework, should exposit some key New Testament epistles such as Ephesians, Colossians, Romans 6-8, 12-14, as well as parts of the Old Testament such as Psalm 119. This will train the congregation in the sufficiency of Scripture, the empowering grace of God, and the conviction that in the Christian life, ‘inner, heart change is to be the norm’ (using the word ‘conversion’ at least as often as you do ‘salvation’ will lead to a more biblical view). Then when the term ‘counseling’ is introduced it will naturally and easily fit into its intended biblical framework and the people in your church will say, ‘Of course that is what we should be doing!’ They will see personal transformation and one-another ministry as those which emerge out of the biblical text instead of being taped on from the outside.”

BCC: “Please tell our readers about any resources (books, pamphlets, audio/video, book reviews, articles, journals, blogs) or seminars/conferences that you offer.”

IBC: “We offer:

Books (By Dr. Paul Tautges)

  • Delight in the Word: Biblical Counsel for Everyday Issues
  • Counsel One Another (also in Russian)
  • Counsel Your Flock (also in Russian)
  • Comfort Those Who Grieve
  • The Discipline of Mercy (Using the OT book of Lamentations in counseling)
  • Teach Them to Pray
  • Help! My Toddler Rules the House [part of counseling booklet series below]

Living in a Fallen World Discipleship Counseling Booklets (Dr. Paul Tautges, Editor)

Each 64-page gospel-driven booklet contains counseling homework, which we prefer to call Personal Application Projects. There are currently 16 titles in the series with more to come. Some have already been translated into Arabic.

  • HELP! My Spouse Has Been Unfaithful (Mike Summers)
  • HELP! I Have Breast Cancer (Brenda Frields)
  • HELP! Someone I Love has Cancer (Deborah Howard)
  • HELP! He’s Struggling with Pornography (Brian Croft)
  • HELP! She’s Struggling with Pornography (Rachel Coyle)
  • HELP! My Baby Has Died (Reggie Weems)
  • HELP! My Toddler Rules the House (Paul & Karen Tautges)
  • HELP! Someone I Love has been Abused (Jim Newheiser)
  • HELP! My Marriage Has Grown Cold (Rick Thomas)
  • HELP! I Can’t Get Motivated (Adam Embry)
  • HELP! I’m a Single Mom (Carol Trahan)
  • HELP! I’m a Slave to Food (Shannon McCoy)
  • HELP! I’m Confused about Dating (Joel James)
  • HELP! I’m Drowning in Debt (Dr. John Temple)
  • HELP! My Teen Is Gay (Ben Marshall)
  • HELP! My Teen Is Rebellious (Dave & Judi Coats)



Our church’s leadership team is currently praying and planning toward future conferences and seminars.”

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

IBC: “Please pray for the continued growth and training of more men and women in our church to serve as discipleship counselors and pray for the development of administrative staff who may help shoulder the burden carried by existing leaders.”

BCC: “How can people learn more about your church and your biblical counseling ministry?”

IBC: “People can connect with us, contact us, and learn more about our ministry and resources through the following means:

Immanuel Bible Church
2428 Superior Ave.
Sheboygan, WI 53081
email: [email protected]

BCC: “Pastor Tautges, thank you for your ministry. It has been wonderful to learn more about how your church equips the saints for the work of the ministry.”