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Equipping Counselors for Your Church Interview

August 24, 2011

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The BCC Author Interview Q & A with Bob Kellemen 

As part of our BCC vision, we want to help you to get to know gifted Christian authors and their books. This week we’re highlighting Bob Kellemen as he shares about his new book Equipping Counselors for Your Church: The 4E Ministry Training Strategy.

BCC: “Bob, what’s the big idea behind Equipping Counselors for Your Church? What would you like readers to take away from the book?”

BK: “I had two assumptions as I wrote the book. First, pastors, counselors, and educators are passionate about equipping God’s people for every-member ministry as biblical counselors. Second, they are tired of seeing great effort expended on ‘programs’ that don’t launch, don’t last, or don’t result in leaving a legacy of loving leaders. So am I. That’s why in Equipping Counselors for Your Church I offer a biblical, field-tested, best-practice approach to equipping God’s people for biblical counseling. As a result of reading the book, readers will be able to apply to their unique setting the ‘4E’ ministry training strategy of envisioning God’s ministry, enlisting God’s ministers for ministry, equipping godly ministers, and empowering godly ministers for ministry.”

BCC: “What motivated you to write Equipping Counselors for Your Church?”

BK: “By God’s grace, I’ve had the joy of launching and leading biblical counseling equipping ministries in three very diverse churches. Then, for the past fifteen years I’ve had the privilege of teaching pastors and counselors the ‘4E’ process as a professor at Capital Bible Seminary. Additionally, for the last decade I’ve consulted with scores of churches about the launch process. In each situation, people kept saying, ‘Dr. Kellemen, you need to turn this material into a book. There’s nothing else out there like this that provides a practical map without becoming a one-size-fits-all strait-jacket.’ So, it was really pastors, church leaders, biblical counselors, and students who motivated me to write Equipping Counselors for Your Church.”

BCC: “Is the book only for equipping ‘biblical counselors,’ or is there a larger, broader focus? Who should read Equipping Counselors for Your Church?”

BK: “In my classes and consulting, I’ve had students and church leaders use these ‘4E’ principles to plant churches, to launch small group ministries, to start women’s ministries, to begin para-church organizations, and more. The comprehensive, field-tested, best practice principles fit for anyone who wants to move from any ministry launch to ongoing ministry leadership. While the focus is on ‘biblical counseling,’ the broader emphasis is on equipping for one-another ministry so that every member is not only a minister, but a disciple-maker. Anyone interested in applying the 2 Timothy 2:2 process in their ministry would be the right ‘audience’ for the book.”

BCC: “You note that in one sense you did not write this book alone, but with twenty-four best practice church partners. Tell us about how these two dozen leading churches impacted the book.”

BK: “I’m convinced that no one person can possibly outline a comprehensive approach to church equipping. So, I enlisted twenty-four friends to share their insights—in a multitude of counselors there is great wisdom. Among these two dozen churches are ‘mega-churches,’ ‘average size churches,’ and ‘small churches.’ There are churches that are predominantly Caucasian, African American, Asian American, and multi-cultural churches. I included urban, suburban, and rural churches. In every chapter I weave in their diverse insights that provide readers with a robust, relational GPS. In this way each church can apply the ‘4E’ principles in a way that uniquely fits their specific calling in their particular congregation and community.”

BCC: “You’re not writing out of academic theory, but out of real-life pastoral experience. How has your experience equipping believers in three churches impacted your writing of the book?”

BK: “Mainly I’m seeking to help readers not to make the same mistakes I made! For example, my first church was a ‘mega-church’ of over 3,000 in an urban setting with a long history of extensive equipping ministries. My second church was a smaller rural church with little history of equipping the laity. Initially I made the huge rookie mistake of trying to plop down the ‘mega-church’ model on my second church. I quickly had to backpedal. That’s why in the book I teach ‘relational change management and biblical conflict resolution.’ Big picture—this is not a pie-in-the-sky book. I know personally the struggles and joys, the downs and ups of launching and leading equipping ministries—in three very different churches. I’m trying to share that ‘wisdom’ with my readers.”

BCC: “Big picture: what are the ‘4Es’ and could you briefly summarize what happens if any one of them is neglected?”

BK: “God ‘wired’ my brain with a focus on being comprehensive and ‘both/and.’ I’ve found how important this is when launching and leading biblical counseling ministries. In fact, in my consulting, I’m often asked to help churches to re-launch their ministries because something just didn’t ‘take.’ Once we start interacting, inevitably we discover that at least one of the 4Es was missing or minimized. Those 4Es are: 1.) Envisioning God’s Ministry: Jointly creating mission, vision, passion, and commission (MVP-C) statements that nourish the compassion, conviction, and connection needed to launch flourishing biblical counseling ministries. 2.) Enlisting God’s Ministers for Ministry: Mobilizing ministers by nurturing a family and building a team prepared for change, skilled in conflict resolution, and connected to the MVP-C Statement. 3.) Equipping Godly Ministers for Ministry: Applying transformational training strategies that comprehensively address the “4Cs”: biblical content, Christ-like character, counseling competence, and Christian community. 4.) Empowering Godly Ministers for Ministry: Overseeing the ongoing ‘organizing of the organism’ by leading ministries that are built to last, that grow from good to great, and that leave a legacy of loving leaders.”

BCC: Equipping Counselors for Your Church has a built-in discussion-application guide. How do you envision churches using the book?”

BK: “I like to say, ‘This is not your father’s equipping manual!’ Past approaches tend to be too academic (not written from the ‘trenches’ of real-life ministry), too uniformed (not written with the realization that every church and community is unique), and too ‘secular’ (not written from a biblical theology of equipping). Thus, I envision churches using Equipping Counselors for Your Church as a workbook that a ministry leadership team walks through together. Launching and leading ministries is a relational process that God’s people share in a collegial way. The discussion-application guide helps ministry teams to interact in relational, practical ways so that they experience one-another community as they launch a one-another ministry.”

BCC: Equipping Counselors for Your Church has an extensive Appendix with dozens of practical, user-friendly resources. Introduce our listeners to some of those resources.”

BK: “People who have reviewed and recommended the book have made the proverbial comment more than once, ‘The Appendix is worth the price of the book!’ It is extensive: over 125 pages! It is practical: sample Mission-Vision-Passion-Commission Statements, sample Congregational Analysis Forms, sample Informed Consent Forms, sample Confidentiality Statements, sample Church Discipline Statements, and much more. While I’m convinced that every church must apply biblical equipping principles to their unique setting, I’m also convinced that there’s no reason to ‘reinvent the wheel.’ The extensive Appendix provides ministry leaders with the head start that I wish I had in my three church equipping ministries.”

BCC: “How can people learn more about Equipping Counselors for Your Church?”

BK: “They can visit P & R Publishing. They can order the book at all the typical online sites such as Amazon and CBD. They can download a free sample chapter, read reviews and recommendations, they can download materials from the Appendix (after the book is released in September 2011), and they can order the book at my ministry site: RPM Ministries.”

BCC: “Thanks, Bob, for introducing our readers to this comprehensive resource for everyone committed to equipping biblical counselors.” 

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