The NANC Leadership Transition, Part Three: A BCC Interview with Steve Viars

October 24, 2012

Steve Viars

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The NANC Leadership Transition Series - Viars

BCC Staff Note: At the 2012 NANC Biblical Counseling Conference, the Board of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) announced that they had voted unanimously to elect Heath Lambert as the next Executive Director of NANC. They also announced a three-year transition plan with current NANC Executive Director, Randy Patten. To read more about the announcement please read our BCC post Dr. Heath Lambert Named New NANC Executive Director.

In this BCC three-part Grace & Truth blog mini-series, we will be interviewing Heath Lambert, Randy Patten, and Steve Viars (who served as the Chair of the Transition Committee). Today in Part Three, we interview Steve Viars. For Part One, read our BCC Interview with Heath Lambert. For Part Two, read our BCC Interview with Randy Patten.

BCC: “Steve, before we ask you about the NANC leadership transition, could you please tell our readers about yourself, your background/training/experience, and also about your family?”

SV: “My wife Kris and I just celebrated thirty years of marriage and we have been blessed with three wonderful children. I am completing my twenty-fifth year at Faith Church which I currently serve as Senior Pastor. Those two statistics alone are an incredible demonstration of the grace of God and the patience of the Lord’s people. As far as training, I hold a BS in Bible from BBC in Clarks Summit, PA, an M.Div. from Grace Seminary in Indiana, and a D.Min. in Biblical Counseling from Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.”

BCC: “Steve, as we understand it, you experienced an extended leadership transition like this when you moved into your current role as Sr. Pastor at Faith Church. What did you learn from that? What are the benefits of an extended leadership transition?”

SV: “There is no success without a successor. Wise ministers and ministries think early and often about succession planning. In my case, I learned about the power of the gospel in allowing sin-cursed people to communicate biblically and literally trade places in ministry while still remaining friends and co-workers.”

BCC: “How do you see the NANC Executive Director transition working? What are some of the details of the transition plan?”

SV: “Heath will serve as the Executive Director Elect this year which will allow him to bring his skills and perspective to the team part-time immediately while simultaneously learning everything he can from Randy’s years of expertise and fruitful ministry. In the second and third years, Heath will serve as the Executive Director and Randy will become NANC’s Director of Training and Advancement. We see this as a powerful collaboration and an exciting team approach to ministry.”

BCC: “We’re confident that the NANC board was very thorough in this search process. What qualifications were you looking for in an Executive Director candidate?”

SV: “In addition to the character and giftedness requirements outlined in Scripture, we wanted a person who possesses a deep commitment to the foundational presuppositions of biblical counseling along with the training and ability to communicate these ideals across many age, gender, and denominational lines.”

BCC: “What does Heath Lambert ‘bring to the table’ that so well qualifies him for this new role?”

SV: “Heath is a rising young leader who has already been used of the Lord to advance the biblical counseling conversation and movement. He is a respected man who is uniquely qualified to serve not just NANC, but the entire biblical counseling family.”

BCC: “Someone says to you, ‘What’s NANC?’ If you had just sixty seconds, or just a paragraph, to answer, what would you say?”

SV: “NANC exists to promote excellence in biblical counseling. We offer comradery, coaching, and certification for those men and women seeking to grow in their counseling skills.”

BCC: “We know that Randy is too humble a man of God to be talking about his NANC legacy, so we’d like to ask you to ‘talk for him.’ What legacy is Randy leaving through his years of faithful, effective ministry as the NANC Executive Director?”

SV: “Randy Patten is a pastor’s pastor. He loves the Lord, His Word, and His church. He has been used of God to strengthen NANC as an organization and expand our influence on men and women around the world who want to use counseling as an effective means of local church outreach and discipleship.”

BCC: “As the VP of the NANC Board, what is your vision for NANC in the next decade?”

SV: “I see NANC as being uniquely poised to build on our wise leadership from the past with fresh vision, ideas, and methods from the next generation of biblical counselors. We hope to serve alongside other fine biblical counseling organizations as we seek to develop together the doctrines of progressive sanctification and the sufficiency of Scripture in a way that is gospel-centered and focused on the beauty and wisdom of our Savior.”

BCC: “What do you see as the relationship between NANC and the BCC? Also, how can the BCC support and encourage you, Heath, Randy, and NANC in the years ahead?”

SV: “NANC was instrumental in starting the BCC because we want to take a leadership role in promoting unity and collegiality in the biblical counseling world. We see the BCC as a unifying umbrella which includes certifying and training organizations like NANC. The BCC serves as the mechanism and catalyst by which NANC joyfully and humbly relates to others in the movement.”

BCC: “Steve, is there anything else that you would like to share with our Biblical Counseling Coalition readers?”

SV: “We would appreciate prayers as we seek to accomplish this transition in a way that honors the Lord. These are exciting days to be part of the biblical counseling movement and we look forward to seeing how our God blesses both NANC and the BCC in the days ahead.”

BCC: “Thank you, Steve. We’re excited to see what God will continue to do through NANC. We commit to praying for you, Randy, Heath, and the board during these days of leadership transition.”

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