Personal Reflections on the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Leadership Retreat

December 27, 2012

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Jonathan Holmes

2012 Biblical Counseling Coalition Leadership

BCC Staff: You are reading the second in a series of posts about the recent Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Leadership Retreat. To read Part One, visit Biblical Counseling Coalition Retreat Testimonial by Pat Quinn.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual Biblical Counseling Coalition Leadership Retreat outside of Atlanta. Coming back from something of this nature almost requires a personal retreat from the retreat as you process through what was taught, shared, and discussed. As I’ve sought to think through and categorize some of my experiences, I hope that by sharing this testimony those not in attendance will be similarly encouraged as I have been as to what God is doing in the biblical counseling movement.

Humbled & Thankful

The first evening of the retreat, David Powlison shared from his heart his passion for the quality of the care we give in biblical counseling. For a great re-cap of what was shared, visit and read Paul Tautges’ blog post here. One of the comments made in passing by Dr. Powlison was an anecdote from Augustine. When asked what the three defining characteristics of the Christian life were, Augustine replied that the first mark was humility, the second mark was humility, and the third mark was humility. As one of youngest members of the BCC council, I was truly humbled to be a part of the retreat and to be able to contribute alongside some of my spiritual mentors and heroes in counseling. Several times throughout the retreat I found myself deeply humbled that I was blessed to be able to participate at such an exciting time in the counseling movement.

Throughout the two-day retreat, much was discussed, mulled over, prayed over, and thought through. To the casual observer, I do believe they would have seen a room full of men and women humbly seeking and pursuing Christ. Egos and personal hobby-horses were not evident, but rather humble, gospel-centered and engaging discourse was the mark of the discussions.

Excited & Amazed

As someone very much within the third (or even fourth) generation of biblical counseling, I find myself excited and amazed about all that God has done and is doing for His glory in this movement. As a student I grew up reading and studying from men like Jay Adams, Wayne Mack, David Powlison, and John Bettler. Now to be a part of that movement that is seeking to promote personal change centered on the Person of Christ through the personal ministry of the Word is truly exciting and amazing.

Coming out of this year’s retreat there were several things I’m excited about:

1. The collaborative relationships being developed and nurtured through the BCC. It’s often said that there’s no need to re-invent the wheel, and in many ways this applies to issues in counseling. What a joy to learn from each other’s best practices, resources, and counseling methodology. Not only does it help us sharpen each other, it also helps us to be wise counselors.

2. The constructive dialogue being facilitated and shaped through the BCC. Whether it was discussions on sharpening our definition and communication of key doctrines like the sufficiency of Scripture, or self-evaluation of the quality of our care, the dialogue that is happening on a wide variety of issues that relate to counseling will well-serve the wider biblical counseling community.

3. The Christ-centered emphasis being proclaimed and promoted through the BCC. Throughout the past few decades, several caricatures of biblical counseling have been made from those outside the movement as well as those from within the movement. While some have surely been made from personal interactions and observations, others have been unfortunately perpetuated from those who did not have a correct view of the biblical counseling movement. As the biblical counseling movement continues to grow and develop, I’m excited that our foundational commitments as a movement continue to remain true to the gospel and to maintaining a primary focus on the Person and work of Jesus Christ as the power to change and transform lives.

That’s something all of us together who are invested and interested in biblical counseling can be excited about!

Join the Conversation (Added by the BCC Staff)

As you “listen in” on Jonathan’s experience of this year’s leadership retreat, what are you most excited about in the biblical counseling world?