Journey to Biblical Counseling: Interview with Randy Patten

August 17, 2013

Journey to Biblical Counseling
Paul Tautges

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Paul Tautges

BCC Staff Note: The following post was first posted at Paul Tautges’ Counseling One Another site. It is reproduced by the BCC with Paul’s permission. You can also read the original post at Paul’s site at Journey to Biblical Counseling: Interview with Randy Patten.

Journey to Biblical Counseling

Welcome to the seventh installment of our Journey to Biblical Counseling interviews with various pastors, teachers, trainers, authors, and leaders in the biblical counseling movement. What led them to biblical counseling? What were some of the influences the Lord used in their journey? These are just a few of the questions they answer. Our special guest today is Randy Patten. Randy is the Executive Director of NANC, a position he has served in since 1997.

Randy, what is your current involvement in biblical counseling?

I am the Executive Director of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, commonly known as NANC. In addition to my general oversight responsibilities, I teach at counseling and discipleship training events, speak at fifteen conferences per year, including our annual conference every October. I also supervise men and women pursuing counselor certification and work directly with men who are candidates for becoming a Fellow in NANC. My position will change on October 1st when Heath Lambert becomes the new Executive Director.

In 50 words or less, how do you define biblical counseling?

Biblical counseling is ministering the Word of God to hurting people in such a way that it helps them grow and change to become more of what God wants them to be. It is the private ministry of the Word compared to its public teaching.

How does your definition, today, differ from your thinking 5 or 10 years ago?

There has not been much change in that timeframe; however, I think it is much sharper than what it was 20-30 years ago. My answer to your previous question is essentially what I have always believed.

What people, circumstances, influences, etc. did the Holy Spirit use to move you from your former thoughts to your current convictions?

I had been a pastor for two years when it became apparent that, while I desired to help people who were hurting, I was not very effective at helping them apply God’s Word to their situations and needs. That led me to take my first course in biblical counseling, which is where—for the first time—I saw someone take the sword of the Spirit out of the sheath and use it to help someone with the problems of life and living. It was this desire to be a faithful pastor coupled with my inability that led to my pursuit of training back in 1976.

How do you view the relationship of biblical counseling to the local church?

I think they are closely related. I like the statement, “Churches ought not to start counseling ministries; they ought to be counseling ministries.” All that a church does ought to be designed to teach people how to think and act biblically in relation to the challenges of living in a sin-cursed world.

Is biblical counseling for every believer? Why or why not?

Yes, I think biblical counseling is for every believer because we all give advice, i.e. counsel, to others, though not every believer will do what we might call formal counseling. It’s like not every believer sings on the worship team or is part of the budget committee. People are gifted differently. But if we are talking about small “c” counseling then, I believe, it is for everyone. If you are a parent, spouse, or friend then the advice that you give to others about how to think and act ought to be biblical, which grows out of the historical, grammatical, and contextual understanding of the Scriptures.

If you had the power to immediately change one thing in the ‘Biblical Counseling Movement,’ what would it be?

I would like to see greater thoughtfulness, respect, and cooperation among leaders in the biblical counseling movement. I think the Biblical Counseling Coalition has helped us to get to a much better place than we were 5-6 years ago, but there is still work to be done.

If someone wants to be equipped to better serve the Lord through the ministry of counseling, what do you suggest should be their first few steps?

First, I encourage them to attend a basic course in biblical counseling conducted by NANC or one of our 47 certified training centers across the United States. Second, I would encourage them to buy and carefully read a good book on biblical counseling. Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling (40 contributors), The Christian Counselor’s Manual (Jay Adams), or Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands (Paul Tripp) are good places to begin.

Randy, do you have any other thoughts on the ministry of counseling that will benefit our readers?

These are wonderful days to be involved in biblical counseling. I am humbled and privileged to be able to do what I do in life.

Join the Conversation (Added by the BCC Staff)

How has Randy Patten ministered to you and equipped you in your life and ministry?


17 thoughts on “Journey to Biblical Counseling: Interview with Randy Patten

  1. Thank you, Randy, for your years of faithful service to the Lord, His Church, and biblical counseling. You are a great friend and an encouragement and example to me. Bob

  2. Thank you Randy for your training, encouragement, and friendship. You have been a great source of encouragement to me. I also appreciate how you have lovingly and prayerfully, but constantly, asked what was next on the radar. Most of all, thank you for seeking to use your life to make a different for the cause of Christ. Rob

  3. The year was 1984. I was a pastor who, in the wake of a devastating church split, was discouraged to the point of having written my letter of resignation. Randy, at that time a pastor from across the state, was God’s human instrument used to rescue me from that cliff and, through his skillful use of God’s Word, turn my heart back to seeking only the glory of the Wonderful Counselor.
    Thanks, Randy, for more than 30 years of friendship and fellowship in the work of Christ! Wayne

  4. Thanks Randy for paving the way for counselors in training. I have benefited greatly from the labor you put in to the ministry of Biblical Counseling. Looking forward to seeing how God will use you in the future! Blessings, Shannon

  5. I have been tremendously blessed by so many of the teachings of Randy Patten. In the course of pursuing my NANC certification, I have listened over and over to many of his CDs/mp3s from past conferences. He has such a shepherds heart in regards to counseling troubled people. I also think he has done a great job leading NANC! Thank you Randy!

  6. Thanks, Randy, for your many years of faithful service; for your exemplary life; for commitment to the Scriptures; and for your love for Christ.

  7. Randy, you have been my mentor, counselor, and personal friend. Thanks for your faithful service and example in Christ.

  8. Randy, the church and the biblical counseling community is blessed beyond measure for your life of service and love. We are so thankful for your contributions to biblical counseling and NANC, and we look forward to many more fruitful years of partnership and fellowship!

  9. Randy, I am thankful that you have allowed God to work in and through you in life and ministry. You have humbly helped me to apply God’s word towards my life and ministry. I always enjoyed the telephone calls as you passed by on your road trips. Rob

  10. Randy, I love to hear your heart and passion for biblical counseling. Over the years I’m grateful for your example, friendship and personal care. Your service to Christ, NANC and the church continues to produce fruit that remains.

  11. Randy, you have the gift of encouragement and I have benefitted from the way you have used your gift on countless occasions over the years. Thank you for your faithful ministry for God’s glory!!!

  12. Randy, you have served as a model of grace and truth for me over the years. I so appreciate your ministry and practical application of the Scriptures. May the Lord continue to prosper you, your family, and the ministry He has entrusted to you!

  13. Randy, Thanks so much for your personal interest and attention to my life and ministry, You helped me a long with certification, fellow certification, counseling center certification. I would not be where I am without your shepherding presence in my life.

  14. Randy, I still remember the Q&A workshop that you and Jay Adams led years ago. It was full of wisdom, kindness. I’m glad I finally met you and am thankful for your ministry.

  15. Randy,
    Your ministry of encouragment and your commitment to biblical counseling has been a blessing to 1,000’s. Thank you for your faithfulness. May God richly bless as you continue to minister in the cause of the Kingdom. Bob Somerville

  16. Randy, you and I have never met. But you have influenced my life and my walk through your CD’s, presentations last February in Indiana and recordings. I wish I had the personal relationship with you that the other 14 people who posted her describe. But I praise God for you, your ministry and the impact that you have had on my life.

  17. Pingback: Honoring Randy Patten

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