Every year The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) hosts their national conference on biblical counseling. This year the conference will be held in Montgomery, Alabama at East Memorial Baptist Church from October 7-9, 2013. The conference is entitled Marriage: Keeping Covenant in a Corrupt Culture. The BCC reached out to interview Heath Lambert, NANC’s executive director (beginning October 1), about the conference.
BCC: “Every year, NANC hosts a national conference on biblical counseling with a different theme. Why did you choose marriage as the topic of this year’s conference?”
HL: “There are two reasons for a marriage theme this year. The first reason has to do with the developments in the culture. Every Christian sees all the manifold ways that the institution of marriage is under attack in our secular culture. We wanted to spread salt and light in the midst of the decay and darkness by taking a faithful look at marriage.
“The second reason has to do with counseling. Everyone in counseling knows that married people are a massive demographic seeking counseling help. That means that we must excel in marriage counseling if we want to stand against the tide of this corrupt culture and offer real help to people. The concern over the culture is, therefore, a general issue. The concern over counseling is the particular issue. When counseling is occurring we’re actually not as much concerned about what is happening in the culture as we are about what is happening in this marriage. At NANC we are concerned to equip people to do faithful biblical counseling with people pursuing marriage in the midst of a corrupt culture.”
BCC: “Who will be speaking at the conference and what will they be talking about?”
HL: “We typically have six plenary speakers, but this year we will only have five because one of our general sessions will be a service commemorating the transition in leadership at NANC from Randy Patten to myself.
Dr. John Street is the chairman of the biblical counseling program at The Master’s College. He will be addressing us on how to do effective marriage counseling throughout the different stages of marriage.
Dr. Don Whitney is the Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He will speak on the issue of growing close to Jesus in marriage.
Dr. Owen Strachan is the executive director of The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and will be sharing what complementarian marriage looks like.
Dr. Charles Ware is the president of Crossroads Bible College. He will be addressing us on the topic of doing counseling with interracial and multicultural marriages.
Finally, I will be speaking on the topic of how to help with the most serious problem in marriage counseling.
In addition to these speakers, attendees at the conference will also hear messages from Drs. Steve Viars, Stuart Scott, and David Powlison during the transition service.”
BCC: “It is wonderful that you have invited Dr. Whitney from Southern Seminary, and Dr. Strachan from CBMW to speak at your biblical counseling conference? Drs. Whitney and Strachan do not have biblical counseling ministries, yet they bring a unique biblical perspective to marriage. Share with us a little more on their focus on marriage at the conference.”
HL: “Drs. Whitney and Strachan share many of the same commitments that we do in biblical counseling so it is a good fit in general. In particular there are specific reasons why they are each coming.
Dr. Whitney is the preeminent evangelical scholar on the spiritual disciplines. One of the most important things couples need to do (and that counselors need to help them with) is to learn how to use their marriage to grow closer to Jesus. I am thrilled that Dr. Whitney will be present to help us think about this important matter.
Dr. Strachan leads one of the major evangelical organization that is committed to helping the church think through issues of gender. Actually CBMW and NANC have a lot in common as we are each committed to fostering biblical relationships in the home in one way or the other. I am excited about NANC taking a stand with CBMW to show what it means to live out biblical gender roles in the home.”
BCC: “Who else will be speaking at the NANC conference this year?”
HL: “Beyond the general sessions, we also have 80 breakout sessions by almost every leader in biblical counseling on a range of topics from domestic violence to ministry in the aftermath of a miscarriage. It is a remarkable opportunity for attendees to learn about a host of issues from a remarkable list of people. The list of speakers with bios can be found here.”
BCC: “What else would you like to share with our readers about the conference?”
HL: “I really want to encourage people to attend. Of all the NANC conference in recent years this is one that you don’t want to miss. We have a number of surprises and encouraging announcements to make that we believe will make folks very excited about NANC. You will be glad you came!”
BCC: “Heath, where can our readers learn more about this year’s conference?”