BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part Three of a four-part Grace & Truth mini-series about the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s 2013 Leadership Retreat. Many have said that they wish they could be a “fly on the wall” just to listen in on the conversation between four dozen biblical counseling leaders. This four-part series is one attempt to invite you in and give you a glimpse of our time together. You can read Part One by Mark Shaw: Literally Life-Changing: The Biblical Counseling Coalition 2013 Leadership Retreat and Part Two by Betty-Anne Van Rees: Building the Church Together.
It Was a First for Me
When I was asked to write a blog post in regards to my recent experience at the 2013 Biblical Counseling Coalition Leadership Retreat, it was a first for me in many ways. This is the first blog post I’ve ever written. I tend to find my greatest joy and confidence in sermon preparation and teaching, and not in writing for publication. It was also my first time that I’d ever been to the WinShape retreat center. And it was a first to be around a variety of men and women representing the biblical counseling movement from various backgrounds and perspectives.
Personally, I am not a fan of change and first time encounters. In fact it is really uncomfortable. What will I say? What will they say? What will others think of me attending the conference? What if we are poles apart and we can’t find anything in common? Those are the kinds of things that were going through my mind as I was preparing to attend the BCC leadership retreat. However, as I soon discovered, God had other thoughts on His mind.
I Took the Step and I’m Glad I Did
So, this year for the first time I pressed forward and stepped out of my familiar and comfortable environment and made my way to the 2013 BCC Leadership Retreat at WinShape. And immediately I began to discover how God was using this retreat in my life to provide just what He knew I needed most. Let me highlight a few of those blessings that I walked away with from the retreat.
- WinShape … What a place! I have had the privilege to stay in some great places, but WinShape was right at the top of the list! The atmosphere, accommodations, and most of all the incredible service of the staff was so refreshing. They may not know it, but God used that place and their service to me to begin to settle me as it provided a quiet place for fellowship and interaction with others.
- Meal Times … At each meal, I would intentionally sit with various folks. I truly wanted to get to know them and find out who they were and what matters most to them. And time after time there was a resonating story around those tables of God’s redeeming work in their lives through Christ and His Word. As I listened, my heart was stirred as I heard how God had called them to Himself and how He had used His Word to transform their lives, and as a result had called them to make Him known to others.
- The Panels & Equipping Times … As we met for the various discussions and equipping times, God used this to encourage and challenge me to think way beyond the boundaries in which I had become so comfortable. It was refreshing to hear how each person, committed to Christ and His sufficient and transforming Word, had been used by God in various outreaches and counseling movements to see people changed for God’s glory. As a pastor I gleaned some rich treasures from those who shared practically on how they made the preaching and counseling of God’s Word personal and practical in their ministries. Having time to ask questions and interact during those times was a unique privilege. I’m still feasting on some of those moments!
- Small Group Meetings … The small group times were probably the highlight of my time. As we gathered together as fellow pastors who were all committed to Christ and the Word, I further realized how much we have in common in the work of our pastoring and biblical counseling. No doubt we all came from various sizes of churches and styles of ministry, but we all found common joy and unity in those things that are essential in ministry committed to biblical counseling.
As I wrap up this blog post, I’m sure there are others in the biblical counseling movement who have similar ways of thinking. I hope that from what you’ve read you would be willing to consider how God may be challenging you to think more broadly about your fellowship and interaction with other brothers and sisters in the biblical counseling movement. They may come from a different background and way of doing ministry, but they do share the same common core values and commitments that you do. I think the willingness to take that step is well worth the fruit it could bring to the unity and cohesiveness of the biblical counseling movement.
Join the Conversation
I’d love to hear your thoughts, even your concerns, on what you think about working with and developing a greater unity through opportunities to fellowship with and interact with others in the biblical counseling movement.