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The BCC Weekend Interview Series: Jubilee Pastoral Counseling

May 24, 2014

Ministry Interview Series--Jubilee Pastoral Care
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Ministry Interview Series--Jubilee Pastoral Care

BCC Staff: As part of our BCC vision, we want to point you to the best of the best in robust, relational, biblical counseling. Periodically we’re posting (and then making available as an ongoing resource) interviews with churches, para-church groups, educational institutions, and individuals committed to biblical counseling. You can find links to all of our interviews here.

Jubilee Pastoral Care

Today we’re pleased to connect with Kyle Johnston of Jubilee Pastoral Care in Cape Town, South Africa.

BCC: “Pastor Johnston, please tell our readers about your biblical counseling ministry mission and vision.”

KJ: “Our biblical counselling ministry is Jubilee Pastoral Care—the care wing of Jubilee Community Church. Our vision is to restore lives through Gospel caring and equipping.

BCC: “What is the history of your biblical counseling ministry—tell us your story?”

KJ: “A number of years ago the elders of Jubilee desired to develop a more explicit and formalized approach to Gospel-centered care and counselling. This led to training initiatives and counselor development at a senior leadership level. Paul Tripp visited Cape Town in 2008 and had a big impact! Much of the material we used was produced by CCEF, in fact, we still use many of their resources.

In 2012, training was extended to all Small Group Leaders—and we now provide a 10-hour Pastoral Care Training program for all those in Jubilee who have a pastoral leadership role. In 2013 we introduced Redemption Groups to Jubilee—and have seen God bless them and lives change through them.

This year, 2014, we’ve added to these existing caring and equipping initiatives by selecting a small number of gifted pastoral caregivers to go through some online training with the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD) with the hope that some will go on to get certified with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). So, from the elders outward, we’re now seeing hundreds of folk being cared for and equipped from a Gospel-centered perspective.”

BCC: “How do you pursue being a church of biblical counseling where sufficiency of Scripture, progressive sanctification, one-another ministry, etc. saturate your congregation?”

KJ: “In many ways! I’ll mention just two: intentional language and emphasizing the Spirit.

Firstly, we intentionally use the phrase ‘pastoral care’ rather than ‘biblical counselling’ because we believe that God has called all Christians to care for each other with the Gospel. Gospel caring is not reserved for the elite, and the word ‘counselling’ in our context is often linked to the idea of professional therapy. Therefore, through intentionally communicating that we need to be a church of discipleship and care, we are trying to help our members see that restoring lives through Gospel caring and equipping is the privilege and responsibility of all Christians.

Secondly, through clear and emphatic teaching on the role of the Spirit in restoring lives, we hope to help our members see that the Spirit is already powerfully at work in us. The Spirit is not our instrument in restoring lives, rather we are His instruments—and we simply join Him in His work. This is liberating for all those seeking to care for others—we are prayerfully joining the Spirit in His work of restoring hearts and lives.

BCC: “How do you pursue being a church with biblical counseling where you further equip those who sense a special calling and commitment to formal biblical counseling training/ministry?”

KJ: “As mentioned above, we’ve selected a smaller number of folk to get further training with IBCD and ACBC. I have also completed a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC) with The Master’s College and I am hoping that we might have a few others pursue an MABC in the years ahead. We subscribe to the Journal of Biblical Counseling and are a partner with the Biblical Counseling Coalition, so these resources are available to our pastoral team and these enable us to keep current with some of the best writing and scholarship available.”

BCC: “What is your succinct definition of biblical counseling?”

KJ: “Restoring lives, through Gospel caring and equipping, with wisdom and grace, in the power of the Spirit.”

BCC: “How has your biblical counseling ministry impacted your church and community?”

KJ: “In many ways! I’ll mention two: wisdom and transparency.

I think we’ve grown wiser at connecting God’s Word to the details of our hearts and lives. We’re experiencing the power of His Word in the messy details of everyday life and struggle. So I think we’re getting more practical with His Word.

Secondly, I think we’re growing in transparency as we talk amongst ourselves about our ongoing struggles with idolatry and suffering. Being focused on grace also helps us be hopeful in our honesty: We all know that we’re works in progress; that God is going to finish what He has started in our souls.”

BCC: “What counsel would you give churches just starting to think about launching a biblical counseling equipping ministry in their church?”

KJ: “Pray for your elders! Their wisdom has made this a smooth journey for us at Jubilee Community Church. If you’re an elder, pray for wisdom!

Also, take advantage of the many excellent resources available. My recommended book list for those getting started: Equipping Counselors for Your Church by Bob Kellemen; Seeing with New Eyes by David Powlison; How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp; Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp; and Counseling the Hard Cases by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert. Explore the Biblical Counseling Coalition website for many other excellent resources and book reviews and recommendations.”

BCC: “Kyle, tell us about any resources (books, pamphlets, audio/video, book reviews, articles, journals, blogs) or seminars/conferences that you offer (either upcoming or annually).”

KJ: “You can check out the resource page on Jubilee’s website for material we produce. I also write blog posts and share material with the Biblical Counseling Coalition, anyone is welcome to use those resources for their own ministry and counselling.”

BCC: “How can people be praying for your biblical counseling ministry?”

KJ: “Please pray for wisdom! We want to rely on God completely and care for His people wisely. Wise care is particularly difficult as we are a diverse community—culturally, economically, and educationally. We also want to get better at engaging our city and its therapeutic culture. So please pray for those things – and, finally, please pray for our caring and equipping programs, that God would restore lives, through His Gospel, by His Spirit.”

BCC: “Pastor Kyle, is there anything else you would like to our readers to know about your ministry?”

KJ: “We see biblical counselling as a natural ministry implication of the Gospel. We also see it as a strategic missional opportunity to engage our therapeutic culture. So please pray for us: that God would give us wisdom and be with us, as we seek to winsomely engage both Christians and non-Christians with the truth and grace of the Gospel.”

BCC: “How can people connect with you and learn more about your ministry?”

KJ: “People can contact us and learn more about us through:

Jubilee Community Church meets at 21 Nelson Road, in Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa. Telephone: +27 21 447 3630. Our website is: www.jubilee.org.za and you’re welcome to email me, Kyle Johnston, at [email protected].