BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the seventh in a multi-part BCC Grace & Truth blog series on Biblical Counseling Education and Equipping. These posts are written by leading biblical counseling equippers/educators. In today’s post, Kevin Carson of Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary shares about Go Global: An Update from Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary.
As graduation concluded, the vice president of academics at Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary (BBC/TS) in Springfield, Missouri, looked at the graduating class and pronounced with a pause, “Start here…” In unison the class responded, “Go global.”
With these words the inaugural year of the Bachelor of Science in Biblical Counseling came to a close. Although still too early for the first biblical counseling graduate, many graduated with a minor in biblical counseling. God continues to bless the introduction of biblical counseling to the undergraduate college.
The theological seminary has offered a master’s degree in biblical counseling since 1999. This year celebrates fifteen years. The master’s degree represents two priorities: a commitment to knowing the Bible and understanding how to help people through counseling ministry.
The Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling
The MABC degree is robust in its compilation. Regarding biblical knowledge, the student takes fifteen hours of theology, eleven hours of exegetical courses, six hours of practical theology, and a research course. The counseling component combines eleven hours of counseling theory with eleven hours of counseling methods and ten hours of counseling skills.
This program continues to send students who effectively and immediately make a valuable contribution in their new ministry locations. Classes are offered through traditional residency, as well as a hybrid system of distance education and modular classes.
Bachelor of Science in Biblical Counseling
This new degree responds to prospective students, missionaries, and pastors who, over the past several years, have asked if BBC could offer an undergraduate degree in biblical counseling. The bachelor’s degree in biblical counseling is part of the division of ministry studies. At its core, this degree shares the backbone of the pastoral ministry degree. In addition to general studies, students learn systematic theology, pastoral /practical theology, biblical languages and hermeneutics, history, and missions—in addition to biblical counseling.
Tim Michalak, one of the new students in this degree program, commented, “I chose this degree because I want to effectively counsel people from God’s Word to live life for His glory in the midst of tough circumstances.”
The degree helps the student develop four key areas: personal character, counseling content, counseling skills, and understanding the unique ministry context. Paul observed these same qualities in the Roman believers, “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (Romans15:14).
Regarding personal character development, the program is designed to encourage personal growth toward Christlikeness for God’s honor in preparation for counseling others. Students will demonstrate the skills necessary for life-long growth toward Christlikeness by learning how to identify the need for personal self-counsel, and then implement it.
It is not uncommon to hear students crediting biblical counseling courses for significant “Ah-hah!” moments of spiritual growth. This year’s class speaker, Ike Porter, commented in his speech, “Taking a biblical counseling class is when I finally got it.”
In relationship to classroom coursework, the student learns a basic knowledge of biblical counseling content. The program seeks to help the counselor to understand the counselee in a particular situation with respect to God and others.
- Understanding God: Basic theological foundations, the place and importance of the local church in counseling, the purpose and plan of God, the sufficiency of Christ and the Scriptures, the power and work of the Holy Spirit in change, and a biblical philosophy of ministry.
- Understanding the Person: Heart/inner man issues, motivation, interpersonal communication, problem solving.
- Understanding the Situation: Key areas of suffering such as medical issues and abuse; key areas of sin such as fear, worry, anxiety, bitterness, anger, and moral impurity; key relationships such as marriage, parenting, and the workplace.
Pertaining to counseling skills, the student learns ministry as it relates to the aspects of the local church.
- Key Elements of Biblical Counseling: Data gathering, discerning the problem, gaining involvement, providing biblical instruction, giving hope, discipleship, and personal accountability.
- Comparison of Counseling Theories and Methods.
- Recognizing the Mandate and Ability to Counsel in a Cross-cultural Context: Including ethnic, socio-economic, and educational differences.
- Observing and Engaging in Supervised Biblical Counseling.
This new biblical counseling degree continues to demonstrate the commitment of Baptist Bible College to educate and train effective, Christ-like leaders for ministry in a global context.
Counseling Certification and Partnerships
The counseling department of BBC/TS enjoys certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselor (ACBC). Seminary graduates pass ACBC certification as part of graduation requirements. Undergraduate students fulfill all the educational requirements for certification. ACBC Fellow Bill Piatt mentors students through the certification process. The department is also an organizational partner with the Biblical Counseling Coalition.
Unity of Faculty and Instruction
Although seminary faculty teaches in a variety of fields, all faculty have received training in biblical counseling. The faculty both formally and functionally teaches the sufficiency of Christ (2 Peter 1:1-11) and the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Students benefit from the unity among the faculty regardless of discipline. Furthermore, the faculty either currently serves or has served many years in the local church. All male faculty have served as pastors of churches, many of which they planted.
Undergraduate biblical counseling students learn from an experienced and qualified faculty. Program faculty shares the following characteristics:
- Years of experience in formal biblical counseling
- Years of experience in biblical counseling training
- Accredited degrees in the field
- Ongoing involvement in local church counseling ministry
- Maintains personal, professional, academic and spiritual accountability
Benefits of Training
Both the master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biblical counseling prepare students who are able to counsel individuals, couples, and families in a congregational, counseling center, or missions setting. The degrees are designed for staff members and other church leaders who seek to minister from the framework of a biblical counseling model. This degree may be the perfect fit for both men and women who desire to serve the local church in a variety of contexts as pastors, associate pastors, missionaries, counselors, and volunteers.
Students of the master’s or bachelor’s degrees, as well as the minor in biblical counseling, learn how to apply biblical wisdom consistent with the authorial intent of the Scriptures to life’s varied problems in living life in a broken world. Students can help individuals both through formal and informal counseling grow to become more like Christ while helping make sense of the complexities of life.
Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary is dually accredited with the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), as well as the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of The North Central Association.
As the department chair of biblical counseling, it is my joy to come alongside the other qualified faculty of our institution to teach and model personal ministry that both grows the individual student and enables him or her to go out and serve others. You enter to learn and go forth to serve.
Join the Conversation
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