4 Visions for the Biblical Counseling Movement

August 25, 2014

4 Visions for the Biblical Counseling Movement
Garrett Higbee

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Garrett Higbee

4 Visions for the Biblical Counseling Movement

Some of you may know that I am now on staff for the Biblical Counseling Coalition as the Assistant Executive Director and that I will be assuming the Executive Director role in 2015. This is a 50%-time role, as I will continue working at Harvest Bible Chapel overseeing the counseling ministry there. Harvest has been very generous with support in every way to help us accomplish the mission of the BCC and will continue to do so.

Building on a Faithful Foundation

I want to start by acknowledging Bob Kellemen who has done a wonderful job of building a foundation for the BCC by developing an accepting relational environment and robust resources thus far. While I plan to build on this foundation, I know he and the board want to press forward with new ideas and initiatives.

As I take the role of Executive Director, I plan to build on this faithful foundation with four priorities. I am a fan of easy to remember and compelling words that will tell the story of who we are and where we are going. The four words I chose to describe the vision for the BCC for the next season are:

  • Relationships
  • Resources
  • Replication
  • Reach

So, let me tell you how each of these priorities will be the focus of my leadership in the coming months and how, God willing, they will the focus of all of you who help us build this ministry in the years to come.

Relationships

The BCC has been about relationships from its inception. I was fortunate enough to be part of the original meetings when this ministry was still just a dream. I remember meeting with BC leaders over ten years ago to discuss how we could work together better.

But what really sticks out is when Jay Adams threw down the gauntlet at the National NANC Conference in 2009. Dr. Adams challenged the future generation of BC leaders to pick up leadership and take the movement to new heights. That very week a group of us met to discuss the inception of a collaborative ministry that focused on defining who we were and how we could be better together.

The BCC vision was cast.

We focused on creating bridges between BC leaders, churches, para-church agencies, and educational institutions by gathering major leaders to see how we could work together. Those formative meetings took place over the next year. We listened long, we debated a bit, and we agreed a lot about what we all stood for. Almost everyone got closer as friends, colleagues, and co-ministers. We went on to develop a board of directors and a council board of gifted BC leaders from around the country.

This culminated in an annual retreat that is attended by over forty BC leaders each year. I am so excited to continue in this tradition and take us even deeper in a complimentary direction.

For 2015, I have three specific goals for furthering relationships in the BC leadership circles:

  1. Find out what unique value each individual ministry brings to the BC table.
  1. Find out how we can support each other personally and missionally.
  1. Create more opportunities for key leaders to talk and build collaborative vision.

Resources

The BCC is first a megaphone for other BC ministries. Yet we also produce our own resources that in turn point people back to those individual ministries. For instance, we have now worked together on three major BC books co-written by various BC leaders.

We also have a well-visited, robust website that provides excellent blogs, book reviews, and countless equipping opportunities. While these are great things that we will continue, the BCC also needs to refine its unique value to the BC movement.

We should continue to think about new collaborative writing projects, blog series, and possibly adding a “BC World Conference,” where we tackle larger issues relevant to all who are a part of this movement. I can see this being a win/win for everyone involved.

It’s important to note that Bob Kellemen will assume the role of Resource Director beginning in 2015. He and our board have plans to develop a topical set of books by well-seasoned counselors working together in the near future. As we go forward, I see our goals in the area of resource development focused mainly on creating unique materials and opportunities that could not be offered by a single leader or BC organization alone.

Replication

The BCC will continue to help leaders to multiply their influence and to reproduce their best skills, tools, and resources. We want to help BC leaders grow individually and we desire for BC organizations everywhere to thrive. In terms of replication, I see two emphases here:

  1. The leader and his/her unique thing they bring to the movement. On an individual basis we need to grow in our ability to consult, coach, and counsel those making an impact. We hope to pair up mentors with next generation leaders and create contacts for leader development.
  1. As far as the gifts or contributions others can bring to the BC table, we want to provide a broader platform to multiply their influence. How do we take the best practices of each organization and develop a way to feature and applaud it rather than reinventing the wheel in various places? Replication is doing more of what we do best and doing less to compete where others bring more value.

Finally, we hope to take this movement international. Where do we help other countries to structure a BC movement in and among their churches and seminaries? Again, our priority in 2015 will be to find ways to help leaders in the BC movement become the best they can be and multiply the things they do best, both at home and abroad.

Reach

This may be the most controversial of the four priorities, but I also think it is the most courageous. It would be easy to hide behind the progress we have made so far as a movement. It would be easy not to press into new territories or not tackle tough issues that sometimes stir up controversy. I see those things as less than what the BCC is committed to. I think it is less than what God would expect of those committed to change and grow in grace and truth.

We have been careful in the last four years to build unity but never with uniformity as the goal. As we mature, our tolerance for differences over style and preference should also grow. I think we are seeing we have built a solid core, but we have some differences on peripheral issues.

For instance, we might disagree even among our council board on whether someone who holds a biblical worldview should pursue mental health licensure. Some members might wonder how others could associate with someone and even have them speak at a conference while they share some differences in philosophy and practice. To broaden our reach we need to understand that association does not always mean agreement and certainly not automatic endorsement.

Is it possible to agree to disagree but invite some who we recognize as Christian counselors to the table of healthy dialogue or debate? Is it wrong to go winsomely into unreached seminaries and churches to engage them and see how we could work together? Will we think the best of each other while trying to increase our influence and reach outside our established boundaries?

Our goal will be to bring assurance to our core constituents that we will not compromise our convictions, but at the same time open the conversation to those outside our circles who are willing to engage us in reasonable and open ways.

It is time to move forward and away from “a guarded” and a “what-we-might-lose” approach, to a “generous” and a “sharing what we have” approach. I for one would have never gotten here without the generosity of BC leaders who lovingly challenged my thinking and courageously associated with a psychologist who wanted to learn.

God-Sized Goals

You can see these are God-sized goals requiring His favor and provision! They will call us to rise up in unity and require the courage to step into new areas we are not always competent or comfortable in. They call for collective prayer, humility, love, and a boldness that overcomes fear or small thinking.

There is much to do and countless thousands who are not being reached by biblical counseling. They need what we have. We have the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and we are the people of God, for such a time as this in a world that desperately needs hope!

I believe the private ministry of God’s Word is a part of God’s plan to light a fire of revival in the churches around the world. I hope you will join us in this journey and hope to meet and pray with many of you along the way…

Join the Conversation

Which of the four initiatives most excite you? How and why? Do any concern you? If so, how and why? What additional initiatives would you want the BCC to pursue?


2 thoughts on “4 Visions for the Biblical Counseling Movement

  1. Really excellent priorities to work towards. Looking forward to seeing all that God will do through the ministry. It’s a blessing to have a convenient and trusted source to turn to for biblical counseling resources. Thank you to the staff, board and others involved with BCC!

  2. I love the idea of the increased reach. We are only limited by our view of how much God is capable of doing. As we demonstrate the relevance of God’s work in peoples’ lives, the more others will taste and see that the Lord is good!

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