A Message from Your BCC Team: At the Biblical Counseling Coalition, we love using our “megaphone” to fulfill our BCC mission: to advance the ministry of the biblical counseling movement. Throughout January and February, we’re helping you to learn about vital biblical counseling ministries—like today’s post from Pastor Pat Quinn of the Biblical Counseling Ministry at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.
A Slice of Our Ministry Life
It is my joy to share what biblical counseling looks like at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. We are a congregation of 600-700 people near Michigan State University. Our senior pastor is Kevin DeYoung. We are very excited about the opportunities for gospel ministry that the Lord has given us and how biblical counseling is an integral part of that. I have been Director of Counseling Ministries since 2009 and have the privilege of working with a great staff to do the greatest work in the world. Here is a slice of what our ministry looks like.
URC’s Mission Statement: “Unpacking the Riches of Christ through soul care, disciple-making, and leader training”
The Counseling Ministry at URC exists to provide biblically informed, wise, compassionate, Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered care and training so that each congregant is enabled to live by God’s Word leading to “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Our desire is to help the church glorify God, make disciple-making disciples, and save the lost by:
- Counseling individuals, couples, and families.
- Training counselors, elders, and other leaders.
- Introducing congregants to a biblical model for discipling, counseling, and one-anothering. We believe that Christians are continually giving advice and counsel to others (Ephesians 4:15-16); some formally, but all of us in normal relationships and conversations. We want to help all of us do this well.
Definition: Biblical counseling is face-to-face conversational ministry of the Word in which we minister the grace and truth of Jesus Christ to specific people and issues in the power of the Holy Spirit leading to life transformation. We seek to love people wisely so that they learn to deal with the problems of life in way that promotes God’s glory and their spiritual growth.
What Happened in 2014
Biblical Counseling at URC is built around two main ministries: counseling and training. In 2014 we were privileged to help many people deal with suffering and sin issues in a gospel-centered way. Some of the issues that came our way were conflict resolution, anxiety and depression, post-partum depression, marital and sexual issues, past abuse, drug addiction, practical and financial issues, gender confusion, and homosexuality.
There were also several opportunities to provide exposure to or training in biblical counseling:
- A weekly introductory Theology and Practice class that teaches a biblical model and counseling methodology.
- A weekly Issues and Observations class for more experienced counselors where we alternate between discussing counseling issues and doing peer counseling and observations.
- Training in biblical counseling for growth group leaders and elders.
- Introducing people in the New Members Class to biblical counseling.
- Doing a four-week biblical counseling training for four pastoral and campus ministry interns.
I was also honored and happy to work on writing the introduction to Scripture and Counseling with our pastor Kevin DeYoung. Since my contribution was so small I can safely say that I think this book is wonderful and an important contribution to the growing body of biblical counseling literature!
What’s Coming in 2015?
We will mostly continue to work on improving our counseling and training, but I’m excited about two new possibilities:
- God has blessed the Lansing, Michigan, area with a number of pastors and others who love biblical counseling. I want to get us together to dream and discuss how we can support and encourage one another and possibly work together to promote biblical counseling in Michigan. Ideas might include some kind of a regional speaker or conference and the possibility of a counseling center in the future.
- URC has the vision to train ministry interns in four areas: pastoral, campus, international, and counseling. I have had part-time interns before and see this as a great way to impart counseling vision and training on a deeper level. Counseling interns can either be full or part-time. If anyone is interested, go to our church website here and click on the ministry interns link.
After transitioning from a 30-year Bible teaching ministry to biblical counseling in 2009, I have often said to people that biblical counseling is the hardest and best thing I have ever done. I am deeply grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ for the opportunity to minister His gospel here at University Reformed Church. His faithfulness and grace are precious beyond words, and I look forward to see what He does here in the future.