Restoring Lives through the Gospel: The Story of Briarwood Presbyterian Church’s Biblical Counseling Ministry and Birmingham Theological Seminary

February 12, 2015

Birmingham Theological Seminary
Howard Eyrich

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Howard Eyrich

Birmingham Theological Seminary

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. Sprinkled liberally throughout January and February we are using our megaphone to highlight vital biblical counseling ministries—like today’s post from Dr. Howard Eyrich of Briarwood Presbyterian Church and Birmingham Theological Seminary.

Our Vision

The vision of the Briarwood Counseling Ministry and Birmingham Theological Seminary (BTS) is to train men and women in the art of restoring lives through the Gospel and the implications thereof. Our approach mimics that of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28-29. We are about proclaiming, admonishing, and teaching both counselees and trainees with all the wisdom of God so that we might be contributing to their completion in Christ. We believe that the happiness, peace, and satisfaction that people come seeking is found only in learning to live to please Him. Ultimately our vision for counselees and trainees is that they will desire to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Our Reflections on 2014

This past year has been one of transition for us. Our wonderful administrative assistant of five years retired to care for her dying mother. We blessed her departure reluctantly. She left a big hole. But, God is faithful; He filled the hole with a capable young woman. Our Women’s and Children’s Counselor/Coordinator resigned after getting married for the first time at age 50. After a national search, the Lord led us to one of our own. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, has completed our training, and is on target to obtain ACBC certification in October. In addition, she has twenty years of experience as the principal of a significant elementary school of 1,000 students.

During 2014, our TEAM of 26 Lay Counselors has completed 100’s of hours of counseling with many wonderful testimonies as to God’s work through them as His instruments.

Also during this year, we developed a pornography initiative. We recruited 21 handpicked men who completed six hours of specialized training. These men lead small groups of 3-5 men who had made confidential contact requesting assistance. We provided a curriculum for their use. Obviously, there are more details to this program, but by mentioning it we hope others will be encouraged to aggressively attack this cultural plague.

Through BTS and Briarwood we were able to assist a sizeable Baptist church in the area to establish a counseling ministry. We thank the Lord for sending a Southern Seminary grad to this church with a vision to start a program.

Our Priorities for 2015

  • Certification: We hope to see at least three more counselors complete certification in October.
  • Training: Complete current class and recruit new class for next fall.
  • Consultation: Continue to encourage and consult with other area churches in the initiation of counseling ministries.
  • Counseling: We run a waiting list of about 40 requests for counseling. We anticipate another busy year of counseling and desire to faithfully deliver God’s Word to the hearts of people.
  • Teaching: Through BTS we are currently seeking a grant for funding two intensive courses that will enable people to meet ACBC educational requirements. We are planning five locations with some of these being in urban areas. We desire to develop competent counselors in these communities. In addition, we are readying an MA Distance Education degree in biblical counseling.

Our Prayer Requests

Recently we have put Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:14-19) on a 3 by 5 card and given a card to all new counselees assuring them that this is our prayer for them. Pray that this will be well received and encourage counselees.

Pray that we will keep our focus and accomplish our priorities.

Pray for the ACBC conference. It will likely draw fire. Pray for protection and a positive influence.

As always, anyone is welcome to email me at [email protected]