A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the third of a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series on equipping biblical counselors in the local church. Today, Tim Allchin talks about how we can use the Internet to expand the reach of our biblical counseling equipping ministries. You can read Part One in this series, written by Andrew Rogers, at 15 Ways to Give Hope in Biblical Counseling, and you can read Part Two, by Jim Newheiser, at 8 Ways Biblical Counseling Centers Can Reinforce the Local Church.
Online BC Training
In the past few months, the Biblical Counseling Center has come alongside a variety of churches, helping them to develop more effective ministries to care for those who hurt. We are accomplishing this by online training that develops their counseling team right within their own church walls. Consider these four common scenarios detailed from recent conversations with pastors.
#1: Urban Church Profile
We are using online training to equip a young, multiracial church plant full of young adults in their twenties and young families in their thirties. There are many different nations and theological backgrounds represented in the church which is located in an area of the city that has diverse socio-economic factors. They recently invited and trained 3 older, mature couples to form a counseling team that will help care for the needs of the body. The Biblical Counseling Center’s online training helped this church to achieve that goal.
#2: Small Church Profile
We are using the Internet to help a pastor who has been at the church for over 25 years but with growing concerns for his flock. He is a graduate of one of the largest evangelical seminaries in America, yet without training in how to counsel his people. In his years there, he has never seen troubled marriages restored. All were either divorced or remain together but miserable. Those he referred to counseling are frustrated that even Christian counseling seemed to make no difference, and they don’t know what to do. The pastor just found the Biblical Counseling Center on the web and is now taking our Foundations in Biblical Counseling online training.
#3: Rural Church Profile
We’re helping a young pastor from a small, rural farming community 60 miles outside of Chicago. His church of 150 is multigenerational and is growing. However, this pastor wants the older generation to be more active in discipling the younger generation. Pursuing biblical counseling training has been difficult because farmers rarely travel, and they only have evenings available. His solution is group training at the church, watching training sessions together, and talking about the implications for their congregation.
#4: Suburban Church Profile
Picture a suburban pastor of a church of 700+ with a Christian school nearly double that size. The church has played it safe, has a nice building, is doctrinally sound, and has a comfortable congregation. It fits perfectly into a nice, family-driven, comfortable suburb. However, the church is starting to realize they should have a far greater impact in their community than they currently do. They know their doctrine better than they know their neighbors, and in the past, nobody admitted to having any problems! They are recognizing their congregation and their community need answers, real solutions to big counseling issues, answers that the church should have. Whether they decide on live seminar training or Internet training within the comfort of their own homes, God’s Word has practical answers to those big counseling issues.
Advantages to Online Training Programs Versus Live Training
Perhaps you resonate with one of the examples above. Developing a biblical counseling team and a culture of biblical care within the body will benefit any church by increasing individual spiritual growth and impacting outreach into the community. If so, the Biblical Counseling Center wants to help you get started right where you are through our online training programs.
Consider some of the advantages of online training:
- Any size of church, small or large
- Any place you have Internet access
- Any time of day or year that works
- Cost effective with group discounts
- Self-paced (up to 1 year per course)
- Sustainable training for years
- 100 hours of instruction online
- Skype instructor Q & A sessions available
- Discussion guides provided
- Build team camaraderie and mutual encouragement
- Available for small groups, large classes, or individuals
Strategic Ways to Implement Online Biblical Counseling Training in Your Church
Introduce biblical counseling first to some trusted key leaders. If biblical counseling is new to your church, an online training course is a great way to introduce key leaders to biblical counseling without creating unwarranted controversy. A few leaders who catch the vision can go a long way to help turn the tide of momentum toward implementing a biblical counseling vision in your church.
Create an ongoing training class as part of your Christian Education program. If your church has a regular equipping track or education hour, biblical counseling training will educate and also motivate the educated toward discipleship. Help those “who ought to be teachers by now” gain tools to disciple the hurting in your congregation. An online training program is sustainable and achievable on a semester or yearly basis.
Prepare a mature small group to multiply, thereby increasing ministry leadership. Small groups can become primarily social groups if they are not strategically multiplied. It is best to encourage groups that reach higher levels of maturity to transform themselves into catalysts to disciple others. These small groups are full of those who “ought” to be teachers by now, and biblical counseling training is designed to give them the tools and vision to disciple others through real world struggles and difficulties.
Develop a lay counseling team. Do your people know where to turn when they need sound advice and support? Rather than referring out to secular counselors, why not develop a team of committed lay counselors who are equipped and resourced to disciple the common issues your people are facing? Hosting an online training course is a great way to discern those you will be able to trust to help in critical care situations. Encouraging some to pursue certification or certificates is a great way to create a benchmark.
Host an Online Biblical Counseling Training class
Do you have leaders who would make good biblical counselors but who lack the necessary training? Through our online training portal, your key people can get the same training we have traditionally offered in our live seminars but completely online. Churches don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to bring a few to a conference when they could train dozens right at their own church for the same amount of money.
You can offer this high quality training by meeting together weekly or monthly or by decentralizing your training approach and letting individuals study at home on their own time. We grade the work and will sign off when your course in complete. We will also appoint a representative from your church to work as a moderator in the course to help your students succeed and to monitor your students’ progress.
Think about how an online training class might serve the needs of the following groups of people in your church:
- Young parents for whom traveling is difficult or impossible
- Business travelers
- College students who are away
- Homebound with health issues but alert minds and passion for ministry
- Those who find the travel cost prohibitive to conferences
- Those with little vacation time for conferences
- Busy small business owners
- Pastors with small budgets
Consider the recent testimony of a few of our students involved in online training programs.
“I am so thankful for the online program that BCC offers and am already blessed by the time I have spent in the class. The online program’s self-paced approach has been very helpful in allowing me to fit the coursework into a busy schedule.”—Peter from IL
“The coursework is excellent so far. I am greatly enjoying the training and format of the course.”—David from WI
Every church should equip its leadership in biblical counseling. Our goal is to help you become more successful in your efforts. If we can help you in any way, please reach out to us at [email protected].
Join the Conversation
How could you use the Internet and online training to advance the ministry of biblical counseling?