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Biblical counseling leads to life change and gospel conversations

Neil Armstrong got involved in the fundamentals of biblical counseling ministry at Stones Crossing Church in the fall of 2018—all while he was attending another area church.
A staff member at that other church, who served on the counseling team, recommended Neil attend training courses for biblical counseling, which were then taught by the late Pastor Woody Church.

Now the fundamentals of biblical counseling (FBC) program is led by Pastor Keith Groves. FBC counselors are certified by the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC). Stones Crossing currently has five certified biblical counselors, and six others are actively working toward certification.

This certification process includes 30 weeks of classroom-style teaching via an instructor teaching several students, testing with IABC, book reading on pertinent resources and theology, and engaging in 50 sessions of supervised counseling sessions.

The process is thorough and extensive. But biblical counseling is highly valued at Stones, as the differences between it and secular counseling—and even some Christian counseling—are important to note.  

“The methods utilized by secular and Christian counselors often follow approaches and procedures developed from humanistic man’s flawed understanding of man (that he is basically good), while biblical counseling uses strategies directed by God (in His Word) that man is basically sinful and selfish and in need of a Savior,” said Keith.

“Ultimately, secular and most Christian counseling deals mainly with handling the symptoms of the individual’s problem(s) and helping him/her feel better,” said Keith. “This usually only results in temporary relief. Biblical counseling gets to the root of the problem (which is usually sin) and works to involve the Lord in resolving the problem by changing the heart. This real change may not initially “feel” better but can lead to the best possible outcome—God-inspired permanent change.”
 
Neil is actively working toward his IABC certification.

Neil’s involvement with FBC has changed his life. Although God has given Neil an “unquestioning faith for all of his Word,” explaining his faith to others has been difficult.

However, attending FBC courses has changed that.

“Knowing that all of life’s problems are not new and [that] the Bible addresses each one, I was at a loss to show scripturally how God understands these difficult problems of sin,” said Neil. “I always believed there was a method to explain the gospel and how it affects every area of our lives but never knew what or where to find the answers.”

At present, six men and women are going through the certification process for FBC. And there are currently six who are certified biblical counselors at Stones Crossing. (Currently, Stones has 15 active counselors who have finished at least three levels of training.)

Other men, like Neil, as well as women, have learned through their FBC training how to explain the gospel to others and have grown equipped to minister because of God’s Word.

“I always believed there was a method to explain the gospel and how it affects everyday life but never knew what or where to find the answers [prior to taking the FBC classes],” said Neil, who noted he’s a better husband and father after obtaining FBC training. He’s also having gospel-centered conversations with others and has seen two coworkers place their faith in Jesus as a result.
In the fall of 2022, Neil will be a certified biblical counselor at Stones Crossing, and he is grateful that he’s being afforded this opportunity to make an impact in others’ lives through the FBC training.

“God has clearly called us to counseling clearly in Scripture, and we must understand some basic principles to communicate the love of Christ with both believers and non-believers,” said Neil.

If you have an interest in becoming a certified biblical counselor or, if you need biblical counseling service, click here.
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