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The Top Ten Trends in Biblical Counseling

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Note: The Gospel Coalition originally posted the following article written by the ABC’s Executive Director for the Center for Church Equipping, Dr. Bob Kellemen.

As I speak around the country on biblical counseling, I typically hear two very different responses. Sometimes I’m asked, 

“When you say ‘biblical counseling,' you don't mean ___________ do you?” Various people fill in that blank with different labels—negative to them.  What a shame that placing the word “biblical” in front of “counseling” causes some in the church to recoil in fear.  But there’s good news—the tide is turning. I consistently hear comments like, “God has used biblical counseling to change my life.” And, “Our church’s biblical counseling ministry is impacting our entire congregation and our community for God’s glory.”


It’s exciting to reflect on what God is doing as He empowers leaders to equip His people to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:11-16). With that reality as the backdrop, here are the top ten positive trends that I see in biblical counseling today—shared in reverse order, of course, to heighten the anticipation.


10. A Collegial Spirit

Increasingly, members of biblical counseling organizations are choosing to work together and to learn from each other. The 2010 launch of the Biblical Counseling Coalition (http://bit/lu/ez9xoj) (BCC) is just one example. The vision of Pastor James MacDonald and Pastor Steve Viars, the BCC exists to strengthen churches, para-church organizations, and educational institutions by promoting excellence and unity in biblical counseling as a means to accomplish compassionate outreach and effective discipleship. BCC President Steve Viars, explains this collegial vision:

“The BCC is about relationships and resources. Relationships because we believe that together we can accomplish more. Resources because we want to help everyone interested in practicing biblical counseling in their churches to have the best tools and training possible.”


9. A Positive Perspective

At times, modern biblical counseling has suffered under the stereotype of what it was against. A shift is taking place as biblical counseling focuses more on a positive presentation of what it is for. Pastor James MacDonald explains the transition:

“Like every move of God, biblical counseling is ready and poised to move from the establishment phase to development phase. This means getting beyond the pejorative of infancy and the infighting of adolescence into a thoughtful measured broader biblical counseling coalition. At a recent national biblical counseling conference, I had the privilege of gathering with the ‘next generation’ leaders. The Lord led me to challenge them to step past the nuances of our different methods and into the agreement that anyone seeking to solve people’s  complex problems from a biblical anthropology and a foundational commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture was on our team. Everyone agreed that the time has come to rally together for the sake of the Gospel and for hurting people everywhere who need what only Christ can bring. Biblical counseling as a unified movement is on the rise.”  


8. A New Gen Leadership

We are grateful for the founders of the modern biblical counseling movement—men like Jay Adams and Pastor Bill Goode (under whose ministry I came to know Christ). We’re also grateful for a new generation of leaders in biblical counseling. Examples abound: Deepak Reju at Capitol Hill Baptist, Robert Cheong at Sojourn Community, John Henderson at Denton Bible, Mike Wilkerson at Mars Hill, Rob Green at Faith Baptist, Jeremy Lelek of the Association of Biblical Counselors, Kevin Carson of Sonrise Baptist, Heath Lambert of Crossing Church, and Garrett Higbee of Harvest Bible.

Note: To read the rest of the post, visit The Gospel Coalition site for The Top Ten Trends in Biblical Counseling (

Note: To read the entire post in a PDF format, visit The Top Ten Trends in Biblical Counseling (

Posted on April 5, 2012