Top Ten Trends in Biblical Counseling from 2000-2009
Part 1: Trends 10-6
Do you remember where you were when “Y2K” did not hit? That was the beginning of the decade that people don’t know what to call. Is it the zeros?
People often like to label decades by “themes.” I’ve already heard some people call the past decade the “Selfish Decade.”
While there’s certainly plenty of negatives to toss about, I’d like to consider some positives. Remember, “Aslan is still on the move!”
Here are the first five of my top ten positive trends in biblical counseling over the past ten years (in reverse order, of course, to heighten anticipation!).
10. Synergy Is Energy
Instead of territory-protecting and camp-building, increasingly biblical counseling groups are choosing to work together and to learn from each other. For example, Jeremy Lelek and the Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) are to be commended for hosting a symposium that brought together leaders from Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries (FBCM), the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), the Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network (BCSFN), and the Society for Christian Psychology (SCP).
9. Positive Perspective
For too long, modern biblical counseling suffered under the stereotype of what it was against. Over the past decade a shift has taken place as we’ve focused more on what we’re for. For example, the BCSFN, which was launched this decade, included “being a positive voice for biblical counseling” in its vision statement. The SCP purposes to develop from the Scriptures and Church history a positive presentation of a psychology (understanding of the soul as designed by God) that is thoroughly Christian.
8. New Gen Leadership
We all ought to be grateful for the “founders” of the “modern” biblical counseling movement. I’m also grateful for a new generation of leaders in biblical counseling. Examples abound. I think of Pastor Rob Green at Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries and Faith Seminary, of Chris Boucher at Capital Bible Seminary, Brad Hambrick of Crossroads Counseling, and Garrett Higbee of Twelve Stones Ministries.
7. Local Church Equipping
There’s a growing movement to return biblical counseling and spiritual friendship to its rightful place—the local church. Pastors are being equipped to equip their people for one another ministry. Among many examples are the CCEF, the BCSFN, FBCM, the ABC, Rick Thomas of The Counseling Solutions Group, and my own RPM Ministries all have well-developed local church equipping models, conferences, seminars, and consulting ministries. And individual churches are increasingly becoming equipping centers, such as Faith Baptist under the leadership of Pastor Steve Viars, Harvest Bible Chapel under the leadership of Pastor James MacDonald and Dr. Garrett Higbee, and New Antioch Baptist Church’s “LEAD” ministry under the direction of Sister Ellen Barney (where she has trained over 500 women in spiritual friendship). These equipping ministries and churches understand that biblical counseling is a normal part of the one another ministry that God calls every believer to participate in.
6. Compassionate Care
There was a time when “modern biblical counseling” was stereotyped as “harsh confrontation.” Joyfully, that label is dissipating as biblical counselors embrace a biblical sufferology. Biblical counseling is addressing how to provide soul care through sustaining and healing for suffering. It is also addressing how to provide gentle, humble spiritual direction for sin and sanctification through reconciling and guiding. Paul Tautges’ Comfort Those Who Grieve is one excellent example of biblical counseling for suffering. Ian Jones’ Counsel of Heaven on Earth is a great example of compassionate care for both suffering and sin. My own work, Spiritual Friends equips readers with twenty-two biblical counseling relational competencies for helping those who are suffering and sinning to move toward growth in grace.
The Rest of the Story
Be sure to join us for Part II when I share top trends 5-1 related to biblical counseling from 2000-2009.
Join the Conversation
What top trends would you add to this list?
What individuals, groups, churches, and books would you add to trends 10-6?