Biblical Counseling and the Church

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Biblical Counseling and the ChurchReview By: Kevin Hurt

Why This Book?

As one who has pastored the same church for the past 27 years — with the goal of making God’s sufficient Word applicable to the day-to-day real-life circumstances people find themselves facing — and as a certified Biblical Counselor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC), I find the latest book from the series produced by the Biblical Counseling Coalition (BCC) — Biblical Counseling and the Church — to be a rich treasure when it comes to the topic of Biblical counseling.

As in each of the previous resources the BCC has produced, this book is theologically sound and practically applicable as it candidly deals with the real, and often messy, issues of the Christian life. As you read what has been written from over 20 different respected ministry leaders, you will find this book to challenge and encourage you as it places the focus on where Biblical counseling should be done – in and through the local Church.

And because Biblical Counseling and the Church puts the emphasis on the local Church as being the place where Biblical counseling takes place, this is a resource that will serve everyone in the local Church. It is not a book for pastors only. Pastors, as well as lay leaders, educators, and counselors will find that this book is for them. Regardless of your role in the local Church – Youth leader, Sunday School Teacher, Small Group facilitator, Men’s or Women’s Group Leader — you will enhance and deepen your ministry as you connect the relationship of Biblical Counseling to the local Church and the ministry you are doing. In fact, even those informal conversations we all have with one another as believers will be enriched as you learn how to weave Scripture into those conversations about the struggles people are telling you about.

The Highlights

As I read this book, I was once again reminded of, as well as challenged with, one major question: As people face addictions, deal with loss and grief, and seek help in restoring broken relationships, where can they turn for counsel and assistance? And the answer is the local Church. The Church has been uniquely blessed with the gifts of the Gospel and a super-sufficient Scripture, and the Church is able to offer hope and counsel that no other institution on earth can. That is something that we, as God’s people, need to let sink in. As the Church, we have something to offer that no other institution or counseling service has to offer.

The book is divided into 6 parts that show us how Biblical Counseling touches the various areas related to the local Church:

Part 1 – More Than Counseling: A Vision for the Entire Church. This section reminds us that counseling is not just for a few, and especially for the professional, but for all who are in the local Church.

Part 2 – Biblical Counseling and Small Group Ministry. From this section you will discover that Small Groups — a key to building deep and transforming relationships — will be revolutionized as you see how to connect Scriptural counsel in those close and intimate times of fellowship.

Part 3 – Biblical Counseling and Conflict Resolution. The Church definitely finds itself struggling with conflict and relationships that are sometimes strained and can even become shattered. From this section, though the shortest of the 6 sections, you will find the unique and powerful way that Scripture can restore those relationships.

Part 4 – Equipping Biblical Counselors. One of the questions that rightly should be addressed is, “If Biblical Counseling belongs in the local Church and with God’s people, how do I learn to effectively and competently counsel others?” From this section there are 7 chapters that specifically and practically show us how this is done regardless of the size of your local Church.

Part 5 – Biblical Counseling and Outreach. Evangelism is certainly at the heart of the local Church. We have been called to be instruments in God’s redeeming hands. We are His voice to a lost and dying world. When Biblical counseling is rightly understood, we will see how it directly connects with evangelism. From this section, practical and specific care is given on how outreach and evangelism are connected with Biblical Counseling.

Part 6 – Biblical Counseling in Historical Perspective. From this section you will discover a rich history on Biblical Counseling. You will grasp where the movement has come from and where it is headed. As this section concludes, you will find your heart soaring with the cry for Biblical Counseling to find a firm and permanent place within the local Church.

Conclusion

If I were to sum up what Biblical Counseling and the Church will do for everyone in the local Church, I would list at least the following:

  • It will reveal how to unite the pulpit ministry of preaching the Word (the larger group) with the personal ministry of the Word in counseling (the smaller group).
  • It will offer practical and theological training to equip you as a counselor.
  • It will show you how to launch and lead a counseling ministry, regardless of the size of your church.
  • It will bring together the relational focus of small group ministry with the ministry of care and counseling
  • It will enable you to better understand the relationship between biblical counseling, church discipline, and conflict resolution.
  • It will challenge you to learn how to use counseling in outreach through “missional” biblical counseling — moving biblical counseling beyond the doors of the church and into the world.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book for everyone in the local church, no matter what ministry you may be involved in, in order to better equip you to offer biblical counseling to those in need.


Kevin Hurt is the pastor of Grace Bible Church in Mountain City, GA and serves as the executive Vice President for the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC). Kevin planted Grace Bible Church in 1988 after attending the Evangelical Institute in Greenville, SC. Pastor Kevin also has an earned Doctorate from the Master’s School of Divinity. He has been married to Pam since 1981, and they have three adult children.

In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Zondervan publishers for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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