What are your goals as you think about this year? There are so many worthy endeavors, so many objectives to pursue, and so many very good ways to spend your time. As you pray and consider this year of ministry, I want to encourage you to take a serious look ACBC certification. You may be new to the concept of biblical counseling. You may be very involved in counseling, but have been putting off the certification process for one reason or another. Here are 4 reasons why you should consider starting your journey toward certification, or jumping back in where you left off.
1. We are surrounded by brokenness
The heart is truly an idol factory. As we seek to follow Jesus, our hearts are constantly leading us astray, trying to convince us that there is something out there; some success, some relationship, some new level of achievement that will satisfy us more than Christ. This constant loop always leads to brokenness, and nothing in this world can heal brokenness like the Gospel. The intensive discipleship of Biblical counseling helps us to help others to identify what they are chasing instead of Jesus. A faithful biblical counselor points out areas of false worship and helps a counselee to direct their worship toward Jesus Christ; as ACBC Fellow Dr. Ernie Baker says, “to become a worshiper of what truly matters.”
2. You need the information as much as your counselees do
When I decided to pursue certification, I was quite excited that I was going to be equipped to help other people to follow Jesus. From the first day of my first training weekend, however, I quickly realized that the biggest changes were going to need to be made in my own heart! That evening, I was both convicted and given hope in a few places where I truly needed it. It was wonderful. What do you struggle with? Are you anxious? Do you fear man more than you fear Him? Are you chasing approval, comfort, money, or fame? As you study and prepare to help others, the Lord will be working on your own heart through His Word.
3. We are ministers of the Word, not ministers of the world
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (ESV) 2 Timothy 3:16–17
This is how God brings about change. He doesn’t need to throw ideas at a wall to see what sticks. He made us, he made our hearts, and He knows our frame. He loves us and has promised to make us more like Jesus (Rom 8:28-31). His Word speaks into every area to which our hearts love to run. It is He that has the sole authority to speak into our marriages, our parenting, our finances, our anxiety, our sexuality, our goals, etc. When people come to us for help, they do not need our opinions or the opinions of the world. They need the Word of God. They need the Gospel! I have sat down with multiple counselees this year and have had my heart broken by what secular counselors and even pastors have told them before they came to me. “My pastor friend said we should just give up on our marriage. He said it’s too far gone to save.” What an opportunity to shine the light of the Gospel into a broken, seemingly hopeless situation; an opportunity to teach these precious believers that their marriage is a beautiful representation of the union of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32).
4. You counsel every day; Do you do it well?
Every time you engage in a conversation about life, people’s problems, or about the Lord and His Word, you are counseling. The reading, observations, instruction, exams, and supervision are all set up for you to learn to do this well. Counseling is done in private, and it can be difficult for us to gauge how it’s going. What are we doing right? What could we be doing better? ACBC consists of a network of like-minded Christ followers who are able to help and support you in your journey as a counselor. I have been blown away by the support and openness of other biblical counselors. Help and encouragement is truly just a text, call, or email away, and that is so helpful as I grow in this area of ministry.
The ACBC certification process is rigorous but attainable. It’s also truly enjoyable. You will grow to know your Savior better as you grow in knowledge of His word. As you walk through the process, it’s like light bulbs start turning on with every page you read and every exam response you complete. You will find yourself using what you learn right away in conversations and various ministry situations, and that is truly a joyful experience. Let me encourage you to jump in or to jump back in to the process. This year will go by one way or another, what better way to spend it than by learning to help people to become worshipers of what truly matters?