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All solid biblical counseling training trains believers to be the best kind of counselor that they can become by giving them quality counseling tips, methods, ideas, and practices that aids them in “filling up their God-given capacities” to counsel others. Our program is also “informational” like these other good training organization.
But one of the vital differences is how our training goes beyond being informational by focusing on the transformational needs of the student. Our training challenges the student at the core of their souls while focusing them in the most critical areas that need unique, customized transformation.
Those areas are things like transparency, honesty, vulnerability, weakness, self-righteousness, self-reliance, fear of man, all forms of anger, teachability, wisdom, discernment, strengths/weaknesses, gift-mix, capacities, character-related matters and more. Students who persevere experience a “soul unraveling” that takes them from where they are with God and others and rebuilds them into more effective Christlikeness.
Warning – It is possible to finish our course and not experience this kind of transformation. You could acquire the “facts about biblical counseling” to make you a “good counselor,” in that you can give the right answers, but the needed transformation that helps you to be a better Christian does not happen.
In this podcast, I’m giving you a typical “rule-of-thumb” progression for our students, and though it does not represent every student, it does represent the challenges and victories of what our program could be for anyone willing to count the cost and start the journey.
1. “I’m interested in your program, so I’m going to read, watch, and listen to the information material.”
2. “Okay, I’m going to do this program because I believe this is what the Lord wants me to do. And I’ve asked a couple of friends who affirm this decision.” Read, How to Make a Decision.
3. “Whew! I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve paid my money, and away we go!”
4. “Wow! There is a lot of stuff here. This LMS is extensive. I’m going to get right on this…tomorrow.” (Many of our students do not do anything at this point, and eventually fade to black without doing an assignment.)
5. “Okay, no procrastinating for me. Here go my first assignments.” (Theology, Sanctification, Topic Assignment, Topical Webinar, Marriage Assignment, and Case Study)
6. “That wasn’t bad; I think I did okay with it. Rick and the other supervisors will not have a lot to respond to because I have been helping folks for a while.”
7. “I’m getting the hang of this training thing. As I wait for their responses, I’m going to move on to the next set of assignments.”
8. “Oh, my! Just got my assignments back; I got a few things correct. I don’t know what I thought I did. There were a few ‘counseling angles’ I did not consider.”
9. “They are pressing me to make it personal, but I’m feeling a bit exposed. Do I want to be vulnerable or hold back on what’s happening in my life, marriage, children, or friends? I knew this training was not primarily about helping others but learning how to counsel myself, but they mean it.”
10. “I’m not sure I want to cross this bridge: fear of man, weakness, vulnerability, self-reliance, self-righteousness, reputation, habits of masking my true self, my inability to hide in plain sight is pushing me out of my comfort zone. Ouch!”
11. What will you decide? This stage is the crucial one as the student goes from simplicity, “I’m a Christian like everyone else,” to complexity, “Do I want others to do sanctification surgery on my soul?” It’s at this place where most students stop the training.
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Illustration – You see a picture of a lack of “being in control” of the process in the movie, Apollo 13, where the astronauts were re-entering the atmosphere and weren’t sure if the heat shields would protect the vessel on re-entry. There were three minutes of radio silence where they either re-entered or bounced back into orbit, never to be seen again. Each serious students comes to this place with their training.
It seems the Lord is deconstructing virtually everything that I have ever thought about myself and discipleship. I don’t know what I thought I knew and I’m not the person that I thought I was.
12. “No matter what, I’m going to press on with this training and let the Lord have His way in my life. I believe the reward is better than personal exposure, fear of vulnerability, perceived knocks to my reputation. I am going to be a biblical counseling counselee!”
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).