Ep. 202 The Reason I’m No Longer Part of the IABC

Shows Main Idea – The International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC) is a counseling organization that began in 1988. I have been part of this organization, off and on, since about 2002. I am no longer associated with them, which I’m explaining why in this podcast.

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Show Notes

For a fuller explanation on these matters, listen to the podcast. If you wish to discuss these things with me, please go here.

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Brief History of the IABC

Four people incorporated the IABC as a 501c3 in OK, and it’s still active there. Later the IABC was given to Ed Bulkley in a “shoebox,” and became an auxiliary ministry of LIFE Fellowship, using LIFE’s 501c3 status. There is no known paper trail of this handoff from OK to LIFE, or it becoming an auxiliary ministry of LIFE, using their 501c3.

Fast Forward – Ed Bulkley resigned, and it was after this that things were brought to light from his family and staff at the church that moved the church toward church discipline. It began with removing him from all teaching and leading responsibilities and eventually led to the Bulkleys leaving LIFE Fellowship on the eve of the final stage of church discipline. Things also devolved on the IABC board to where four of the five men resigned.

This result left Kevin Hurt as the only board member, which meant there was no board because it’s illegal to have a “board of one.” Kevin Hurt moved the IABC from Westminster, CO to his church in Georgia, and then created a board from his elders.

Shortly after that, the IABC Training Center Directors (TCDs) stepped in and commissioned a Transition Team of eight to serve as a temporary board since we had no legal representation, and we needed to reorganize and restructure. The TCDs asked this interim board to lead the organization until we could vote for a board once they accomplished the essential restructuring of the organization.

Once the Transition Team was put in place, Kevin Hurt stepped off the board, only to reappear again with Ed and Holly to handpick a board instead of the Transition Team that the TCDs chose. In our March TCD meeting, this question about Kevin stepping off the board took place:

Tim Russo: “May I ask for clarification is Kevin still a board member? Is he still the V.P. of IABC?”  (01:37:43) Howard Eyrich: “No he recused himself.”

Thus, the Transition Team that TCDs appointed was dismissed by Kevin, Ed, and Holly. They handpicked who they wanted to be a replacement board during the rest of the reorganization effort.

On the insistence of several of the TCDs, this “handpicked board” agreed to ask all of the TCDs to select a new board they were willing to follow from among themselves. A new board was voted upon by the TCDs, which was announced at the annual meeting, held August 01-03 in St. Louis. The new board was installed, and new officers were elected. This new board of directors includes mostly the folks that Kevin, Ed, and Holly handpicked.

(If there are any factual errors to this “brief history,” I will add them here.)

My Journey with IABC

I’ve never taken any exams or done any other prerequisite work to be part of IABC. My first membership began approximately 2002, though I’m not sure of the exact date.

After one or two annual renewals, I stopped receiving notices from the IABC, so I contacted them several times over an extended period. Nobody responded, so I let my membership lapse.

In the spring of 2017, Dr. Daniel Berger introduced me to Kevin Hurt. Kevin’s church is in Georgia, which is not too far from Greenville, SC, where I live. I met with Kevin and Daniel at a Starbucks in Greenville, SC. Kevin and I talked for a couple of hours.

(Because of the things that happened in the IABC, Dr. Berger resigned from the organization this past spring.)

The IABC made me a member immediately, and at the August annual meeting in August in Westminster, CO, our organization became an official training center for the IABC. At no point did I take any tests, nor did anyone interview me regarding what we teach.

Kevin Hurt was my “board member, overseer.” From August 2017 to March 2019, Kevin never contacted me for a monthly meeting, made a site visit, or asked any questions about our training organization. Each board member has a specified number of TCDs under him, and are required to meet with each TCD monthly, to build relationally and provide soul care and oversight.

Concerns with IABC

  • Lack of documentation for decisions made during its history.
  • The IABC becoming an auxiliary ministry of LIFE Fellowship.
  • LIFE Fellowship disciplining Ed Bulkley, which is still unresolved.
  • The IABC Board not working with LIFE Fellowship to help our brother, Ed Bulkley.
  • All five board members resigning or recused themselves over these matters.
  • Kevin Hurt recusing himself and then stepping back as a board member, which replaced our Transition Team.
  • Ed Bulkley resigning as President and from the board, and then reinstated, and then adding his daughter, Holly, to the board so they could handpick a new board. On this matter of Ed’s resignation, Kevin Hurt stated in a TCD meeting in March:
(00:14:52) Due to these issues Ed is no longer serving with us as president or as a member of the IABC board. I spoke with him just this past week and asked for his resignation and he gladly tendered it because he cared more about the reconciliation issue and more of what this situation may do to impact IABC.
  • A man under church discipline is permitted on the board of a Christian organization to conduct the business of that organization.

Make Your Decision

I’m not assessing motive to any of these individuals or matters but sharing with you my experience with the IABC. The most critical issue is our organization’s lack of cooperation with the local church—LIFE Fellowship. I spoke with one of the elders, and he said that they are perplexed, discouraged, and hurt by the IABC’s unwillingness to hear what they have been saying while working against them in their efforts to restore Ed Bulkley.

Because of these things and the current board’s lack of acknowledgement, investigation, and active repentance—whether personal or corporate, I cannot be part of this organization, and cannot support any of their future endeavors until there is a public confession that seeks to explore reconciliation with LIFE Fellowship and the other folks with whom they have sinned against, those who spoke to them about these things.

How Can You Respond?

  1. Pray for LIFE Fellowship as they continue to serve their brother, Ed, and his family.
  2. Pray for the IABC, that this new board will right the past sins and restructure themselves in such a way that is biblical in all ways.
  3. If you wish to discuss these matters with me, please go here.
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