You can train online by yourself, or you can join a large group training in an auditorium with hundreds of others, but they both fail to provide some key benefits. At BCC, we’ve found that biblical counseling training is most effective when you train with small groups.
In fact, we often recommend to pastors, churches, and individuals that one of the best steps they can take to move their church forward in biblical counseling is to create a training small group. Without even announcing a formal strategy of biblical counseling, you can begin the process of training 3-5 people and equipping them for real world ministry. (BCC provides small group activity/discussion guides to help with this process.)
Here are five advantages to training for biblical counseling as a part of a small group:
1. You have accountability to show up and follow through.
Imagine if your high school teachers never took attendance, you know what would happen! When you train in a small group, there is accountability to follow through and contribute to the group’s learning. The completion rates of those participating in small groups are the highest of anyone in our training courses.
2. You begin to experience mutual ministry.
Biblical counseling is not just about helping others sinners, but it is learning the precious and life-transforming heart of Christ and seeking to live that out authentically in a fallen world. It’s as much for the counselor as those being helped by the counselor. In a small group, you can learn and reflect together while challenging each other to grow.
3. You can practice interpersonal counseling skills and become more comfortable.
Staring at a computer screen or a well-know speaker in an auditorium doesn’t give you an opportunity to articulate the principles that are being taught in counseling. Our small group reflection/activities require our students to explain to others the concepts that are being taught. Part of growing in your confidence as a counselor is practicing helpful conversations and getting feedback.
4. You can receive correction when you didn’t understand a concept or your approach is too harsh or too hard.
Are you ever wrong? I hope you didn’t seriously answer, “No.” We all have areas of faith, doctrine, Scripture, and human flourishing that we don’t understand. While you may have experience that leads you to strongly believe one way, others may have opposite experience that opposes what you think. In a small group setting, you have to interact with differences, learn to work through them, and listen to others who disagree with you. All of this makes you a better counselor and balances the extremes you may not have known you had.
5. You have a team of people that can support each other in ongoing ways.
Entering into the lives of hurting people takes time and effort, and requires risk. You will experience opposition from others and the devil himself. You will experience failure and fatigue as a counselor. Further, you will have times when you don’t have expertise to help with a certain situation that someone else would be far more equipped to handle. A team of people that can trust each other and work together is the best approach for your own spiritual strength and ongoing ability to care.
If you or your church is considering taking steps to develop biblical counselors, we would love to help. We offer a fully online five-month training course called Foundations and a full-year training option in our Lay Counseling Certificate. There is one 45-minute video lesson and a 30-minute small group activity each week. We have created the lesson plans for you and will equip you to facilitate the training course. Training classes can be as small as 3 and as large as 20.
We would love to help you or your church. Reach out and we can walk through any questions you may have.