Intensive Discipleship. That’s how I once heard counseling… at least “biblical or Christian counseling”… described. The idea is that every now and then folks in the church have particular struggles they wrestle with… or various temptations, sin, forms of brokenness, etc. These are pastoral care issues that require more focused attention than what can usually be received in a typical “group Bible study.” Sometimes the person may need to be referred to someone in the medical or mental health world. However, often these folks can receive much blessing and help from other Christians, including their pastors. That’s where the following websites and ministries come in.
Such counseling is for those times in which there's a need for one-on-one biblical guidance, or, intensive discipleship. The thinking behind this is that very often these issues are spiritual in nature. God’s Word is sufficient to diagnose what’s going on in that person’s life as well as to offer the solution to the problem at hand. Hey, it worked for 1,800 years or so before Freud came on the scene. Believe it or not, the Church actually cared for such needs. That’s why pastors were quite often referred to as physicians or shepherds of souls (and that title wasn’t reserved for only salvation issues). (I refer you to Richard Baxter’s Christian Directory.)
The list below is made up of ministries that are doing a great job, not only of actually “doing” such counseling ministry, but also equipping, encouraging, and educating folks in the Church to do the same.
My rule of thumb regarding why I choose the websites I do is this: “Online usefulness.” In other words, there are many ministries that are doing great things for Christ, but their websites may not be that helpful. With my Top Ten lists I’m trying to share the websites that will be the most useful to you – via articles, newsletters, blogs, video, audio and podcasting, training events, curricula, books, etc.
Here’s my list. As usual, these are in no particular order (except for the first two… which I visit all the time)
Grace and Truth,
1.) CCEF – Christian Counseling & Education Foundation – These guys have been around a long time and are getting better with age. They are keeping their website fresh and relevant and the content is second to none. Great stuff here.
2.) Rick Thomas.net – Rick Thomas is one of the most prolific guys I know. And, full disclosure, he got me up and running with my wordpress blogging a number of years ago. However, I sought him out only because of the great job he was doing with his counseling ministry online. More resources here than you’ll even know what to do with. Rick has also shifted to developing leaders so that they can better serve those under their care. Great site! Great ministry!
3.) American Association of Christian Counselors – Their strength is in their training programs, conferences, and their magazine, “Christian Counseling Today.” They are working on becoming more user-friendly, but for now, you may have to “work” a little to find what you’re looking for. But your effort will be well worth it.
4.) Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC) – They are primarily an equipping ministry, though their online usefulness is growing. I have been a part of their training programs and they are excellent.
5.) Faith Biblical Counseling – These folks have an incredible church counseling ministry. And their website is getting exponentially better and better. They have an awesome webstore where you can get great books and audio/video resources to help you learn more about how to counsel or particular issues Christians face. Great stuff.
6.) Association of Biblical Counselors – Great website with a growing list of resources – blogging, articles, audio, video, etc. You can also become a member and get access to some resources that are very helpful in counseling or teaching.
7.) Brad Hambrick is very helpful on subjects related to counseling. Brad does a great job of keeping it up to date.
8.) Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD) – This is another example of a ministry that has been around for years doing great things for the Kingdom. But now their website is improving quickly and become a great resource center. Love it.
9.) Peacemaker Ministries – Ken Sande and company are great on the topics of peacemaking, reconciliation, etc., for couples, families, churches, etc. They have a wide ranging ministry that you really ought to check out.
10.) Biblical Counseling Center – I already loved these folks. But even since I last stopped by their site they have “super-improved” their website. Fantastic! Lots of great resources. Easy to get around and find what you’re looking for. You need to check them out.
*** Since I first put together this list several years ago, I have grown in deep appreciation for the Biblical Counseling Coalition – Wonderful resource, great articles, well worth your time.
*** Another great ministry that has come into being since I first put this list together is Jay Adams’ new ministry – The Institute for Nouthetic Studies.
I’m certain there must be new such websites springing up all the time. If you know of any that ought to make it to this list, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m sure this list will grow from a Top Ten to a Top Twenty in no time at all.