Walking with others in wisdom and love.
Biblical counselling involves walking patiently with someone, while wisely connecting them to Christ through the grace-centered message of the Bible. It is intensive, targeted discipleship that reaches the heart where true and lasting change takes place. This one-on-one ministry is done in the community of the church where both the normal and complex problems of daily life can be addressed.
What is biblical counselling?
In simple terms, biblical counselling involves offering counsel from the Bible to those who desire God’s wisdom, direction, and help as they wrestle with the difficulties of life, including sinful practices or providential suffering. It is a process of focused, restorative, discipleship that highlights the practical application of the Word of God to the struggles of life. Biblical counselling is focused in that it addresses the underlying issues that manifest themselves as pain, sorrow, or sin in one’s life. And, it is restorative in that the goal of biblical counselling is to help one see and accept the truth of God’s Word so as to experience a heart-level change that results in inner peace and a restored relationship with their loving Heavenly Father.
“Wise counselling is essentially a way of loving another person well. It is a way of speaking what is true and constructive into this person’s life right now.” — David Powlison, Speaking Truth in Love
How is biblical counselling different?
In biblical counselling the heart is the target. The simplest, most biblical answer to the question “Why do people do the things they do?” can be found by asking the question “What is controlling the heart?” The goal of biblical counselling is heart change. Any help that fails to reach the heart is no help at all. In evaluating the heart, we find out if we are trusting and loving the true God or some other god, such as peace, prosperity, pleasure, or control.
“This is the principle of inescapable influence: Whatever rules the heart will exercise inescapable influence over the person’s life and behavior.” — Paul Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands
“If you wonder why you choose to worship other gods rather than wholeheartedly devote yourself to the Lord you love, examine the thoughts and desires that captivate your heart. That’s where you’ll find the answer to every sin and failure in your life.” — Elyse Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart
Is biblical counselling for me?
Life is full of difficulties and we all respond in various and troubling ways. We wrestle with everything from annoying habits that are hard to kick, to full blown addictive behavior; from minor conflict in relationships, to complete communication breakdowns; from anxious thoughts and mild anxiety, to severe panic attacks and the deepest, darkest depression. We often live lives of quiet desperation, wearing masks, fearing what others think, feeling like hypocrites, longing to be different, but having no real hope for authentic and lasting change.
As Christians, we believe that God is loving and kind and we recognize that the Bible speaks into all of life’s problems. We also know that we live in a fallen world, and as such, we all experience seasons of difficulties and trials that are hard to understand or accept. This is why all of us, at times, need the wise and prayerful counsel of a fellow believer to help us see our situation from a biblical perspective, a perspective that, in the midst of our suffering, we often do not see.“We were not designed to go through hard things alone.” “We all need help – that’s simply part of being human.”
Edward Welch, Side By Side
What kinds of things do we provide counselling for?
Counselling is available to help with any issue that an individual or couple may be facing: marriage difficulties, parenting, relationship issues, addictions, mental health disorders of all kinds, issues of the past (including childhood sexual assault), fear, anger, grief, depression, anxiety, etc.
Who do we help?
Christ City offers counselling for single adults (19 and older) and couples who are struggling with any difficulty regardless of the reason why. We will consider counselling teens, depending on the issue and the maturity of the teen. Parental approval is required, and parental participation may be expected (if requested by the counsellor). For preteens, we think it is best to counsel the parents in how to disciple their children.
At this point in time our counselling is limited to covenant members and attenders of Christ City, or close relatives of a covenant member/attender. Furthermore, we require that anyone who is receiving counselling through our ministry regularly attend one of our neighbourhood churches for the duration of their counselling. During this time, they are to consider that church to be their church home.
Who does the counselling?
The counsellor who will walk alongside you will be a trained biblical counsellor. At Christ City we have chosen the Association of Certified Biblical Counsellors (ACBC) as our training and certifying agency. All of our counsellors are either trained and certified according to these standards or supervised by someone with ACBC certification. Because our counsellors are certified biblical counsellors, they are not governed by any secular agency, nor are they licensed or certified by the Province of British Columbia.
Due to a constant waitlist, we cannot accommodate requests for particular counsellors. However, we do make every effort to match each person with the best counsellor for their particular situation and issue. At the same time, we trust all of our counsellors to faithfully counsel from God’s Word and we trust God’s providential sovereignty to place each person with the right counsellor.
When is counselling available?
Counselling is available throughout the week at various times depending on counsellor availability. The more flexible your schedule, the sooner you can begin counselling. Evening time slots are often the most popular and usually require a longer wait time in order to begin.
What does it cost?
Due to the generosity of Christ City members, our counselling is offered at no charge. We consider it a privilege to be able offer counselling to those who are suffering and to share the hope that is found in God’s Word. As such, we never want money to be an obstacle. While we do not charge a fee, we ask, to the extent that you are able, that you pay for your own resource books, and upon completion of counselling, that you consider making a freewill donation in order to support this ongoing ministry at Christ City.
How long does counselling take?
Counselling sessions are normally one hour long and are scheduled weekly. The average length of time from the first session to the last session is typically somewhere between 12 and 16 weeks. The number of sessions may be shortened or lengthened depending on the counselling issue and your progress.
What is expected of me?
Your counsellor will expect the following four things from you:
- That you demonstrate a willingness to grow and change.
- That you be on time for weekly counselling appointments.
- That you complete all homework assignments in between counselling sessions.
- That you attend a Christ City neighbourhood church every week.
How do I get started?
If you are interested in pursuing biblical counselling at this time, please click on the link below to fill out a Counselling Application form and email it back to us at email@example.com. Note, if you are interested in couples counselling then each spouse will need to fill out a separate Counselling Application form. Once we receive your application(s), we will review it and follow up with you directly (typically within a week).
The Counselling Application form gives us an overview of your story so we can understand how best to serve you. Please take the time to fill it out honestly and thoughtfully. We will handle your information with appropriate discretion. If there is a question that you feel uncomfortable answering, you can leave it blank and discuss it with your counsellor. Please understand that sufficient information is required for us to properly triage your case, so any form that is inadequately filled out may be returned to the applicant to be appropriately competed.
If you have any questions or are uncertain if biblical counselling is right for you, please do not hesitate to email Doug Chrystal, Pastor of Biblical Counselling, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Counselling Application form is a fillable Adobe PDF document. If you need it, a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded here:
A Brief Statement on Biblical Humility
Biblical humility is broad and extensive; what follows is a brief statement on a few aspects of humility.
Jesus is our ultimate standard for biblical humility, His words and His life serve as our definitive guide. In Scripture, we see several aspects of this humility. For example, Jesus makes it clear that true humility comes from a dependence upon God’s mercy rather than a trusting in one’s own righteousness (Luke 18:9-14). He also makes it clear that humble people are not scrambling for power, prestige and position, rather, they are content to be called servants and to put others first (Mark 9:35; Matt 23:8-12). Most significantly, Jesus demonstrates that biblical humility involves an absolute, unquestioning acceptance of God’s Word (Phil 2:6-8). In fact, there is no biblical definition of humility that does not include an absolute, unquestioning obedience to the Word of God. As God has said, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
With regard to our counselees, we strive to show that biblical humility is a chief aim of the Christian life. For you cannot love well or obey God without it. Biblical humility is the ability to see yourself as you really are, “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev 3:17). Biblical humility lays the foundation for real contentment, confidence, and accurate self-knowledge.
With regard to our biblical counsellors, biblical humility requires us to recognize that we too are sinners, and it causes us to recognize our limitations. We are not omniscient; our wisdom is limited to that which we find in the pages of Scripture. Therefore, we look to the Word of God for truth and accuracy for it is only in His light that we accurately see ourselves (Psalm 36:9, James 1:23). Furthermore, biblical humility necessitates a big view of who God is, and His providential role in the process of change. For only God can forgive us of our sins (1 John 1:9), which is our greatest need, and only God can transform us into his likeness (2 Cor 3:18), which is His goal and our hope.
As biblical counsellors we recognized these foundational truths, and thus we strive to minister to those entrusted to us by God with a heart of humility.
Biblical Humility and Medical Advice
We know that a godly posture of humility leads to a proper understanding of one’s self, or said another way, godly humility helps us to (a) know what we know, and (b) know what we do not know. As this principle applies to our biblical counsellors, (a) we know God’s wisdom in the Scriptures, and (b) we know that we are not medically trained. Thus, we know that caring for the complexities of the human heart require the careful application of the Word of God, and that caring for the complexities of the human body require the careful application of specialized medical training. In light of this, and our recognition of the biblical teaching on the interconnectedness of the body and soul, we view medical professionals as vital partners in the care of our counsellees, and as such, we do not give medical advice.
Scripture & Counselling
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
We believe that God’s Word is authoritative, sufficient, and relevant. The inspired and inerrant Scriptures, rightly interpreted and carefully applied, offer us God’s comprehensive wisdom. Through them we learn to understand who God is, who we are, the problems we face, how people change, and God’s provision for that change. No other source of knowledge thoroughly equips people to counsel in ways that transform the human heart. The wisdom given by God in His Word is distinctive and robust, evidenced by the fact that it comprehensively addresses the sin and suffering of all people in all situations.
When we say that Scripture is comprehensive, or comprehensive in wisdom, we mean that the Bible makes sense of all things – not that it exhaustively contains all the information people could ever want to know about all subjects. In this regard, we acknowledge that Scripture is limited in scope, as clearly the Bible does not reveal everything that people desire to know about every subject, nor does it claim to do so. It is in light of these two affirmations that we view Scripture as a comprehensive resource rather than an exhaustive one.
What do we mean when we say that we view Scripture as a comprehensive, rather than an exhaustive, resource? The following examples help to clarify what this looks like in the context of counselling.
Take the issue of a cancer diagnosis. Scripture does not spell out a cure for cancer (as an exhaustive resource), but Scripture has much to say to the woman who has been diagnosed with cancer (as a comprehensive resource). It speaks to the frailty of life, to death, and to where her ultimate hope lies; it speaks to where she puts her trust for her future and for the future of those whom she loves and may leave behind; it speaks to her anxieties and fears that may accompany various treatment options, and it (comprehensively) speaks to so much more.
In addition to the serious issues we face, the comprehensiveness of Scripture also speaks into the less serious issues of life. For example, it speaks to the man who has a plumbing business. While Scripture does not provide a blueprint for how to plumb a house (as an exhaustive resource), it does speak volumes (as a comprehensive resource) to the plumber on how he is to conduct himself at work and the quality of the work he is to do; it speaks to how he is to treat his customers and his employees; it speaks to how he is to run his business and deal with business partners; and it (comprehensively) speaks to so much more.
In these ways, we view the Scriptures as being a comprehensive, but not an exhaustive resource.
Lastly, it is important to note that our view of Scripture as sufficient for counselling is limited to all of the non-organic issues and problems that people face, and by non-organic, we mean issues that are not of a medical nature. Our biblical counsellors are not medically trained, and as such, they do not give medical advice. Rather, we affirm the value and essential nature of trained and licensed medical professionals. We view them as vital partners in the care of individuals who have been created in the image of God with both body and soul.
Christ City is not only committed to counselling the body of Christ but also to equipping gifted members of the body to be biblical counsellors. Counselling those who are suffering demands a significant level of training and equipping. We have chosen the Association of Certified Biblical Counsellors (ACBC) as our training and certifying agency due to the practical and comprehensive nature of their certification process. Certification training is open to any covenant member of Christ City, and the cost for this training will be paid for by the church.
If you are interested in pursuing Counsellor Certification, please click on the link below to fill out a short Counsellor Application form. We will review it and follow up with you directly (typically with a week).
If you have any questions about Counsellor Training, please do not hesitate to email Doug Chrystal, Pastor of Biblical Counselling, at email@example.com with your questions.
For more information about biblical counselling, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (604) 322-1867. We are located at 5887 Prince Edward Street, Vancouver, BC V5W 2X8