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Biblical Counseling

While our journey of following God's lead and move to Germany to invest our lives in the area of biblical counseling has been known to many of you for some time, many of you still have questions about biblical counseling, what it is, why it matters, and how it differs from other counseling approaches. While not all of these questions will be answered here, it is our hope that this introduction is helpful for you.

There have been various attempts to come up with a single definition around what biblical counseling is. Ultimately, what all of those attempts have in common is this: Jesus Christ (the Son of God) and the Bible (the Word of God) must be at the center of what it is to bring about change in people's lives; no real, lasting change, and for sure not the kind that focuses on God's glory, is possible without these two primary things. People who invest themselves in biblical counseling seek to uphold these elements as they care for the hurting people around them. Their goal is a wholistic view of life that feeds on God's wisdom and brings practical tools to bear on any situation man may encounter.

As a family, we are committed to the expansion of the understanding and use of biblical counseling in the local church in Germany.

If you are interested in understanding more about the theological underpinnings of biblical counseling, please visit either of the following organizations to learn more - these are the organizations with which we identify ourselves respective to biblical counseling.

The Biblical Counseling Coalition (English only)

Netzwerk Biblische Seelsorge (German only)

Intensive Counseling Retreats

Biblical counseling has traditionally followed a certain model of care. Secular therapy / counseling was a basic model for what early practitioners of biblical counseling followed. It was a good and workable mode to care for people. Pastors, and later trained biblical counselors, met with people on a weekly basis for about an hour at a time. This model became pretty accessible to even small local churches, especially as lay counselors began to be raised up.

While a lot of things have changed over the last four decades, a lot remained the same. In 2004, a couple of men decided that something else was needed. After counseling many individuals and families in their local church, these men began to see the need for a model of counseling that would allow them to spend more time with the people who needed help. Instead of meeting weekly for an hour, these men decided to start a ministry that would ultimately allow people to come to counseling for one to three days; so Twelve Stones was born.

The key idea behind this new ministry was that in order to have see catalytic change, a different mode of engagement was needed. The Bible is clear that a man of understanding can draw out the heart. Unfortunately, 60 minutes were often not enough time to do that well. That's why Twelve Stones will spend an average of 2.5 days with people (16-20 hours of counseling depending on the case). In that time, the counselors will (1) listen deeply to the life story of each counselee, (2) carefully draw out the heart (what motives and desires are residing in the heart of the counselee), (3) reframe the patterns of thinking and behavior to reflect what God sees, in order to (4) provide careful and practical biblical counsel. This will be followed up with (5) a detailed action plan that's going to be walked out together with (6) the counselee's advocate(s).

Time and again the counselees who have attended these intensive counseling retreats have shared that where weekly or bi-weekly counseling sessions were not leading to change, the retreat they took part in at Twelve Stones radically changed their lives. God allowed this ministry to be the tool used in order to give people perspective, set them on a path toward healing, give them tools to apply in daily life, and, most importantly, provide hope by pointing them back to the only one through whom real change can come, our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

What's important to understand here though is that the mode of care in biblical counseling is a both/and, not a either/or proposition. This means that regular meetings, like those of the traditional biblical counseling model are just as important in helping people as way of caring that engages those who have more complex, longstanding, or crisis-type issues that get addressed in a retreat type setting.

So, in terms of our journey, Dennis has had the privilege of working at Twelve Stones for three years and is excited to provide this kind of deep care to Germany. He is looking forward also to raising up others who will be able to do similar work in God's kingdom. We are reminded that the fields are ripe for harvest and God's people have great needs for correction, training, encouragement, and faithful, loving care. 

Intensives
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