Our Mission: We exist to strengthen the local church’s pursuit of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission by teaching a biblical view of worship & discipleship as a lifestyle for every believer, everywhere, all of the time, with everyone they meet.
Our Vision: BBCM seeks to develop and equip competent and compassionate lay-counselors for the ministry of discipleship and biblical counseling. We see BBCM as a strategic training ministry to equip the local church to fulfill the Great Commission, locally, regionally, globally.
We exist to proclaim the exclusive hope of the Gospel and the sufficiency of God’s Word for all of life.
We exist to provide free, practical, biblical counsel to anyone, regardless of church affiliation.
We exist to equip lay-people for the work of the ministry of discipleship and biblical counseling.
We exist to assist other churches in their pursuit of the Great Commandment and Great Commission.
What is Biblical Counseling? Biblical counseling is God-centered, Christ-exalting, compassionate burden-bearing through the sufficient Word of God; it is a ministry empowered by the Holy Spirit and prayer within the authority and structure of the local church. Therefore, our biblical counselors are committed to sharing the wisdom, truth, hope, comfort and encouragement of the Word of God to re-shape perspectives, clarify life’s purposes, teach biblical principles, and equip others to rightly respond to circumstances for God’s glorify.
Our Philosophy: We believe that the Bible provides thorough wisdom and instruction for a life that is pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5:9). Therefore, our discipleship & counseling is based on scriptural principles rather than on those of secular psychology or psychiatry (Colossians 2:8). Although some of the pastoral or lay counselors of Bethany Community Church may be trained or licensed in other fields, such as medicine or psychology, they will not practice in that capacity but only as biblical counselors under the authority of the elders of Bethany Community Church. As such, your counseling will be offered with the conviction that the Bible is our only final and ultimate authoritative source for us to learn how to respond to all of life. If you are hesitant as to whether you will be helped by our counseling, please feel free to come for as long as you believe is needed to discover what biblical counseling is like. We believe that biblical counsel consists of giving of scriptural advice and the practical application of the same to each individual. Therefore, we do expect you to take your responsibilities to work hard and cooperate with your counselor’s advice and direction. In the regrettable even that at some point in your counseling you are unwilling to accept the Bible as your final authority in counseling or if you are unwilling to do the assigned homework, your counselor may choose to discontinue meeting.
Our Counselors: Our counselors are trained in biblical theology and biblical principles. Our counselors are not licensed clinicians, psychotherapists or mental health professionals. As biblical counselors, we do not offer advice based on psychological philosophies, even though some of our counselors may have been trained in those disciplines. If you believe that you would benefit from psychological counseling, psychotherapy, or from other mental health professionals, please consult with your current health-care provider for a referral.
Our Counselor’s Role: Our counselors are not infallible; however, they are equipped and competent to help you find wisdom from the Bible to help you respond to your specific issues. Your counselors will be serve as your “coach” and “cheerleader”, at times speaking directly to issues and principles, other times encouraging you when you need it. We will do our best to describe the key issues that need to be addressed, and help you understand how to make progress so that you can learn how to “counsel yourself” and get involved with others in close relationships.
Counselee's Role: Your ability to address your problems in a way that honors God and glorifies Him will be directly linked to your willingness to make serious changes in your life by applying new principles. We cannot help you if you do not approach this partnership with a learner's spirit. Your success in addressing your problems depends on the amount of time you invest in completing assignments and implementing new principles in your life. We expect you to keep your appointments in a timely manner. Your counselor may choose to suspend the process if you fail to complete your assignments as requested. We ask that you commit to being a learner, that you diligently complete your assignments and that you patiently give the counseling process time to produce the deep changes God desires.
Non-Bethany Counselees: We gladly serve anyone outside of our Bethany Community Church family. We do desire to recognize and respect the authority of your church and therefore encourage you to invite your pastor or someone from its leadership to accompany you in counseling sessions. Their involvement will facilitate your continued growth in your local church after you graduate from the counseling process. If you don’t have a home church, we expect you to attend Bethany Community Church, or other Bible believing church on a weekly basis. We also will ask permission to communicate with your pastor before beginning the counseling process.
The Counseling Team: BBCM is primarily a counseling training ministry, therefore you can expect to have a counselor-in-training and/or a personal mentor or observer involved in your sessions. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to be able to help someone else by allowing them to be exposed to the counseling process in “real time”. Please be assured that trainees, mentors and observers are committed to respecting you and guarding your privacy. Depending on availability, we will assign mentors to disciple you between sessions and possibly continuing for a short period of time after ‘graduation’. We require male counselors to have someone present with any female counselee.
Why are Trainees Involved: Our primary commitment is to train counselors so we will ensure a growing, long-lasting presence in the community. We cannot provide free counseling without continually training more counselors. Only under rare exceptions will we counsel without trainees being involved. You can expect trainees’ involvement to be commensurate with their experience and training. You can expect their prayers on your behalf throughout the week as well as during sessions. We believe that your counseling experience will be greatly enhanced with the involvement of trainees.
Communication and Community: We believe it is in your best interest and is imperative to our mission for your lead counselor to communicate regularly the appropriate leadership of your local church and them members of your counseling team. Your signature below gives us permission to discuss the necessary information in regard to your situation with the appropriate and concerned parties in accordance with the confidentiality guidelines explained below. Please read the following information carefully.
Biblical Confidentiality: We are committed to protecting your privacy and carefully guarding the information you share with us. However, since we offer biblical, spiritual counsel, the law may place limits on the confidentiality of the information that you share with us. We do not have the broad confidentiality privileges of a psychotherapist or other licensed mental health professional, so it is entirely possible that our records could be subpoenaed and/or that we could be required to testify in judicial proceedings involving you or your family members. If you have concerns about the confidentiality of any information you intend to share with B.B.C.M., you should consult an attorney before revealing the information to us. Please rest assured that we strongly prefer not to disclose your personal information and that we will make every effort to protect your privacy within the limits of the law.
Please be aware of the following circumstances where we may need to disclose some information we obtain during our counseling relationship:
1. If there is a clear indication that someone (including yourself) may be harmed without intervention.
2. If there is clear evidence of illegal activity, (see Romans 13:1-7).
3. If there is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse, the counselor will act in accordance with the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act [325 ILCS 5/], (see Romans 13:1-7).
4. If we are subpoenaed or court ordered to disclose information (see Romans 13:1-7).
5. If your counselor is uncertain of how to address a particular problem, he/she may seek advice from another staff member, elder, or counselor, anonymously, of course, (Prov. 11:24;15:22; 24:6).
6. If there is persistent refusal to respond to biblical truth and renounce a particular sin, we will seek the assistance of others in the Body of Christ to encourage repentance and reconciliation. In the unfortunate event of an impasse, we will implement the formal process of church discipline for members of Bethany Community Church, (see Proverbs 15:22, 24:11 and Matthew 18:15-20).
Please understand that we are committed to protect your privacy with the utmost care as we seek to help you resolve the difficult situations.
Cost: All counseling is offered free of charge as a ministry of Bethany Community Church, however, you may be asked to purchase materials as a part of the weekly homework assignments. If you wish to contribute to the counseling ministry’s ongoing expenses, we would be grateful for your support. In such cases, checks should be made payable to Bethany Community Church rather than to any individual.
Resolution of Conflicts: On rare occasions, a conflict may develop between a counselor and a counselee. Should this occur, we ask that you help us address any such conflicts in a biblical manner by appealing first to your counselor. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please contact the Biblical Counseling Administrator. If your concerns continue, please contact any Bethany Community Church elder to find a resolution. We commit to making every effort to resolve conflict in a manner according to the principles of scripture (see Matthew 18:15-20).
What to Expect: Please allow up to 3 hours for your first appointment. Subsequent visits are generally 60-90 minutes. The first session involves reviewing your personal profile, sharing your life-story and discussing your reasons for coming. Your counselor will present a high-level, general counseling outline for your counseling relationship and will give you some basic homework. Please be patient, it may take a few sessions to develop an actual plan to address your specific needs and concerns. We ask that you come with a learner’s spirit and a commitment to pursing the hard work of change. We do be ask that you to commit to completing 1-6 hours of homework per week, depending upon your situation and your counselor’s discretion.
How Do I Begin Counseling?
To start the counseling process, under Care and Support click Application for Counseling or call the office to receive an application, fill out the personal profile and return it by mail or in person. (You are welcome to type your answers if this is easier for you, however, we do not recommend that you email your personal profile to us to protect your sensitive information.)
We ask that on your profile, if submitted electronicically, you sign verifying that you have read this document in its entirety and agree to all the parameters herein states, including the Communication and Community and Biblical Confidentiality sections.
After we receive your completed personal profile, we will put you on our waitlist. Once we’ve identified an available counselor, we’ll contact you to schedule your first appointment in the first available opening.
If you have an urgent need, please let us know right away and we will do our best to make adjustments to meet with you as soon as possible for an initial assessment meeting.
For more information or if you are interesting in counseling, please contact Heather at the office.