• Grace and Truth

    Posted on September 14th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments


    The American Association of Christian Counselors’ World Conference
    Grace and Truth

    I’ll be leaving Tuesday morning for and returning Sunday afternoon from the AACC’s 2009 Grace and Truth World Conference.

    Every other year the AACC hosts 5,000-t0-7,000 pastors, lay people, educators, psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, missionaries, spiritual directors, and spiritual friends.

    Great worship, plenary speakers, several hundred ministry “booths,” 40 pre-conference presentations, and scores of track presentations combine with connecting to make this a premier event.

    I’ll be presenting a Pre-Con Wednesday (9-Noon) on Developing a Biblical Methodology of Biblical Counseling.

    Then Friday morning I’ll lead a Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network (BCSFN) Track on How to Practice Comprehensive Biblical Counseling. There are six other great BCSFN Track presentations throughout the week.

    Friday night I’ll faciliate, along with Dr. Ian Jones and Dr. Ron Hawkins, the BCSFN Mixer: sharing our vision for biblical counseling and spiritual formation, hearing from among our over 5,000 BCSFN members how we can further equip them, and dreaming together.

    I’d love to meet any of you in person. If you’re attending, be sure to look me up.

    I’ll also try to Twitter and Facebook along the way to keep you posted.

    For more info: http://www.aacc.net/

    The big event is in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry–it’s like a city all unto itself. Massive.

    In Christ’s Grace,


  • Be Equipped to Change Lives

    Posted on July 17th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Be Equipped to Change Lives


    I’d like to invite you to join me (Bob Kellemen) at the AACC’s World Conference from Wednesday, September 16, 2009 through Saturday, September 19, 2009 in Nashville, TN.


    Our Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network (BCSFN) has many equipping events planned to empower you to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth.


    BCSFN Pre-Conference


    The BCSFN will hold its first “Conference-within-a Conference” during the AACC World Pre-Conference on Wednesday, September 18.


    In the morning session from 9:00 AM to Noon, I (Bob Kellemen) will present on Developing a Theology and Methodology of Biblical Counseling. Learn seven essential biblical counseling competencies necessary to build a truly scriptural approach to Christian counseling.


    In the afternoon session from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, Ron Hawkins will present on Using the Bible Accurately and Effectively in Biblical Counseling.


    To register for the Pre-Conference go here http://tinyurl.com/nw5z2p

    and then select the Pre-Conferences by Kellemen and Hawkins to join others interested in biblical counseling and spiritual formation equipping.


    BCSFN Track Presentations


    During the AACC World Conference, from Thursday, September 17 to Saturday, September 19, the BCSFN has its own track, where we will be hearing from the following speakers:


    *Ian F. Jones, “Biblical Counseling in the Historical Church,” Thursday, September 17, 8:45 to 10:00 AM, Session 103.


    *Gary Moon, “Discipleship vs. Apprenticeship: An Experiential Approach to Spiritual Growth,” Thursday, September 17, 2:15 to 3:30 PM, Session 203.


    *Robert W. Kellemen, “How to Practice Comprehensive Biblical Counseling: Implementing a Dozen Dreams,” Friday, September 18, 8:45-10:00 AM, Session 303. Learn how to care like Christ by providing Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling and spiritual formation.


    *Scott E. Wiggington, “For Crying Out Loud: Reclaiming the Lost Language of Lament in Christian Counseling,” Friday, September 18, 2:15 to 3:30 PM, Session 403.


    *Phil Monroe, “Engaging Biblical Texts in Trauma Therapy,” Friday, September 18, 4:15 to 5:30 PM, Session 503.


    *John Thomas, “What’s Good About Feeling Bad: Developing a Theology of Suffering, Saturday, September 19, 8:45 to 10:00 AM, Session 603.


    *Rick Marrs, “Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered,” Saturday, September 19, 2:15-3:30 PM, Session 703.


    To register for the AACC World Conference Tracks, go here http://tinyurl.com/l284w6 and then select the Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Foundations tracks when you sign-up.


    BCSFN Mixer


    Please join us on Friday evening for the BCSFN Mixer. Our time together will include fellowship, connecting, discussing the latest happenings in the BCSFN, and interacting about ways our division can better equip our members. We want to get to know you and benefit from your participation!


    Register for the AACC World Conference


    Please visit the following link to register for the 2009 AACC World Conference:




  • A Plea for Listening to One Another

    Posted on July 8th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The State of Biblical Counseling Today:

    Discussing the ABC Symposium, Part III

    A Plea for Listening to One Another


    Note: This is Part Three of a three-part blog about the Symposium on Biblical Counseling that took place on May 14, 2009 at the Association of Biblical Counselors’ National Conference.


    My Plan Today, and My Hesitancy Today


    My plan today is to discuss some possible stereotyping that may continue to exist in the field of biblical Christian counseling today. To be very honest, I am very hesitant.


    The ABC Symposium was an incredible bridge-building time—which is a major passion of mine. Since the event, I have received numerous emails and comments like the following one, which was posted on the blog of my friend Dr. Phil Monroe: (http://tinyurl.com/oxpjr9):


    “My gratitude to the four Doctors. I had the privilege of attending the symposium and listening to the discussion. The evidence of love for things primary was apparent. The respect for disagreement on tertiary matters was exemplary. The love for each other in Christ was encouraging. Hats off ‘gentle-men’. Thanks ABC.”


    I believe that the vast majority of people connected with the modern biblical Christian counseling movement interact and think like “the four Doctors.” They/we all try to evidence love for things primary, and respectful disagreement on tertiary matters, with a love for one another and for Christ.


    So, why bring up any possible “stereotyping”?


    Precisely because of my passion for building bridges of communication.


    A Hypothesis


    Here’s my hypothesis. We all give people we identify as being in “our group” a much greater benefit of the doubt than we give to people we identify as being in “another group.”


    I do a great deal of teaching, writing, speaking, and consulting on Christ-based Intercultural Relationships. The Bible has a tremendous amount to say about relating across cultures. In fact, everyone one of the ten classic doctrines of systematic theology address intercultural relationships!


    And guess what, our alphabet soup of counseling groups involve intercultural relating. We don’t think of it that way because we often think of “culture” as ethnicity and race and color of skin. But culture includes any way we have been taught to relate, think, choose, act, and feel by the “group” we associate with, are connected to, and surrounded by. Keep that in mind as you keep reading.


    Here’s What Struck Me


    Pastor Steve Viars is a great friend of mine since kindergarten! Honest—we attended the same elementary school, middle school, high school, Bible college and seminary, were saved in the same church, and discipled in the same youth group. Steve was in my wedding. Pastor Steve is a past President of NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors). I assume that the majority of the nearly-500 people at the symposium self-identify with the NANC more than they do with the group I am with—the American Association of Christian Counselors’ Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Forum (AACC/BCSFN).


    Pastor Steve talked with passion about his church’s nine-month residential treatment center for young women: Vision of Hope. Pastor Steve also talked about wondering if he and more of his staff might want to become state licensed so that more referring agencies would be able to refer. (I am paraphrasing and certainly encourage you to buy the DVD).


    I assume that the vast majority of people who self-identify with Pastor Steve thought, “Incredible. Wonderful. They are reaching out to hurting women. They are taking biblical counseling places it has not always gone!” I do not assume that most people who self-identified with Pastor Steve thought, “He’s going liberal. He’s an ‘integrationist’. He’s sold out!”


    But what if I had highlighted similar ideas and ministries? Would people who do not know me as well, who are not members of the AACC/BCSFN, who may have some caricatures about the AACC, have given me the same benefit of the doubt? Or, would some possibly have taken some of my words out of context and perhaps reported that, “Dr. Kellemen is an “__________”? (Fill in the blank with whatever negative caricature is in vogue.)


    Now, in all fairness. I have had Pastor Viars speak for me at an AACC/BCSFN event. When he spoke candidly and passionately on Ephesians 4:17-32, did all those who self-identify with the AACC/BCSFN truly “hear” what he said? Did they all truly “hear him out”? Or perhaps did some “hear him” only through their stereotyping grid of “nouthetic counseling” and misinterpret what he said, why he said it, and what he meant?


    Here’s the Thing


    As the TV detective, Adrian Monk, would say, “Here’s the thing.” Let’s be good biblical Christian counselors and listen to one another—really listen—without preconceived notions, false caricatures, and unhelpful, inaccurate stereotypes. I’d like to think that is exactly what was modeled by “the four doctors” and President Jeremy Lelek.


    Putting It into Practice


    So how could we put this “cross-cultural listening” into practice? Here are a few practical suggestions, in no particular order.


    1. Learn from those “outside your group.” Buy books and attend seminars of folks from the AACC, BCSFN, CCEF, SCP, NANC, FBCM, etc.


    2. As we read and hear folks from outside our “circles,” allow them to define their own terms. Too often people think, “He used the word _____. Other people use it to mean ______. And I think it means _____. So he obviously thinks it means ______ and that is bad!” Instead, we need to listen with interculturally-sensitive ears so we really hear one another. Only once we’ve accurately heard and understood can we adequately assess.


    3. As we read and hear folks from other agencies, we need to be good Bereans, not bad Corinthians. That about sums it up. Bereans rightly divide the Word of God. Corinthians wrongly divide the people of God. Bereans have a critical mind minus the critical spirit. Corinthians have a critical spirit minus with a shallow mindset. No one is saying “buy everything every person from every group says.” Instead, I am saying, “Let’s all practical good biblical counseling listening where we accurately hear one another without bias, where we rightly divide the Word of God, and when we disagree, we do so without a critical spirit, but with a sharp mind and a loving heart.


    What Do You Think?


    And thus ends my three-part blog mini-series on the ABC Symposium on the State of Biblical Christian Counseling. For those of you who attended and for those of you purchase the DVD, what do you think about the ABC Symposium?


    What is the state of modern biblical Christian counseling?


    How can we build bridges of understanding where we rightly divide God’s Word with sharp minds and loving hearts?