We believe the primary context of counseling should be in community and that we, as believers are called to counsel. Therefore, we seek to come alongside the local church to equip them to respond in crisis by providing training through the Equipped to Counsel course, training events, and conferences. Our goal is to return counseling to the local church.
The History of Made to Minister
In 1994 the Elder’s at Salem Heights Church (SHC) saw a need to offer biblical counsel to church members in need. The original effort to fulfill this need resulted in the hiring of two professionally trained counselors. Each counselor hired had been trained in counseling theory and Bible. These two individuals were to offer counseling services 5-10 hours a week. As the ministry continued to offer biblical counseling to church members the ministry also grew in its outreach to the community.
By the early 2000’s the ministry had grown to a size that we were not always able to meet the need of the amount of counseling requests. Most often the solution was to make referrals to Christian Professionals in the community that provided counseling on a fee bases. As we continued to see the need for biblical counsel grow, we began a strategy to provide training in the local church in order to equip lay Biblical Counselors. Our first efforts began with the use of a variety of books and curriculum. The foundational study content was provided by Master’s College on pastoral and biblical counseling. This training allowed us to train and supervise lay Biblical counselors to meet the needs of SHC and the community.
As an established Biblical Counseling ministry, our next stage of development would pursue additional training for our lay counselors, an opportunity to interact with other professional and lay counselors, and the credibility and accountability of a National Certification. In 2013 the ministry at SHC began to seek certification from the Association of Biblical Counseling (ABC) for lay Biblical Counselors and began to train ministry staff with the training materials provided by ABC called “Equipped to Counsel.”
In 2015 SHC fulfilled the requirements to provide training and supervision to offer national certification as an ABC Regional Training Center. In 2018 we will train our 5th and 6th cohort. These cohorts include lay members serving in a variety of roles in the local church, professional counselors seeking Biblical training, and full time ministers and Pastor’s. In addition, we have provided training for members and ministry staff from about 19 congregations within the Willamette Valley.
We have applied the “Equipped to Counsel” curriculum as a ministry training tool and missionary care in Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, and Russia. Our desire is to offer training to individuals, congregations, and leaders in
the ministry of the Word of God in the form of biblical counseling/discipleship.