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About CCEF

Restoring Christ to Counseling & Counseling to the Church

Biblical Counseling at CCEF

The aim of CCEF is to consider how caring for people’s souls can be increasingly wise and helpful. This is sometimes identified as biblical counseling. We intend this not as a protected trademark but as a body of work to which many contribute. It describes the troubles we face, how those troubles are experienced, how God speaks to us during those troubles, and how we help each other with wisdom and love.

Our Mission

CCEF works to restore Christ to counseling.

Each of us has personal and interpersonal struggles. Jesus Christ knows those struggles, he cares about strugglers, and so he enters into our lives. We see him bring about significant change in people’s lives every day. Because this is who Christ is, and because this is what he does, he is preeminently relevant to counseling. This conviction is our heritage and heartbeat.

CCEF works to restore counseling to the church.

We believe that the body of Christ is God’s primary context for change. God uses Christian community to transform his people. CCEF’s mission is to equip the church to be this kind of transforming community. We see ourselves as an extension of the local church, and we want to serve and promote its ministry. The good news of the gospel is meant to be preached, taught, and counseled with relevance to individual people. Our goal is to equip Christians for life and ministry.

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Our Building Blocks

Our building blocks describe our path forward—the way we order our priorities most strategically in order to fulfill our mission. We cannot restore Christ to counseling and counseling to the church without prioritizing the following four elements.

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Remaining Connected to Christ

We must remain rooted in Christ—personally, corporately, and doctrinally.


Breaking New Ground

We aim to create faithful, fresh, and timely resources that go wider and deeper into the treasures of Scripture and the troubles of life.

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Equipping People

Our ministry must include hands-on feedback and training that effectively equips God's people to grow in counseling.


Making a Critical Contribution to the Church

We want to make everything we do as accessible as possible to churches, designed for the benefit of churches, and with the goal of strengthening local churches around the world.


Our Distinctives

Within the growing CCEF literature and teaching, there is a common core. Here are seven recurring themes within that core.

( 1 ) first distinctive —

The personal God gets personal with us

The triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit—has always known reciprocal fellowship and unity, and he has created us to participate in that fellowship. He welcomes us to himself through Jesus Christ. The Spirit connects us to Jesus, and Jesus is the only way to the Father.

This foundational reality has critical implications. God’s plan is to be close to us and for us to draw near to him. Herein lies the source of our interest in relationships and human connection. In response, our care for each other is inviting and familial.

( 2 ) second distinctive —

Scripture comes from the mouth of God

The Spirit presses the very word of God into our hearts. He reveals Jesus. In Jesus, we find all wisdom and goodness. No one else can so deeply nurture and sustain us.

The Spirit applies Scripture to our hearts. “The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:10). Here are implications of this truth.

  • Scripture must shape the details of our counsel, including how and why we listen, what is important, how we speak, and what we say.
  • Scripture must be the lens through which we see the world and its many observations about people. For example, we can see “defense mechanisms” through the lens of humanity’s tendency to run anywhere except to the Good Shepherd in order to defend ourselves from the reality of our sin and suffering, to hide from the Lord, and to blame others. Put another way, we want to translate everything we hear, including the best and most helpful observations of the secular world around us, back into the language of Scripture.

In short, we aim to understand everything through this question: Who is the Lord and what has he said?

( 3 ) third distinctive —

We are embodied souls shaped by a world of influences

People are complex creatures. We are affected by our own bodies, other people, culture, work, money, spiritual beings, and much more. These contribute to our endless diversity, and they can build us up or tear us down.

The following graphic is one way to capture the complexity of these influences. The circles represent the prominent categories that influence us. The person—body and heart—is at the center.


( 4 ) fourth distinctive —

Our hearts are active

Amid the swarm of life’s influences is the human heart—that is, the soul. Made in God’s image, we are both physical and spiritual. To know the heart is to know the person. And to know a person you must know what he or she desires and loves.

The heart has depth and layers. Most apparent are our natural desires for love and meaningful work. These desires are either satisfied or thwarted. And there are our emotions—anger, fear, shame, love. All of these reveal what is important to us.


( 5 ) fifth distinctive —

Help and change follow a path, but not a script

The care of souls is not formulaic or predictable. What helps one person might not help another. When you listen to people’s stories, you can be helpful in so many ways. Some will be strengthened by a particular text of Scripture. Others will be moved by a personal story that helps them see God and their relationship to him in a new way, an act of love giving a taste of God’s kindness, or the death of a friend painfully reminding them of human need for redemption of body and soul. God uses people, circumstances, his Word, our own choices, and the direct power of his Spirit. Humility is an essential quality of a helper. We are constantly reliant on God, the wisdom and experience of others, and the input of those we help.


( 6 ) sixth distinctive —

Care and counsel are pastoral and at home in the church

As the care of souls, biblical counseling is the ministry of the Word done face-to-face. It shares the same interests as the preaching of the Word in that it brings the many facets of the gospel of Jesus to the details of daily life. Yet its setting is the wise, encouraging conversations that are essential to church vitality, and the skillful help offered during crises. Biblical counseling is one-another ministry carried out by every person in the church in which we speak the truth in love so that we might all grow up into Christ (Eph 4:15).

From this home in the church, biblical counseling moves out and appears in conversations with neighbors, parachurch organizations that strengthen communities, professional counseling offices, and many other places where God’s people work to meaningfully bring the truth of Scripture to the troubles of life.

( 7 ) seventh distinctive —

Biblical counseling engages with the voices around us

Biblical counselors are not alone in our desire to help others. There are many helpful Christian voices out there, and yet there are differences among us. Differences in practice usually reflect different theological emphases, particularly differences in how to understand people and how people change. There are also many secular voices whose differences in practice reflect more fundamental differences about who God is and his activity in our lives.

Our view of science is not a primary difference with other Christian and secular voices. Like others, we make observations about people that are useful to our counseling practice. We are also intentional to learn from the observations and experience of others, which includes the burgeoning Christian and secular literature. Biblical counseling adds, however, that all these sources are then interpreted and refined by the question: Who is the Lord and what does he say?

When we do find differences between biblical counseling and other counseling theories, we aim to identify the strengths in those theories and represent others and their viewpoints accurately. When we disagree, we want to engage with respect and a generous spirit, as if we were face-to-face.

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We have come a long way in our journey to grow in counseling wisdom. And we still have a long way to go.

We aspire to be continually refined and sharpened. As we go forward, we continue to explore how the riches of Scripture meet the complexities of life. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bring real hope and a vision for change. May our God grant us ears to hear, eyes to see, compassionate and humble hearts, and a desire to grow together.

What We Do


Our counselors seek to walk alongside struggling and suffering people with humility, love, and biblical wisdom. We also offer consultations to ministry leaders and counselors to help them better serve those in their care.


Our authors produce resources that are rooted in Scripture, practical, and accessible to individuals and churches.


Our annual national conference is a place for God’s people to come together for learning and encouragement. Throughout the year, our faculty also speak and teach at various opportunities in the US and around the world.


Our courses train students to embody the wisdom and love of Jesus in their interpersonal ministry, whether laypeople, pastors, or even vocational counselors.

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