I first came across Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) when I was at Oak Hill Theological College in England. Feeling weighed down by the sheer volume of material I needed to read, it was a great relief to find their minibooks on the reading list! I liked what I read on issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD and more—friendly, down-to-earth, practical and biblical. But it wasn’t until a few years later that I really fell in love with CCEF’s material.
In 2011, the urban church planter I was working for in Roehampton, Duncan Forbes, noticed my passion for relational ministry and encouraged me to study a CCEF module online. As I reflected, the idea seemed more and more appealing. Not only did it relate to pastoral ministry, but its roots were in reformed theology. As I went through CCEF’s School of Biblical Counseling, I found the material exciting— deep and careful thinking about everything the Bible says without any academic “ivory tower” mentality. Their clear aim is to help ordinary people with ordinary struggles, without any hint of self-righteousness or condescension. I loved that it brought the most “heavenly” thinking to the most “earthy” situations. At last! Reformed theology for real people!
So I embarked on a two-year course of 6 modules and a summer intensive requiring about two days a week for lectures, study and essay writing, plus fortnightly evening seminars. Thanks to web-based videos, delivered by David Powlison, Ed Welch, and Winston Smith, the lectures and study could be done whenever was convenient. This was some of the most biblical, edifying, holistic and genuinely useful teaching I’ve ever done, full of “Wow!” and “Aha!” moments. I make use of it nearly every time I do ministry. More than that, I’ve found it’s opened my eyes to thinking more biblically about all personal interactions… that covers a fair amount of life! More specifically, as a missionary with London City Mission, I am often reaching out to people with mental health problems, behavioural issues and very broken family backgrounds. Though CCEF’s material doesn’t give any neat or instant cures or make the issues easy to deal with, it does give a robust, biblical, prayerful, Christ-centred roadmap to find my bearings and discover wise, redemptive and genuinely fruitful ways forward.
This wonderful theology and teaching is making its way to the UK thanks to Biblical Counselling UK. Sites around the country now provide guided seminar groups to chew over the lecture material, let it “bed in” and take first steps at put learning into practice. It’s valuable for anyone wanting to grow in wisdom in personal ministry – particularly those with a pastoral role in their churches, but also preachers, Bible study leaders, elders, deacons and evangelists.
And no, I’m not a sales rep for CCEF—I’m just enthusiastic about what they are doing!
I’ve waxed lyrical about them but let’s never forget that Jesus is the hero in all this. Throughout history He’s been calling unbelievers to himself, forgiving sins, and bringing about wonderful personal change in his people through prayer and the word. But praise God that through this ministry, His wisdom is edifying the church in ministering to one another in His name.
Missionary with London City Mission
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