OIC desires to work cooperatively and collaboratively, never competitively, in any country with others who have a heart for international biblical counseling training. Our quick initiation of an offer of partnership and the gracious response of the other ministry averted the potential for damage in this case.
It is normally expected that those being trained to help others through biblical sufficiency-based soul care ministries will themselves first be touched by the grace of God and experience some measure of personal spiritual growth. That certainly happened to me! But graduate academic classes in biblical counseling are sometimes just another programmatic requirement to be endured. In addition, the academic environment itself can seem theoretical, detached-from-life, even “stuffy.” This is the story – mostly testimonies – of something God did that was the dramatic transformation of lives, families, and churches through the first two classes of a new academic program.
As I write, Susie and I are enjoying a week at home between our ministries in Ukraine and Egypt. (That sounds like a real-life illustration of the idiom, “Out of the frying pan and into the fire!”) We were joined in Ukraine by Andrew Rogers (Pastor of Soul Care, College Park Church, Indianapolis) who taught Biblical Counseling and Theology, the final course in our Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling through Kyiv Theological Seminary for Overseas Instruction in Counseling.
Because we’ve just returned from extended ministry with our Arab brothers and sisters, that part of the world is, today, especially on our hearts. In partnership with a well-respected, regionally-accredited, Christian academic institution (the largest in the Middle East), OIC currently directs graduate degree programs (Master of Biblical Counseling) in both Egypt and Lebanon. A similar program is scheduled to begin in Jordan in Fall, 2014.