Emmaus Road Church
Emmaus Road Church
Making and multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ.

A Vision for Biblical Counseling


Imagine the gospel opportunities we would have to make, mature, and multiply disciples…

…if Emmaus Road Church had a team of biblical counselors who served people in our church and community. Steve Viars describes the counseling ministry at his church:

“The Lord has given me the privilege of serving as a pastor in Lafayette, Indiana for nearly 25 years. Our county population hovers around 165,000, and our city is home to Purdue University. In many ways we are a typical mid-sized Midwestern town. We have an interesting mixture of engineers and farmers, radicals and soccer moms, athletes and couch potatoes. Lafayette is large enough to have a television station but small enough that there is rarely anything exciting on the news. …

“In 1977 our church launched a biblical counseling center to serve our community. We wanted to glorify God in our town by offering counseling services based on God’s sufficient Word. We also wanted to provide a place where other pastors, missionaries, and key lay leaders could receive training that would prepare them to offer similar ministries wherever God placed them. Decades later we offer 80-120 hours of biblical counseling each week to members of our community--all free of charge. We have found this to be a marvelous way to shine the light of Christ in our town by sharing his love with people in need. Through the years scores of men and women have been won to Christ through this ministry, and many Christians have found answers and direction for how to grow and change through applying God’s Word to their lives.” - Counseling the Hard Cases (edited by Heath Lambert and Stuart Scott)

Lafayette sounds a lot like Sioux Falls, doesn’t it? Can you imagine? That’s 80-120 people each week who are encountering Jesus Christ, not as an abstract idea, but as Savior and Redeemer right in the midst of their marital conflicts, parenting challenges, addictions, sexual sin, anger, depression, grief, anxiety, and financial difficulties. That’s the functional centrality of the gospel on steroids, delivered through the personal ministry of the Word.

If that vision stirs you and you have any desire to help launch a biblical counseling ministry, we encourage you to explore ACBC Certification. That’s the first major milestone in the process. We are asking God to raise up men and women in our church who are uniquely empowered by the Spirit with wisdom and skill in counseling.




The Learning Phase of ACBC Certification comprises three parts:

  • 30 hours of basic training

  • 1,000 pages of reading

  • 10 hours of observation

Basic Training

There are several ways to complete the 30+ hours of basic training course. You can attend the ACBC Fundamentals Track to fulfill this requirement, or you can complete 30 hours of training from an online ACBC certified training center like the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD).


ACBC Fundamentals Track

The ACBC Fundamentals Track will be offered in Sioux Falls on March 22-23, April 26-27, and May 17-18. Click the button below to register.


IBCD Care & Discipleship Course

IBCD offers a basic training course that satisfies the requirements for ACBC certification. Each level is 20 hours, so you will have to complete all of Level 1 and at least 10 hours of Level 2. You can access the audio recordings for free on IBCD’s website (click the buttons below) or on iTunes. You can access videos (including observation videos) by subscribing for $55/year.


ACBC Online

ACBC offers online training at certain times of the year. They also link to other ACBC certified training centers that offer online training courses.



The second part of the Learning Phase is reading 1,000 pages from the ACBC Approved Reading List. You can begin reading and logging your pages any time, and even if you never never pursue certification with ACBC, these titles will help you grow both as a disciple and a disciple-maker. Don’t forget to log the pages you read!


The final step in the Learning Phase requires you to observe 10 hours of biblical counseling by an ACBC certified counselor. You can fulfill this requirement by watching the observation videos produced by IBCD. Emmaus Road owns a set of four counseling cases that you are welcome to borrow (see Ryan.) Or you can purchase an individual subscription to IBCD and stream all of their observation videos on demand.





After you complete the Learning Phase, you are ready to start two exams: the theology exam and the counseling exam. Both exams are open-book and you are free to work at your own pace. For access to study material and classes, talk to Ryan.


You are ready to begin the application for ACBC Certification!





Once your application is approved and your exams are completed, the final step toward certification is supervision. Over the course of one year, an ACBC Fellow will supervise you while you complete 50 hours of counseling.