Nearly four years after I began the process, (3 years, 11 months, to be exact), today I completed the NANC certification process.
A couple of thoughts about the process:
- I am grateful for the rigor and demands of the process. The discipline of study for the basic training and the exams were good for my mind and heart. The demands of preparing for and reflecting on each counseling session made me think more carefully and intentionally about the biblical process of change and transformation. The patience required for persevering in the completion of a long process without immediate positive reinforcement each day was good for deepening my trust in the Lord. Regardless of how I will use this certification in ministry (and I will), the process itself was good for deepening my life with Christ.
- I went into the supervision process with some level of apprehension. I don’t always respond to criticism and correction in a God-honoring way. But the process was such a great benefit to me spiritually. My supervisor was clear, direct, and unhesitating to correct flaws and move me in a new direction. It was for my good not only as a counselor, but as a follower of Christ. I am better equipped to serve others and I am (I trust) more like Christ because of the hours I spent in supervision.
- Much about the process of certification is humbling — am I willing to let others teach and build into me? Am I willing to be corrected? Will I be patient and persevere with the process when it seems to be going slowly? And that is for my spiritual benefit.
- There have also been some sweet graces along the way — some surprising providences that were a blessing and that may yet come with even more blessing for me and for our church family (e.g., contacts made with members of NANC that may provide us with opportunities to have other speakers at our conferences, and maybe even the opportunity become a NANC fellow in a few years). Isn’t that the way the gracious providence of God works? Just be faithful to serve Him and then see what blessings He will work in your life.
- This process has never been about completing the certification as an end in itself, but completing the certification so that I will be better equipped to continue doing what I’m already doing. It has not only done that, but also demonstrated to me my need to continue growing in Christ and feeding my soul and receiving training, so I can be an increasingly effective discipler and trainer.
- I am grateful for our church body that not only supports the biblical counseling ministry (we now have four certified counselors, several members who are working on their exams to become certified, a training center, and someone who is actively working on becoming a fellow), but also is committed to the Scriptures and the process of change and spiritual growth in its members. Grace has always been a very special place, and it continues to demonstrate that reality in multiple ways!
So, certification is complete — now let’s get to work!