Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

By Kaylie Decker

I. Overview

In 1976 Dr. Jay Adams founded the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) with the desire that the organization and its rigorous certification process would become the backbone of the biblical counseling movement. Today the organization is now known as the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is the oldest and largest biblical counseling organization in the world. The training and certification of ACBC counselors is recognized worldwide with over 1,700 counselors in 30 countries that speak 30 languages with these numbers growing yearly.  ACBC also has over 60 certified training centers ranging from seminaries to churches.

II. History

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) was founded in 1976. In the previous decade Jay Adams had created the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) as a center for the training of biblical counselors. Jay Adams desired that the organization and its certification process would become the backbone of the biblical counseling movement.

Recognizing that crucial need, Jay Adams and the board of CCEF created an independent certifying organization to do this work. Originally named the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC), the association began using a three-part process of evaluation including training in the basics of biblical counseling, testing in counseling and theology, and supervision to demonstrate counseling skill. This three-part certification process is still in use today.

Since 1976, ACBC has grown from a handful of certified counselors to membership in the thousands. Now in their fourth decade of pursuing excellence in biblical counseling, they have had six executive directors, Dr. Bob Smith, Dr. Howard Eyrich, Rev. Bill Goode, and Rev. Randy Patten. Dr. Heath Lambert, and Dr. Dale Johnson.

III. Resources


Board members of ACBC[1]:

Ron Allchin

Kevin Backus

Brad Brandt

Nathan Currey

Dale Johnson

Jim Newheiser

Keith Palmer

Tim Pasma

Lance Quinn

Andrew Rogers

George Scipione

Bob Somerville

John Street

Steve Viars

Staff Members of ACBC[2]:

Dale Johnson (Executive Director)

Rhenn Cherry (Director of Finances and Donor Relations)

Stuart Scott (Director of Membership Services)

Amber Komatsu (Membership Services Coordinator)

Sam Stephens (Director of Training Center Certification)

Nate Grote (Conference Coordinator)

Taron Defevers (Executive Assistant to the Director of Operations)

Caitlynn Bernardy (Executive Assistant to Dr. T. Dale Johnson)

Kristin Defevers (Office Administrator)

Renee Hoskins (Manager of Online Content)




The ACBC reading list is part of the certification process. It consists of many books with a wide variety of different topics covering the Biblical Counseling methods. There is a whole website dedicated to the books used by ACBC and recommended by them. Each of the books are sorted into categories such as Counseling and Family versus Intro to Biblical Counseling.

Some being:

A Theology of Christian Counseling – Jay Adams

Basic Theology – Charles C. Ryrie

When People are Big, and God is Small – Edward T. Welch

Spiritual Depression – Martyn Lloyd

Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety – Elyse Fitzpatrick

Finally Free – Heath Lambert

The Peacemaker – Ken Sande

The Christian Counselors Manual – Jay E. Adams

Big Truths for Young Hearts – Bruce Ware

The ACBC website says, “Individuals pursuing ACBC Certification are required to read 1,000 pages or more from the following resources, 300 pages of which must be from the Biblical Counseling & Theology text category.”

Mini books

There is a Biblical Counseling site that anyone can visit to find pamphlets and mini books to read or use for projects.

Blog Posts




There are many conferences put on by the organization. If you look at their home page and go to events, it gives a list of all the upcoming conferences. These are put on as teaching tools for those who are interested in counseling, pastors, elders, leaders in the church, those in ministry, etc. The conferences are a good resource to those who are not certified and would like to get a look into how to counsel those either in a personal situation or their church/ministry.


ACBC does not practice counseling but only certifies counselors for the work of counseling.

  1. External Links










Works Cited