NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) opened its biennial World Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort on Wednesday night, where 7,000 mental health professionals, church leaders, professors, psychologists, psychiatrists and caregivers gathered for a half-a-week of professional development, networking and inspiration.
This year’s conference, themed “Break Every Chain,” features plenary sessions delivered by some of America’s leading clinicians, mental health experts, pastors and ministry leaders. Among these are Anne Graham Lotz, Dr. Caroline Leaf, Ph.D., John Ortberg, Ph.D., Dr. Michael Lyles, M.D., Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Dr. Harold G. Koenig of Duke University, Jack Graham pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas and more.
In his opening remarks, AACC President Tim Clinton encouraged the assembled delegates to look to faith in a time of heightened national and international concern. Amid unrest, rumors of wars, natural disasters, religious persecution and racial tension, Clinton said, “When life’s not the way it’s supposed to be, those times of trouble in your life, [God] is our refuge and our strength. He’s a present help in times of trouble. Our response, therefore, is that we won’t fear.”
“It’s time for a generation of counselors that know that He is the great chain-breaker — a people that knows that there’s power in the name of Jesus,” said Clinton.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and the evening’s keynote speaker, addressed the crowd of counselors, calling them to be light in the middle of prevailing darkness.
“We illuminate our surroundings when we embrace the truth that Christianity stands measured, not by the level of rhetorical eloquence, but rather by the constant of loving actions,” Rev. Rodriguez said. “Be light!”
Grammy and Dove award-winning Christian band For King and Country closed out the evening.
This year’s World Conference is designed to equip licensed counselors and lay caregivers to better attend to people’s mental health needs. Attendees will choose from more than 175 workshops delivered by licensed clinicians and tailored across 27 tracks focusing on psychosocial, mental and relational health. Counselors will be able to earn up to 24.5 continuing education credits through these professional workshops.
Three key highlights of the conference include an emphasis on racial reconciliation, suicide prevention and the national opioid crisis. These issues will be approached from a clinical and faith-based perspective, inviting professional counselors and the greater church body to find holistic and compassionate solutions for hurting people.
“In these sensitive times of escalating racial tensions, national drug epidemics, astonishing rates of suicide and mass disaster, the work and compassion of Christian counselors could be the answer so many hurting people need,” said Dr. Clinton. “This year’s World Conference, as it always has, will equip thousands of pastors, clinicians and caregivers so they can better serve hurting people.”
Since 1986, the AACC has trained and equipped counseling professionals and lay caregivers to better serve and care for the psychological, social, spiritual and emotional needs of countless persons throughout America and the world. Today, with nearly 50,000 members worldwide, the American Association of Christian Counselors is the largest Christian organization of its kind in the world.
The organization’s gatherings, publications, and programs have played a pivotal role in shaping the modern Christian counseling movement, and it has remained on the leading edge of research at the intersection of faith and mental health.
The AACC’s 2017 World Conference is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, Sept. 27-30. Information on the conference, including schedule, keynote speakers, and the full list of workshops, is available here.
About the AACC
With nearly 50,000 members worldwide, the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is the world’s largest and most diverse association of Christian counseling professionals. The AACC’s mission is to equip the entire community of care, including licensed professionals, pastors and lay caregivers, with biblical truth and psychosocial insights so they can minister to hurting persons and help them move to personal wholeness, interpersonal competence and mental stability. The AACC accomplishes this mission through its widely attended events, its educational programs and materials available via Light University and the AACC’s publications. Life, Love and Family, hosted by AACC President Tim Clinton, Ph.D., airs on American Family Radio and is heard Monday-Friday on nearly 300 stations.
Facebook | American Association of Christian Counselors
Twitter | @theaacc