Healing-Discipleship: a new move of God in the church
It wasn’t a social visit. We were 33 years old and it was the office of a friend and mentor. We were there for help working through a couple of struggles in our 13-year marriage. We had three great kids, a mortgage, one and a half incomes; we attended church regularly but then we had to…I was the pastor.
My mentor was an experienced counsellor so we were in good hands. Twenty minutes into our first “session” my friend spoke the seven words that God would later use to birth a new ministry: “You guys don’t need counselling; you need healing.” It was a new concept for us. I’m sure we could have used a few sessions on communication or conflict resolution. All of us can. But my mentor saw through the symptoms of brokenness that were expressing themselves in our relationship to the deeper heart issues that needed healing. We experienced it in our own lives so we knew it was possible. Seven years later Freedom Session was born and for the past 13 years we have been ministering healing – in the name of Jesus – to wounded and broken hearts in thousands of Christians and soon-to-be-Christians alike.
Freedom Session is not a recovery program, and though those who struggle with typical recovery issues find FS life-changing, we take people on a much deeper journey. Our end goal is also different, because we believe Jesus wants us to offer more than recovery. Specifically, FS offers healing through discipleship!
As a church, we’ve been called to do one thing: make disciples of all people. But how do we make disciples of the 70 per cent of our men and 25 per cent of our women enslaved to pornography? How will more biblical knowledge or teaching on spiritual gifts bring about spiritual maturity the one in four women and one in seven men who’ve been sexually abused? Peter Scazzero, in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, suggests that “emotional health and spiritual maturity are inseparable.” What if he’s right? How do we teach perfectionists, people pleasers, workaholics, those who’ve terminated a pregnancy or are on the brink of divorce to effectively share their faith?
The answer is simple (but not easy). We first minister healing to the deeper issues of the heart. Once people meet Jesus in their pain – and we all have some – they start “leaking Jesus out” everywhere they go. The main reason Christians don’t share their faith is not a lack of training – it’s because their “faith” has not worked for them in the deepest places of their heart. The one place we have found Jesus consistently wants to meet us in is our pain. It’s one of the reasons He shed His blood. Salvation does mean “go to heaven” but also to be “set free, made whole and delivered.” And that is where our discipleship needs to start.
All that to say: every one of us has a measure of brokenness within. And we all have a few unhealthy means by which we attempt to hide it, numb it, blame it or take it out on others.
Churches who understand this will also come to realize that healing – emotional, spiritual and relational – must become a normative component of the discipleship journey. This is the niche where Freedom Session finds its anointing.
On June 1, a brand new version of Freedom Session and Authentic Living is being released and will be offered in churches and living rooms across Canada and the US. And if you can’t find a FS near you, My Personal Freedom Session is available.
Emotional health IS the foundation of spiritual maturity. And until we all reach a deeper measure of spiritual maturity, the Healing-Discipleship movement will continue to grow.
ken b dyck is author and Executive Director of Freedom Session International Ministries freedomsession.com