I have been involved with church ministry as long as I can remember, and I completely understand the hesitation in adding another curriculum or another ministry. Time is limited for most people, and I have no desire to waste precious time. So I sought to write First Freedoms as a valuable contribution to meeting the need for tools in prayer and offering steps to encounter God rather than just providing rote biblical teachings.
My focus was on equipping the church.
I wanted to do this by providing leaders with a structure to develop discipleship. While writing First Freedoms, I leaned on not only my years in ministry but also on other church leaders in a variety of capacities. I listened to their insights, suggestions, and clearly defined goals since this book was a response to their requests for help in personal prayer and freedom. I am grateful for their oversight and input as we share the same goals to equip the church. In this post, I share my personal testimony of impact with you about this material, and then I share the testimonies of others.
My Personal Experience with First FreedomsMy home church taught First Freedoms to approximately 70 participants (both men and women) in the initial pilot of the book. When the class was taught the following year, the interest had doubled in participation. We also offered it as an online class to introduce the book to church leaders across the country. One of the biggest outcomes was the book’s propelling people into Freedom Prayer times who previously had not attended. Many signed up for an individual prayer session for the first time during the First Freedoms class. Over the years of leading Freedom Prayer ministries, I had noticed many people were unwilling to join a Freedom Prayer time because of fear, misconceptions about inner healing, or uncertainty about this type of prayer. At the conclusion of First Freedoms, they were much more likely to step into a prayer time and did so willingly because the study gently introduced the topics. First Freedoms not only propelled participants into prayer times, but it also led some to step into ministry as leaders themselves.
This study became the catalyst for new Freedom Prayer team members.
And it also solidified the concepts for those wanting to learn more or even lead small groups. It was both a refresher for ministry leaders in prayer and discipleship but also a way to dive deeper into understanding key tools for spiritual freedom. One of my favorite outcomes was several participants began incorporating these tools at home with their families and small group gatherings. Listed below are testimonies of some of the leaders who gave me input. I hope their stories encourage you to take your group through First Freedoms.
Sam’s Experience, a Pastoral TestimonySam Parnell is the executive pastor at Ethos Church, Nashville, Tennessee. He writes the following: First Freedoms serves as an important discipleship tool for equipping our church family to grow in their personal relationship with God through prayer. Through the training and teaching of First Freedoms, we have experienced an increase in participation in personal Freedom Prayer times, growth in the number of people leading and serving on our Freedom Prayer team, and powerful testimonies from our church family using these tools in their homes with family, friends, and neighbors.
This book has provided our small group leaders with tools.
These tools lead others in developing personal prayer lives, recognizing the schemes of the enemy, and finding healing from past emotional woundings. Ethos Church is so thankful for First Freedoms!
Emily’s Experience, a Team Leader’s TestimonyEmily Linge is a Freedom Prayer team leader in Evansville, Indiana, and a former missionary. She writes the following: My journey into freedom began in the late ’90s as a newlywed on the mission field reading Neil Anderson’s excellent books: Bondage Breaker and Victory over the Darkness. I experienced a new lightness and joy with the Lord. Yet I didn’t have a flexible framework or understanding for what had happened to me to be able to reproduce it as I ministered to others in Ukraine. Even with training in inner healing, I was still overwhelmed and unsure how even to start to gain more personal freedom, much less minister to others. I didn’t have a prayer team to walk with in ministry but felt a deep determination building within me. Some years later, a small group of people came to classes and trainings in Freedom Prayer. The Lord honored our efforts and initial steps into ministry as we practiced ministering to each other.
One woman became free from frequent debilitating anxiety attacks.Another experienced healing in her neck from a car accident when she forgave all involved—including herself.
Quiet lovers of Jesus became emboldened to share their testimonies, lead Bible studies, and bring restoration to their relationships.
Our small team rejoiced as we watched participants then guide their family and friends to greater freedom over the phone, on a walk, and at other Bible studies. In 2018, I began understanding how all the elements of Freedom Prayer work together for an effective ministry. I found people responding to this ministry as I had, experiencing a measure of freedom, wanting more, and seeking a deeper understanding of what had spiritually eluded them. They were eager to invite others into what they had experienced as well. First Freedoms also became simultaneously the perfect entry point and the perfect next step in our church’s freedom journey. This study opened a door for those who were intimidated with the prospect of a prayer ministry training but were comfortable with a devotional Bible study to introduce the topics of prayer and freedom. First Freedoms dives deep into vital subjects like wounding, suffering, and abiding. Pairing this with the effective tools of ministry we had learned brought some of the church members’ most profound and fruitful times with the Lord. Most who went through First Freedoms signed up for a personal Freedom Prayer session and often joined our Freedom Prayer team.
An understanding of freedom in Christ that took me over 10 years to grasp took others only 10 weeks.
I am so grateful for Freedom Prayer and this resource of First Freedoms. Nothing has impacted my abiding with the Lord, marriage, parenting, ministry, and discipleship more. I never grow tired of watching the Lord bring freedom, love, and honor as small groups of willing people walk each other through these freedoms. First Freedoms provides opportunities to use the Bible’s truths to experience intimate, real, and life-changing connections with the Lord. This resource is not a program. It isn’t another Bible study. It is the gospel applied. It is kingdom living. It is how I want to walk out being a follower of Jesus for the rest of my life.
Personal Testimonies of First FreedomsNow that you have read stories of impact for leaders, I want to share some stories of impact among individuals. One of the most encouraging outcomes as a leader is not only to equip other leaders with tools and resources, but to see individuals step into a deeper relationship with God. This outcome was evident after First Freedoms was tested both in my home church and with a few other churches as well. Churches need a resource that disciples prayer and makes space for their members to encounter the Lord daily and to learn to abide with him. My favorite testimonies are from those who really did step into new freedoms with God, some for the first time, some in profound ways. I watched as their love for prayer and the dependency in that relationship with God was strengthened. These are a few of their testimonies (names have been changed for anonymity). I love how First Freedoms revitalized my faith journey, allowing Jesus to sever clearly the generational sin I had been living with and then give clarity to destructive patterns in my life. This study also taught me how to identify the Father’s voice as well as his will in my life. — Gabe This book is unlike any other on prayer! Even though I grew up believing in prayer, I did not fully understand its importance and power until this book. First Freedoms taught me how the Lord wants to heal my pain completely and provide the freedom to live in his light. Prayer is the foundation to faith, and I am eternally grateful for this book and the joy and deliverance it brought to my life. — Laurel I never realized the depths of forgiveness until working through First Freedoms.
This book truly demystified the concept of forgiveness and gave me tangible tools to walk it daily.
With my newfound understanding, I have experienced huge breakthroughs and freedom from emotional pain! — Allie My husband and I worked in full-time ministry for thirty-seven years, so we have used many Bible study methods to encourage spiritual growth, several of which were very good. But for our church community and us personally, something felt missing. First Freedoms, in its profound simplicity, reminds us that not only did Jesus die to save us, but he also paid for our freedom in this current life. This study helps us determine what keeps us from hearing the Lord. And it helps us know how to listen through prayer so we can hear him and walk in response to the freedom he offers. This book changed our lives! — Jeannie
The Fruit and the Accompanying HarvestAs a leader, I love to see fruit for the individual in their relationship with God. Even more so, I love when that fruit produces a harvest. I have watched families in disarray become grounded because they were invited to experience God and given tools in First Freedoms. I have observed the power of God to release someone from years of hurt, sin patterns, and attachments to unholy things. This happened daily in my experience piloting First Freedoms. Finally, I believe the people of God must truly know him as Jesus did—both hearing and speaking the words of the Father. That occurs in close relationship, with a confident assurance of faith that is anchored to him in hope. That relationship must not only be promoted but intentionally discipled and practiced.
First Freedoms propels participants into freedom, and then they go and introduce freedom to others.
Their personal testimony of how God met them becomes a conversation starter for grounding truth in other areas of life. From the first freedoms with Jesus found in this book, they are much more likely to boldly produce a harvest in their own family and community. Take your next step toward spiritual freedom by going through First Freedoms.
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