You will need a good foundation to build an effective Living Free ministry. You can do this by learning as much as possible yourself and then sharing what you learn with others.
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Here are steps you can follow as an individual to encourage your congregation or group to begin Living Free groups in your church or ministry.
The first step you should take is to learn as much as you can about Living Free. Study the the website. Order the training series, or if that is impossible, watch the training series online so that you can experience first-hand what you want to encourage the church to enjoy. After you review the materials, you may want to encourage some others to join you and look at them. Test the interest level and see if there is a group of people who might like to work together to make this ministry a reality in your church. Remember, studying the materials as an individual is never as effective as experiencing them is a small group. We need the eyes of others to see ourselves as we really are and the encouragement of others to apply the wisdom of God's word to the difficult areas of our lives.
As you consider taking this information to your church leaders, be sure to pray. When you meet with them, tell them about your own experience and how you think that these materials could help many others. Always keep a good attitude, even if the leaders are not receptive to you. Remember, it is God that opens and closes doors, and he has his own perfect timing for everything.
Try to see things from the perspective of ministry leaders. Most church leaders are overworked and underpaid and experience many demands competing for their time. Sometimes they will see a ministry like this as just another activity that they will have to staff and manage. So if you want to see this ministry in your church, be sure that you're volunteering to make it happen and not just handing it off for someone else to do. When leaders see such a commitment, it will eliminate some of the barriers to beginning a new ministry.
Reaching beyond the walls of the church is essential if the ministry is to fulfill its true purpose. Living Free is used in outreach to the larger community by promoting groups targeting specific needs. Living free is offered in several languages for ministry to internationals. It is also used in shelters, halfway houses, jails, prisons, universities, with singles, as an elective in alternative sentencing programs...the opportunities are endless.|
Communicate the ministry continually to the church and to the community. Enlist group members to share testimonies with the congregation, speak to youth, community agencies, etc., and be available for interventions. Avoid the trap of promoting the ministry as something that benefits only the "down and out" or only those "in desperate situations." You want people to know that these groups focus on learning to help others and on preventing problems from growing out of control, as well as being a place where hurting people can find help.
Every Christian knows that we are in a spiritual conflict whenever we aspire to grow or help others grow to maturity in Christ. That is why we suggest that each group offered by your church be supported by the prayer network of your church.
Living Free is very effective as a long-term outreach. Some churches have been offering groups for as long as 18 years, and are still reaching significant numbers of people who are looking for help. From day one, as you are beginning to help members of your own group, think about how you can reach your community, your city, your state, your country and your world.
When you receive approval, it is time to train as many people as possible with the Living Free video training. Promote the Living Free seminar as an event that can benefit anyone who wants to learn how people become trapped in problems, how to prevent problems, and how to help people overcome the problems that trap them. When a large group of people attend the initial training, it is easier for the entire congregation to understand what the ministry is about. This also gives you a larger pool of people to draw from as potential facilitators. Whether a person is a small group leader, Sunday school teacher, or children's worker, the Living Free training will help them be more aware of the situations people are facing in their lives and better equipped to help them with any problems they encounter.
Sign up participants on the day of the Living Free training for the first groups and invite those from the larger congregation, too. From the group you have trained using the Living Free video, you should choose facilitators and co-facilitators to conduct your first round of Insight Groups. In the Insight Group people encounter once again the principles and ideas that they learned in the Living Free training.
While conducting these first Insight Groups, it should become apparent who should be on your Living Free leadership team. Your church or ministry leaders should choose people who have a heart and an aptitude for leading groups to serve on the leadership team for Living Free in your ministry. You will also need good organizers, planners, teachers and promoters to serve on your ministry team. These people become the first members of what we call the Core Team, which organizes and plans the activities of the Living Free program in your church or ministry.
The Core Team should meet and plan the next groups to be offered. Normally, a church will have an Insight Group forming every few weeks as new people express an interest in participating. The Core Team should train and recruit additional facilitators to lead these groups. Most people follow the Insight Group with either Concerned Persons, Free to Grow, or Stepping into Freedom groups. You can also choose from other Living Free group options that address specific issues or use other materials you find helpful.