Q: What level of impact do you see this Discipleship Program having at Village Langley North?
A: We already saw a significant impact the first time we ran Freedom Session at Langley North last January. In our first round, I attended the launch, a few sessions, and the graduation night. This gave me a new perspective on what Freedom Session is. Over the 21 weeks, I had a front-row seat to watch my people process some gut-wrenching pain, and then come alive with hope and joy – a true sense of Jesus’ joy. I saw how we were able to move people from casual contact with Jesus on Sunday, to a real and deep relationship with Jesus. And the best part was that they didn’t have to do it alone; Freedom Session happens in a group setting, with the support of others who are taking the same journey.
What stood out to you specifically about the Freedom Session grad?
The deep things that people were dealing with – these were not shallow things that people were sharing. I saw the amount of hurts people experienced, often from family members. And then, of course, I saw people receive healing in those areas. It broke my heart in one sense, to hear about it; but in another sense, it also filled me with joy and excitement to see people move from being hurt and angry, to receiving healing. As a church, we can’t create that on a Sunday, or in a Community Group; we might be able to touch on some of those points, but it’s really hard to find a space that is safe enough to create that type of experience.
What do you think holds people back from the further healing and freedom God has for them?
It’s painful! In order to get healing, you need to have the injury, and then go through rehabilitation to heal properly. I’ve broken bones before, and rehab and healing are the worst – I would rather break a bone again than go through rehab. It’s like exercise; even though we know that it’s better for us, and that the end results are great, there’s a tough process involved. From the ground level, it feels like 2.5 hours weekly for 21 weeks is a large commitment. But we need to take a look at the grand scheme of things. The results of this program will last a lifetime! Are we willing to sacrifice a little now for the greatest sense of freedom? Muhammad Ali said, “I hated every minute of training but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.” Nothing comes without sacrifice and hard work. That’s not how God made us.
You and your wife, Christina, have both chosen to personally do the program along with the participants. Do you know what area of your life you want to work on? What are you hoping for personally?
I always feel inadequate. It was the way I was brought up, and how we were wired as a family. Even if we were successful at something, we still looked at the things we did wrong. Just a little while ago, my dad and I had an interaction that brought some of this stuff up, and there was still pain there. I started to realize, “Wow, I never really healed from this.” Even to this day, when people say, “good job,” it’s really hard for me to receive it. I feel I’ve been able to do an okay job at everything, but never been great at any one thing. Another thing that I’ve struggled with my whole life is anger. Even before I knew Christ, it was really evident in my life, especially as a verbal processor.
So my hope is for healing, and receiving forgiveness in my relationship with my father, as well as a deeper understanding of how God has wired me. I want to know my place.
What difference do you hope this will make for you and Christina as a couple, committing to do it together?
I hope to see a difference in our communication. I think for anyone in a marriage, communication is a big one. What’s cool about going through this together, is that we’ll be able to share what God is doing in our lives. I hope that we’ll have more conversation pieces. Sometimes we’re so busy, we just stare at each other across the table in this dead space with nothing to say, our focus and conversations are solely on the kids. I would love to have more conversations centred around Jesus. This will also give us a chance to just get out of the house and spend more time together!
Who is Freedom Session for?
Freedom Session is for everyone; skeptics, new Christians, and those who grew up in the church.
At Village Church, Freedom Session is a normative part of your discipleship journey, with over 1900 people across all our sites already having graduated from this program over the last four years. I was so encouraged that so many people came to Freedom Session grad, saw the authenticity and joy in the graduates, and said, “Wow, I want this as well.” And I think we all do. If we admit it, we all want freedom from our hurts. We all want freedom from our sin.
What is Freedom Session?
Freedom Session is a place to explore with God the painful areas of your life, or unhealthy behaviours that you want to gain freedom from. For many, it is an intensive 21 weeks to build a closer relationship with God by inviting him into the intimate areas of your life. Some participants who are unsure of what areas to work on in their lives, give God the 21 weeks, and let HIM lead them into new or further healing and freedom.
Join Christina and me on this journey as participants. If you are spiritually mature, and relatively emotionally healthy, prayerfully consider applying to join our team as a facilitator. Both applications are on our Langley North Freedom Session page.