Setting your Church Free in Action

"Churches, just like people, need to be free from spiritual bondage. Corporate sin robs the spiritual vitality and fruitfulness of churches, keeping them from being free in Christ."

It's an exciting claim, emblazoned across the back page of Neil Anderson and Charles Mylander's book, Setting Your Church Free. "A Biblical Plan for Corporate Conflict Resolution" runs the tagline. But what's it all about?

Now, I've been around Church leadership and been involved in Freedom In Christ for long enough to know two things well: 1) depressingly, there can be an awful lot of conflict in Christian leadership and 2) the Freedom In Christ approach to dealing with the spiritual battle really does bring lasting freedom to people.

But how might it work at a church level? How do we recognise that the struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12)? I'd read the book, enjoyed those wonderful theological light-bulb moments you get when God reveals Truth to you, and heard some wonderful testimonies from churches who we have facilitated a Setting Your Church Free Retreat for. One Pastor of a church in Surrey said to me a few years ago, "You know what Rob, you guys really should make more noise about Setting Your Church Free. We did it when we started here, and it completely transformed the church, and our leadership."

And I would encourage you do the same! Neil and Charles, with great stories and examples, lay out all the principles and practical tools we need for dealing biblically with corporate sin in the church in their book. It's a great read!

But although others within Freedom In Christ have been facilitating retreats, I hadn't yet had the opportunity... until this month. A Pastor on our TRANSFORM programme earlier this year outlined some of the historically recurring challenges and sin issues he and his wife were having to deal with in their church in Kent, and were keen to explore how we might help with the Setting Your Church Free approach.

The date was set for Steve and I to go, and their leadership team committed to preparing by going through the Steps To Freedom for themselves first - there's no point bringing personal bondage into a retreat dealing with corporate sin, it will just cause a bigger ruckus! - and reading the book. And, as we were to discover from the tantalising smell wafting from the kitchen as we were welcomed to the church, devising the most delicious meals to bless us with for the 24 hours we were with them.

The retreat itself ran from 6pm on the Friday night, through to 6pm on the Saturday. The aim is to go through the six steps to Setting Your Church Free, which cover strengths, weaknesses, good memories, painful memories, corporate sin and more, and discern a "Prayer Action Plan" - a corporate stronghold-buster if you like - to go away with and put into action.

It was full on, intense even, but by the end of it the walls were covered with flip chart paper, and we'd almost completed the Prayer Action Plan. The team were left with a little bit of homework to finish it off, and we're eagerly anticipating the fruit of our labours! Well fed, tired, but praising God, Steve and I returned home - or at least we tried to but no-one had thought to tell Google that the M2 was closed. We got home in the end!

BACK >>>