The local church is the hope of the world and an ideal environment in which to launch a Freedom Session ministry.
Centralized or Decentralized
The initial purpose of Freedom Session was to equip local churches to offer effective healing-discipleship for their people and was launched in a Centralized format with a large group teaching time followed by small group discussion. The Covid-19 health pandemic caused churches to shift to Decentralized discipleship models in smaller groups.
Today, growing churches offer centralized and decentralized courses and Freedom Session has updated our teaching videos and added a Mid-week Mentor to give churches two equally effective options for launching: Centralized or Decentralized. Some churches create a Hybrid model, launching a centralized FS in September and additional FS Small Groups (decentralized) throughout the year.
To make the best use of this page, study the Centralized / Decentralized Comparison (button below) and then work through the appropriate best practices to launch. Churches who purchase the FS Ministry Resource Kit qualify for a FREE One-Hour Consultation where we can help you decide which best suits your culture.
Your first decision is to Select a Freedom Session Director to research/administer the program, recruit Small Group Hosts (previously called Facilitators) and coach them throughout the course. Larger churches typically assign the staff member / pastor overseeing Pastoral Care, Small Groups or Discipleship. Smaller churches can assign a high-capacity and trusted volunteer. Freedom Session will be one of the most important and most challenging ministries your church offers. Choose your leader(s) wisely.
Position your Freedom Session Ministry within your discipleship, small group or pastoral care department. It will serve you best to discuss relational, mental and emotional health as part of your discipleship (vs. counseling) trajectory. Freedom Session equips your church to address these important aspects of health with an effective and proven strategy.
Here are our best practices and a proven strategy we’ve learned over the years for a successful Freedom Session local church launch.
Purchase one or more FS workbook sets and register for a FREE Teaching Video Subscription. The workbooks take a week or so to arrive. Once they do, your FS Director (and possibly a couple other leaders) should familiarize themselves with the materials and the Thinkific “Dashboard.”
Play the first one or two teaching videos and follow along in your workbook to see how the teaching videos integrate with the workbooks, Mid-week Mentors and Resource Bundle. This will also help you understand the journey into which you are inviting others.
Pay special attention to the Small Group Discussion instructions given on the video and Small Group Experience questions in your workbook.
Purchase the Freedom Session Ministry Resource Kit. This gives you a DOWNLOADABLE or “owned” set of our teaching videos, Host/Facilitator Training videos and a leadership tool kit with session by session leadership briefings and other resources. “Owning” the videos makes it possible for you to share them with those who miss a session on your own internet server, if desired.
Purchasing a FS Ministry Resource Kit also qualifies you for a one-hour personal consultation with one of our National Directors to create a strategic FS plan to fit your ministry culture. For churches and/or small group hosts/facilitators who intend to offer Freedom Session more than once, the Ministry Kit is an excellent.
Schedule a personal, one-hour Strategy Consultation meeting with one of our team members.
This consultation is FREE for churches that purchase the FS Ministry Resource Kit. If you have not purchased this resource, you can arrange a one hour personal consultation for $75 (USD). This consultation will help you craft a successful launch strategy, make important decisions and save you valuable time. See https://freedomsession.com/news to register.
Determine the format you in which to launch your first Freedom Session: Centralized or De-centralized. Each has its advantages. For large churches, the centralized model provides an excellent opportunity to create the culture of your FS ministry and develop small group hosts. The Decentralized model works best in smaller churches and “cell-based” churches. Your consultation will help you make this decision.
Set your registration deadline and launch date. Secure your locations and, if centralized, assign your administrative and tech roles. Determine if / when you will offer Authentic Living immediately following Freedom Session or after a break. Determine what your Freedom Session Graduation might look like and schedule a date.
Recruit & train your small group hosts. With our improved Teaching Videos that include small group discussion instructions, it is easier than ever to recruit Small Group Hosts. Look for relatively mature believers who are authentic, care for others and are willing to follow the FS process. The FS Ministry Resource Kit includes Host Briefings and training videos that will help your hosts develop small group leadership skills.
Register for one of our webinars on Launching Freedom Session in your church.
Advertise Freedom Session FOUNDATIONS and Authentic Living as a recommended option for connecting in small group community over meaningful content. Onstage testimonies from previous participants work well. Playing a portion from one of the teaching videos is an option as is dedicating a Sunday sermon to address emotional/relational health. Have pastors “shoulder tap” individuals they know are struggling in relationships or other areas in life. Encourage both men and women to register. Have a pastor or elder lead by example and let others know they are taking the course because they want to experience all Jesus has for them.
Order FS Workbook Sets for your participants or create a bulk order of the FOUNDATIONS I workbook. If anticipating less than 20 participants, workbook sets are usually the most economical. If you anticipate 25 or more participants, ordering individual workbooks in bundle quantities is usually preferred. If using a decentralized model, you can ask participants to order their own workbook sets from freedomsession.com.
Create a welcoming environment for your first Session and LAUNCH! The Centralized model will need an emcee, A/V technician and hospitality team. Simple refreshments, comfortable seating and a quality projection of the teaching video are important. Most FS teaching videos are 45 – 50 minutes long, followed by a 10 minute refreshment break and 60 – 75 minutes for a Small Group Experience.
At the end of Session 01, remind each participant to register for their own Mid-week Mentor subscription (see top menu on our website). Once registered, they will also be able to access the teaching videos in case they miss a session or want to review one.
If you have purchased the FS Ministry Resource Kit, you can make your downloadable Teaching and Mid-week Mentor videos accessible on your own server rather than ours.