preparation: key to success
Now it’s time to implement your plans and strategies.
The preparation phase has three components:
- leadership recruitment and training
- resources and an effective launch
Depending on the anticipated size of your launch, the preparation phase can last between two weeks and three months.
Freedom Session runs most effectively in groups of 15 – 250. If your anticipated launch numbers are under 15, we suggest running Foundations and/or Authentic Living in a home.
Selecting the right leaders is one of the most important decisions you will make.
Your core leadership team consists of a Freedom Session Director (or couple) and enough Facilitators to create gender specific small groups of 6-10 participants.
Once your ministry is established, Facilitators will naturally emerge from your Freedom Session graduates who will serve, on average, two to three years before moving into other areas of ministry. Freedom Session will eventually become one of the most effective leadership training engines of your church.
When launching a new ministry, you will need to recruit your Facilitators carefully because the leaders you choose will communicating the type of people Freedom Session is for. If you want to make Freedom Session a normative aspect of the discipleship journey of your church, then your leadership recruitment must reflect the demographic of your congregation.
Recruitment strategies will also be included in your Planning Consultation.
Freedom Session Director
The Freedom Session Director’s role is to oversee the ministry and develop a high-impact ministry team. This will involve initial recruitment and support throughout the year.
Freedom Session relies on the healing power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, so while ministry training / experience are helpful, the most important qualities of a Freedom Session Director are:
- A personal relationship with and deep love for Jesus Christ
- Personal integrity and authenticity about their own healing journey
- Love and patience towards the people they minister to
- Leadership and/or administration gifts are extremely helpful.
- oversee, direct and emcee the actual Freedom “Sessions”
- recruit and train small group Facilitators. (7x Leadership Training videos are included in Freedom Session COMPLETE Ministry Kit.)
- set the schedule for the year, order materials and divide registered participants into gender-specific small groups.
- The Director is responsible for the health of the ministry and their Facilitator Team. He/she reports to the pastoral team of the church.
Depending on the size of your ministry, the Director may also recruit:
- Audio/visual assistant
- Administrative assistant (coordination of snacks / resources)
- Worship leader (some groups add a worship component)
Director Training: Detailed, session-by-session Director Briefings are included in your Freedom Session COMPLETE or ESSENTIALS Ministry Kit. These include a synopsis of each session, director preparation responsibilities, meeting outlines, suggested introduction and wrap-up scripts, and other recommendations.
In addition, our experienced national and regional directors are available for coaching Freedom Session Directors to navigate the ministry year and any challenges that arise.
Facilitators and Assistant Facilitators
The primary role of the Facilitator is to prepare and lead participants through the small group experience (as written), pray for and encourage them during the journey. The important qualities in a Facilitator are:
- A personal relationship with and deep love for Jesus Christ
- Love and patience towards the people they minister to.
- Personal integrity and authenticity regarding their own healing journey. Facilitators are required to “take” Freedom Session and complete their weekly homework just like everyone else.
- Reliability and availability: Facilitators reserve 45-60 minutes each week to study their Briefings and prepare for small group.
- Humility and a positive attitude towards the Freedom Session Director and the pastoral leadership of their church.
- Willingness to be trained and function within that training and prescribed role. A Facilitator is NOT a counselor or therapist.
After running Freedom Session for a few years, Facilitators will naturally emerge from Freedom Session graduates. In the meantime, here are a list of interview questions to aid your leadership recruitment:
- Tell me about your spiritual and healing journey.
- What is it about being involved in a ministry like this that catches your heart?
- Do you have any challenges or unresolved issues with any leaders in this church?
- Is there anything presently in your life that, if brought to light, would discredit this ministry or cause harm to the reputation of Jesus Christ? (note: this doesn’t automatically disqualify someone, if they are working on that area and willing to become accountable.)
Whenever possible, we assign a Facilitator and an Assistant Facilitator to each small group. When this occurs, the Facilitator is responsible to share the ministry load and mentor/train their assistant.
Facilitator Training Seminar
Filmed live in 2018, this seven session seminar equips your Facilitator team for effective ministry, just prior to launch.
Let us equip your team for an effective Freedom Session experience.
- Where Freedom Session fits in discipleship
- Role of a Facilitator
- Practical small group preparation skills
- Problem personalities, training an assistant…and much more
Filmed live in 2018, Ken Dyck (Freedom Session author) teaches through the essential skills and ministry tools your Facilitators need to feel confident in their role and ensure a quality small group experience.
As of 2019, the Facilitator Training seminar (c/w reproducible handouts) is included in the Freedom Session COMPLETE Ministry Kit. It is also available separately.
After the formal training, detailed Facilitator Briefings provide on-going, week-to-week training and mentorship.
This is like having the Freedom Session author as a personal coach, giving you the best practices and his personal suggestions on leading through every small group question. The briefings anticipate reactions and push back from your participants and provide tested and effective responses.
The Facilitator Briefings are included in our Freedom Session COMPLETE and ESSENTIALS Ministry Kits.
The first couple of years you offer Freedom Session as a ministry, promotion is critical. Start with the people you already have in your midst – all of us could use a bit more freedom in our lives. The people you invite to your first Freedom Session will communicate who the ministry is for. Whenever possible, include your Lead/Sr. Pastor in the promotion discussion.
In an ideal world:
- have your Lead/Sr. Pastor preach through a few messages on emotionally health, authenticity, owning our mistakes, forgiveness/making amends or confronting strongholds in our lives, etc. Have him cast Freedom Session as a nature next step for those wanting to freedom and healing. (Larger churches sometimes invite Ken to preach in their church a month or two before they launch.)
- include Sunday morning testimonies / stories of individuals who’ve taken Freedom Session (or a pilot), having them focus on the insights gained and breakthroughs experienced. You can use social media. You can also include video testimonies from the various teaching sessions. Keep in mind you are trying to make Freedom Session normative in your congregation so use common stories that others can relate to.
- Invite people to your launch date with no obligation. Give them their first Freedom Session experience and let them decide at that point.
- personal and targeted invitations to attend Freedom Session are also helpful. Pastors can request those they are counseling to attend. Young adults planning for marriage would be wise to take the course. Those walking through a divorce, recovering from an addiction, people longing for more…
Once you’ve offered Freedom Session for a few years, promotion becomes easier: Freedom Session graduations are critical. Make a big deal out of each graduation, encourage every grad to invite at least two people and have participants share their story.
Contact one of our National Directors for additional advice when you are nearing the end of Authentic Living and are ready for your first Freedom Session Graduation.
Two weeks before your launch, you will need to order workbooks for your participants.
Option 1: order Foundations I workbooks for as many as you think will register and add 10%. You can return unused workbooks (in new condition) up to 21 days after purchase.
Foundations II workbooks are ordered at Session 08.
Option 2: order Foundations I & II and sell as a set up front. This is the preferred option and minimizes attrition.
Option 3: order one complete workbook set for each participant.
Make sure you have adequate snacks and refreshments for your Launch event. Have clear signage, greeters and background music.
Session 01 is a lot of fun and designed to help people commit to taking the journey. Detailed Director and Facilitator Briefings are available to help you prepare.