Few Christians reach their potential. Some drop out. Why? Usually because they don't have a real understanding of their new identity in Christ.
Discipleship teaching can sound like this: "do this every day", "don't do that any more", "successful Christians behave like this". So people end up simply acting like Christians. Some manage to do and say the right things but don't necessarily live fruitful lives. Others constantly require help with the same old issues. Some just drift away.
Read any of Paul's letters to the churches and you'll usually get half way through before you find instructions on how to behave. First he concentrates on what's already been done; the "riches" we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:18). Because it's not what we do that determines who we are - it's who we are that determines what we do.
The Freedom in Christ course first helps people grasp all that happened the moment they became Christians: who we are in Christ; the truth of God's unconditional love; why there is no condemnation; why we don't have to languish in cycles of sin, negative thinking and hopelessness.
But good teaching on its own is not enough. Although the key to freedom is knowing the truth (John 8:32), simply telling people the truth doesn't mean that they really know it. We also have a kind and gentle ministry process to help people repent of past sin and resist the devil. For many this "clearing out of rubbish" is the key to the teaching falling into place.
There are three basic components:
- Discipleship teaching that helps Christians understand who they are in Christ, the nature of the spiritual battle, and how to move on to maturity. We tend to undertake this in small groups.
- A ministry process called The Steps To Freedom In Christ. This is run between sessions 9 and 10 of the course and helps Christians deal with negative influences and unresolved spiritual conflicts. It is straightforward, gentle and kind. It is facilitated by ordinary Christians.
- Help to stand firm in the freedom gained, especially through renewing the mind (Romans 12:2).
The course is comprehensive and exceptionally easy to use. It is backed up by books and we are on hand to advise at any point. We usually run this course at least once a year with the next one not taking place until 2015.