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Yeshua Explored

Gatherings

todayAugust 17, 2020 8

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So let us think through the different type of environments where Freedom in the Spirit can operate, starting big and working our way down.

We begin with the environments presented by the really big expressions of Christian communal celebration, the Spring Harvests, Keswick or New Wine experiences. These events are Christian “economies of scale” in action, proclaiming a message economically to the greatest number of people and also stimulating the flow of funding through the Christian world, through commerce and organised giving. Not knocking it, just saying how it is. It is not a model that lends itself to Hebraic engagement, it is a tried-and-tested Greek model, a one-way dissemination of information and instruction from rulers to ruled, from nobles to serfs, from performer to fans, from clergy to laity. It works for the World, it has worked for the mainstream Church.

Freedom in the Spirit demands an environment where all participants are given space to explore without restriction or distraction. 20,000 people stumbling over each other in a muddy field, among the noise and cacophony is not ideal. This is not to restrict God, who, of course, can work in all circumstances, it’s just not the best form, for the desired function to work effectively. What could work in such an environment is a cordoned-off area, perhaps a large marquee or a collection of tents. This area would need to have a single entrance, with full instructions provided to allow people to latch onto the vision. This could be in the form of descriptive posters, or a short audio/video presentation, or a scheduled talk by a facilitator. The area would also need to be accessible at all times, as the Holy Spirit doesn’t have a wristwatch! The presence of such a facility should not be heavily promoted or trumpeted, as it should not be seen as just another initiative among many, it should be an unheralded oasis to which the Holy Spirit can send needy souls.

Our experience so far has told us that the top limit for celebrants of Freedom in the Spirit is around one hundred and twenty souls, mainly because we’ve never worked with numbers larger than this and our conferences never attract more than this number. This was an anomaly and, to be honest, a bit disappointing, as we have grown up to think that growth is a sign of favour. Yet, after ten conferences, we have not seen growth at all. Then I was directed to Acts 1:15 and felt validated. 

 … in those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said …

This, I believe, is our Divine mandate. Small is beautiful. Seems good to me.

So, let’s say you wish to run an event. We will first look at running it over a weekend. Our regional conferences run from Friday supper time to Sunday lunchtime, so this would be a good place to start. Here are some considerations:

  • Starting with a meal together is a great ice-breaker. We usually do our introductions to the weekend in the dining hall, to keep everything light and welcoming.
  • It is advisable to structure the weekend around a teaching programme, but not to allow it to dominate. We start off with a session on the Friday night by our primary teacher. All teaching sessions are 45 minutes long and we have no more than three of them on the Saturday; at the start of the day, after lunch and after supper. This uses the model of a “three act play”, with an introduction, conflict, then resolution. The best arrangement is to have a single teacher and a single theme.
  • The freedom in the spirit sessions are the glue between the teaching sessions. They allow the possibility of discussing ideas put forward by the teacher and even feeding back to him, so that he can adjust his subsequent session accordingly, to address concerns. There is also space to respond to the teaching, perhaps through prayer, confession or conversation, or all three.
  • Worship sessions are important, particularly on the Friday night, to provide a platform for the weekend, to allow people to pray, proclaim, even prophesy. Most of our worship sessions are contemplative and unorthodox. It is a blessing to have a worship leader so sensitive to the Spirit that we should be prepared for anything during this session. On the first night of our Belsey Bridge conference I don’t think Jo played a single song in the traditional sense. Be open for blessings, from wherever it may come!
  • On the Sunday morning we start off with a short summary and then a noisy celebration, involving a choir and a dance team that have been brought together and trained the day before. Perfection is not expected, just joyful participation. We finish with an extended period of testimonies and there are usually many. There are also times set aside for healing and prayer. Be prepared for an emotional time and expect many people to show evidence of changed lives and a new commitment to the Lord.

Of course you may not be able to arrange a full weekend. You may only have the Saturday available, for instance. How can this work on just a single day, or even just a part of a day? It’s a question that really doesn’t need to be asked, because everything is possible with God and if we find time for Him, He will find time for us.

This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp

How to experience Freedom in the Spirit.

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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