FREEDOM SALE !
During this time of transition we are offering nearly everything free to you as a way of saying thank you for all you do and all you are.
Blessings to you tribe,
from the TFR family.
Changes at The Freedom Resource
I wanted to write a letter to you on behalf of myself and the Freedom Resource (TFR) board to let you know of some changes we will be making. For a number of great reasons the Freedom Resource will be changing the name of our approach to inner healing to “Freedom Prayer” from “Sozo”. This letter tells you why and what that may mean to you.
Since we began well over a decade and a half ago the web site www.thefreedomresource.org has had over 200,000 hits, thousands have purchased Freedom Tools, and thousands more have downloaded materials. A large number of churches and individuals around the world have benefited from the message of freedom through Sozo-based freedom prayer offered through the Freedom Resource. We have received testimonies from nearly every continent and “flavor” of Christianity.
In the time since the Freedom Resource began, the Sozo ministry model originated at Bethel church in Redding, CA has grown from a fairly simple use of the “Four Doors” to a more full-bodied ministry using different tools borrowed from others and modified to fit our ministry approach. Early on TFR determined to provide a strong biblical basis for this ministry model and, seeing an immediate need, published a training manual and materials on Sozo ministry. The manual was extracted and used in the Bethel school of ministry. The book Freedom Tools now in its fifth printing was written with Bill Johnson authoring the forward and Bethel Sozo leadership providing detailed review and comment. It was also endorsed by many conservative leaders including Dr. Neil T. Anderson and Rich Sterns, the president of World Vision.
In the years since, some differences in ministry focus or style and in organizational requirements have also grown up within the Sozo family. There are variations in how different ones do “Sozo” and teach it. Bethel has morphed its own practice to one focusing much more strongly on using the Father Ladder (first conceived by a pastor named Alan Ray) as the preferred framework for most ministry sessions. Growing along with the international Bethel “brand” is a formal Bethel Sozo network with regional leaders and specific requirements on what is “Bethel Sozo” and what is not, who is authorized to train, etc. This has helped to spread a consistent message of Bethel-style Sozo.
Many have adopted the Sozo model, but not wanting to take on the additional complexity of association with a network or the Bethel brand, have simply renamed it something else for their local or city-wide use. Others trained in Sozo and perhaps even long practicing it but not part of that network may have faced some confusion about whether they are really practicing “Sozo” or not leading to some unintentional misunderstandings.
Rightly or wrongly strong Internet-based opposition has grown up against Bethel and Bethel Sozo at times creating an insurmountable hurdle to a local congregation adopting much needed ministry capabilities. Others, reading these sources, lack the perspective to assess their accuracy and simply walk away.
We all want to avoid that.
What is Changing and Why?
In the last five to eight years the Freedom Resource has been seeing that its strength and calling has begun to include many believers and churches from more traditional and denominational settings: Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and others. For these brothers and sisters the ability to tie such ministry directly to biblical truth and teach it as such, and to retain an overall approach and feel with which pastoral staff can feel comfortable may be very important – all without sacrificing the core values of freedom ministry. It is also important for many not to tie the freedom ministry of their church to a specific church or ministry that may contain other teachings or practices that may cause some discomfort.
For those reasons, and after discussions with Bethel Sozo and many other church leaders, we have all felt that it would be best that we make some changes to our public presentation of the ministry we all love. As such we are beginning the transition of the name of what we do from “Sozo” to “Sozo based Freedom Prayer” or simply “Freedom Prayer”. We will continue to teach, essentially unchanged, the messages and truths found in Freedom Tools and in the materials carried on the Freedom Resource web site.
We understand that one or more multi-church ministries have used that name in the past (though they are not presently active, at least on the web) and several churches currently call their prayer ministry freedom prayer. We feel that this is both a proper name (Freedom Prayer) and simply a description of what we all do – pray for freedom.
This change provides some significant advantages or differences that may be seen as attractive to many:
- Organization. A loose and voluntary association of friends who share a mutual passion for freedom ministry without the formality of structural membership, hierarchical constraints, branding requirements; and free from perceived associations that may seem less compatible with the local church’s belief and practice.
- Support. TFR can support through materials, training, consulting, and friendship a more generic and strong biblically-based freedom ministry in any denominational and non-denominational setting.
- Local Control. A church or other organization can retain more of a sense of ownership if their local ministry changing its presentation to fit their unique circumstances while, hopefully, retaining all those key things that make this ministry so successful.
- Reduced Confusion. For those within the Bethel network there may be less confusion, fewer “I am of Paul” situations, and more focus on freedom ministry. Network members, indeed anyone, can continue take advantage of TFRs materials and support as many now do.
Thus we believe this change will also position us better to minister both among river churches and also within the more traditional realm where we are seeing great opportunity. It will also better allow us to transfer the simple message of freedom more easily to more diverse places.
Is Bethel Good with This?
Yep. We travelled to California to powwow about all this.
This is a direct quote from Dawna DeSilva a great friend, current TFR board member, and one of the Bethel Sozo leaders: "Thank you for honoring the Bethel network and changing the name of the ministry. It will lessen confusion. I continue to bless and love you, your family, the Freedom Resource Team, and all you do for setting the captives free!"
What Might This Mean to You?
If you practice Sozo outside the Bethel network and are fine with things the way they are it will mean little to you, though you may experience some confusion from others as you inevitably spread outside your own organizational walls in welcoming others for ministry, or in training others.
If you are part of the Bethel network and happy there it will, perhaps, reduce any potential confusion while you retain the ability to access TFR materials. It will probably be neutral to good for you.
If you like the ministry model and do not care what it is called, or already call it something different; or if you are considering entering this kind of ministry locally but are not interested in joining a formal hierarchical structure then this will be good news for you.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Next Steps for TFR
The web site www.thefreedomresource.org has begun to transition to the new name. Over the next weeks the materials will also be transitioned, retaining some information about the relationship between Sozo and Freedom Prayer, but moving ahead with the Freedom Prayer terminology and providing some better biblical basis information, etc.
In the near future you will see a transition to a new URL called www.freedomprayer.org and an eventual discontinuation of The Freedom Resource URL. Many of the materials and other offerings will also be transitioned to that site and name.
Our board make up will change. We will consider creation of an advisory board of both traditional and river-based leaders to form. We will continue to offer training, consulting, materials and friendship.
We will identify and continue to list those who perform this ministry and want to be listed. If you are currently on the list at the network tab and want to keep being listed let us know.
We will continue to retain our friendly relationships, and to work together for freedom everywhere we go.
We will continue to believe that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is unity, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
Andy Reese for the Board 1/1/2014