Ken Dyck PHOTO Carson Samson
Implementing an effective healing discipleship ministry in your church
By Lawrence Cheung
“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Anyone who spent a fair amount of time in discipleship ministry, both as a disciple or someone who receives mentoring, would testify the process is often messy and heart-wrenching. It is messy for our brokenness travels alongside us as unwanted baggage. The agony of relapses and habitual sins are the source of many agonizing moments we rather regret.
Upon acknowledging brokenness as part of our lives and the healing power of the gospel of Jesus, we must ask the question – how do we, as followers of Christ, renew ourselves so we can live, move and have our being in him at all times (Acts 17:28)?
Ken Dyck’s Freedom Session offer us a different way in addressing brokenness. Issues like self-image, addictions, shame, guilt, unresolved sins and others are common modalities in the life of a disciple. His model, Freedom Session, is based on the Greek word sozo that denotes salvation, healing and deliverance. Instead of being a stand alone alternative to other pre-existing recovery programs and therapeutic services, Freedom Session provides an intentional space for awareness, healing and sustainable accountability. And that is done within the context of discipleship.
As a hospital chaplain, I encounter many people with various degrees of physical, emotional and spiritual brokenness at work. We have different kinds of ‘remedies’ for different kinds of ailments, yet often different services operate independently of each other. This is sometimes the case with recovery/healing ministries within the church context. Recovery ministry is often a post-event reactivity toward a specific formational shortfall or sin, not a component within the greater scope of discipleship.
In Matthew 4, we see the crux of Jesus’ ministry involves teaching, preaching and healing. I have always been fascinated with how Jesus aligns healing with the more familiar ministries in the teaching and propagating of the gospel. It is evident that Jesus’ healing ministry is deeply tied with his compassion and love for the weary. Discipleship’s scope moves beyond spiritual conformity. The platform of healing tends to the souls and gives ground for growth into true Christ-likeness.
The people who enter our church doors weekly come with shattered souls and broken hearts. It is our call and privilege to walk alongside them in their path to become whole. The challenge for us as a church is to normalize healing in the fabric of our day-to-day ministries.
Healing is part of discipleship. It is part of the process where we stubbornly and repeatedly come back to the Lord to proclaim the redemptive reality that we are loved. Ultimately the goal of discipleship is to reconnect with the very reason for which we are created to honour the imago Dei that forms and shapes of our DNA as children of a loving Father.
–Lawrence T. Cheung is a spiritual health practitioner with Providence Health Care in Vancouver, B.C. He and his family are members of Killarney Park MB Church in Vancouver.