|A Video Producer Describes The Effectiveness of Living Free Groups||
|By dstrickland | 17 Mar 2010|
I'd like to think that in 20 years we've heard all the different variations on the theme of transformation through Christ, but I was amazed at the uniformity of the transformations people were experiencing. It didn't make any difference who we were talking to, they were speaking of the genuineness of this experience.
Paul Franklin, the founder of IMS Productions and producer of the Living Free Video Training Series, made this comment in 1992 after interviewing 16 leaders and participants in New York City and 12 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The interviews featured a broad spectrum of people, from Wall Street executives and suburban homemakers to former heroin addicts and gang members, yet all whose lives were touched through the ministry of Turning Point.
Paul continues by saying,
In one culture overeating is the drug of choice, in another culture heroin may be the drug of choice, in another culture alcohol may be the drug of choice. But when you get past all of those substances, you are left with human beings that look very, very much alike. They are dealing with fear, resentment, and anger. They are also dealing with their hurts and loneliness. Through Turning Point all these people, each from their own different backgrounds, can come together and see how very much the same they are once they get rid of their drug of choice. That's what I saw.
Those early testimonies were strong. There was the father, a Vietnam vet, who was an alcoholic and a barroom brawler with $16,000 worth of reconstructive surgery on his nose from fights. He could not relate to his daughter, who was headed for an uncertain future feeling no one loved her. But after he completed a group, he has been able to tell her every day that he loves her.
The cameraman, Ted Ferrari, recalls interviewing a 43 year-old man in New York who had been a heroin addict since he was 12. He would do anything on a daily basis for heroin—just short of murdering someone. There were too many burglaries to name, too many car thefts to name, too many robberies to name. After participating in Turning Point, the man wore a suit, had a Bible in his hand and was in church on Sunday mornings. In a street-kind of way he said, "Turning Point changed my life. I would be either dead or in jail by now."
These interviews occurred 18 years ago, and many things have changed. The Living Free Video Training Series has been updated and is available in 5 major languages and curriculums are available in 12 more. A total of 54 countries have had Living Free group activity. More issue-specific group topics are available, such as anger, grief, family violence, conflict resolution, sexual purity, and many others. And we continue to get regular reports of how God is still using the Living Free groups in ministries around the world to transform lives. Since 1992 nearly a million additional participants can add their testimonies to these 28 that were originally captured on video in 1992. Lives continue to be changed as people learn to live free of their "drug of choice."