|Over Seventeen Successful Years of Living Free||
|By dstrickland | 26 Aug 2009|
An Interview with Deacon David Moore
First Baptist Church Glenarden has 9,500 members and an average attendance of 15,000. Located in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, this church is led by Pastor John K. Jenkins, Sr., who has emphasized ministry to the community based upon compassion and integrity. In the last seventeen years over 6,000 persons have participated in Living Free groups offered by the church.
Deacon David Moore has coordinated the Turning Point (commonly known today as Living Free) ministry since the beginning and has influenced many thousands of lives. He also serves on the Living Free Board of Directors.
In a conversation with Deacon Moore prior to our last board meeting, we gathered these insights from him about his experience with Living Free and have summarized them.
People often ask us "what does it take" to have a great Living Free ministry. The answer can be summarized in four "P's". The pastor has to have a vision, a person with passion for the ministry has to step forward, a plan has to be followed, and prayer must cover the ministry.
FBC is a great example of these elements working together.
Ministries come and go in Churches--Why has Living Free lasted at FBC?
The main thing is to stick to the plan as suggested in the Core Team Manual. Also, don't preach to the group participants. Just encourage them to be involved and steer them to what the Scripture says. This works better than beating them on the head with the Bible.
What is your main task as Ministry Coordinator?
My main job is to observe the groups to ensure facilitators are following the guidelines and to fill in when a facilitator cannot be present. I know all the facilitators and get to know the participants, so it is easy for me to advise and encourage them all.
What ages are involved in the groups?
We have groups for adults and teens. Sometimes parents want to send their teens to a group but not come themselves. We tell parents to be involved in a group too. We say to the parent, "You know, what your child is going to tell me is that you need to be in Turning Point too. So, if you bring them and join a group also, and you're both in groups at the same time, then we will all see who really needs to be there."
What advice would you give to someone beginning a Living Free ministry?
The main thing you've got to have is the right facilitators. The right facilitators mean that you have to be on the same page with the pastor as to how he wants things done. You must go by the Core Team Manual, you can't bring your own individual thinking of what you think it should be. If you don't go by the Core Team Manual, you'll end up with someone thinking "This is my program." And that will cause a problem.
How do you find good Facilitators?
Well, you have to have a person that doesn't have his or her own agenda. We still have four of the six original facilitators. Everybody else that's there has finished the two years of Turning Point and voiced a desire to be a facilitator. So far we have been fortunate and don't have a lot of turnover. At a minimum, to become a facilitator requires 18 weeks of training. That is the time required to take the Living Free training and to complete the Insight and Concerned Persons groups.
Why do you want two years of Turning Point?
We encourage people to participate for two years. It takes two years to finish all the groups we offer. The groups are Insight, Concerned Persons, Anger, Completely Free, Knowing God My Father, and Peacemaking. The youth do the same groups except they use the Insight for Youth to begin.
Do your groups meet continuously?
The groups meet from September to July. We take a break in August. Of course during major church events and holidays we don't meet.
How many persons have been in the groups?
Probably about 6,000. There are about 120 ministries in our church, and many of the leaders have been through our groups. So these ministry leaders will refer people to the Turning Point groups because they know from personal experience what the groups can do for people.
How important is it to have the Pastor's blessing?
It is definitely important. We got started with Turning Point because our pastor knew of a church using it, and he recommended we begin it, too. Over the years we have helped seven churches begin groups. Right now a pastor from another church and his wife are in our groups learning how to begin in their own congregation.
How do people learn about the groups?
Word of mouth is the best way I have found.
Do you have any final advice?
You always have to stick to the plan. There are people who would like to hijack the ministry, make it their own and follow their own plan. You have to be watchful. I have seen the ministry work for 17 years. It is a beautiful ministry. Just follow the plan.