Below is an excerpt from Chapter Fourteen of Setting Captives Free. It’s time to make deliverance a normal part of the local church. God is raising up an army to set captives free!
While God is highlighting the ministry of deliverance in this hour and moving sovereignly to raise up ministers, there is a responsibility to cooperate with Him in this process. If we want to equip and release an army of deliverers and see more captives set free, there are some intentional things that we can do. The first step to multiplying the ministry of deliverance is to make it a normal part of the culture of the Church again. It was normal for Jesus and His followers, and it should be normal for us as well.
Some people are concerned that if we start to talk about demons and deliverance, we will become too fixated and excessively focused on it. While there may be some validity to these concerns, I am much more concerned with the significant percentage of churches that do not believe in or practice the ministry of deliverance at all. If deliverance from evil spirits was not meant to be a normal part of the Church’s life and mission, then Jesus sure missed that memo!
Instead of taking our cues from our culture and church tradition, we must take our cues from Jesus. We must make deliverance a normal ministry that is incorporated into the life of the church. For the last few years, we have been working on cultivating this in our local church environment. Here are some practical things I have found helpful in making deliverance normal again.
1. Deliverance should be talked about and taught on openly: We should not avoid talking about or teaching this topic. Making deliverance a taboo subject only serves to perpetuate the fear, confusion, and stigma that is often attached to it. Biblical teaching that brings clarity to the reality of evil spirits and how to get free from them is a must. We must not be afraid of sounding foolish to some who will not embrace a supernatural world-view or concerned that we might offend some people. We must be more concerned with obeying Jesus, setting captives free, and equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
Deliverance can be taught from the pulpit, in home groups, Sunday school classes, seminars, and other settings. The point is not to obsess over the topic, but to bring it into the light and include it as a part of the overall spiritual diet of the Church.
2. Deliverance should be ministered publicly in a healthy way: Not only should deliverance be taught publicly, it is my belief that it should be ministered publicly as well. Every local church and ministry will have to determine their own protocol, of course, and there can be great value in deliverance being done in private prayer ministry settings. But in my opinion, we should not relegate deliverance ministry to private settings only.
Jesus did not avoid ministering deliverance in public, and I see no reason why we should either. We must do this in a healthy way, with compassion for the ones being ministered to, but we should not avoid public deliverance altogether. When we teach and minister deliverance openly, it demystifies the subject and opens the way for many others to be set free. I can’t tell you how many people have been set free in public services. And people are often pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere of God’s peace in the room, even when there are demonic manifestations.
3. Deliverance should be done along with pastoral care and discipleship: Deliverance and discipleship go hand-in-hand. When possible, we should follow up with those who receive ministry and make sure to have a way for them to be cared for and discipled. This is why the local church is the ideal setting for deliverance to happen. We have tended to outsource ministries like inner healing and deliverance to outside ministries, but I believe it will be even more effective when done in the context of the local church.
For some people, deliverance will be a process and a journey to wholeness and freedom. Including it as part of pastoral care and discipleship is a great way to have a more holistic approach, instead of being an isolated ministry.
4. We should include testimonies of deliverance: Again, we should not be ashamed to talk openly about deliverance. There are often testimonies in churches about healing, salvation, and God’s provision. But it is rarer to have people sharing their testimony of deliverance. We have found it to be very powerful and effective when former captives share their story of freedom.
We should encourage people to share testimonies of their experience with deliverance, when they are ready and willing. As deliverance is embraced as a part of the culture of a church or ministry, it becomes a normal thing to talk about. This helps to remove the unnecessary stigma and shame that is often associated with it and opens the door for others to be set free.
5. We should equip the average believer to minister deliverance: Jesus never set out to be an exclusive exorcist or intended for deliverance to be done only by an elite few. He intentionally multiplied the ministry of deliverance so that more people could be set free. We should do the same, equipping the average believer to be able to cast out evil spirits. Like any other area of ministry, some people will be more drawn to deliverance than others, and some will have more gifting in it. It is not that everyone should make it a primary focus, but every believer should know the basics of how to get free and set others free.
Effective equipping normally happens in multiple ways. Jesus taught, demonstrated, discipled, imparted, and sent His disciples. We can do the same, taking a multi-faceted approach. I will often invite those I am equipping to be part of the ministry team when I minister at a deliverance meeting, or to join me when I am praying over someone in a private prayer ministry setting. Leaders should find practical ways to get more people involved through a healthy equipping process.
Setting Captives Free is filled with biblical teaching on the topic of demons and deliverance, powerful testimonies of those who have been set free, and practical prayers that you can use for yourself or others in need of deliverance. Make sure to get your copy!