What is Encounter?
Encounter is a unique inner healing and prayer ministry with the aim to help you experience God and for Him to encourage and equip you to walk in greater Biblical freedom and personal identity of who you are in Christ and his purposes for you. Encountering God is the heart beat of Church of the Free and we are excited to see how God wants to minister directly to you on this night.
When you come to Encounter our team will sit down with you, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, walk you through the process of freedom and wholeness. Encounter is not a counseling session, but rather a time of interacting with God. We will be asking God, how does He want to love on you that night. Often, God brings healing, comfort, encouragement, wisdom, or any combination thereof. The encounter team is made up of lay-people from COTF, not licensed or trained counselors. Our goal is to help you encounter God in a rich and meaningful way. Allowing God to move in your life and help aid your ability to see and experience God in your own life. People come to Encounter for many reasons. Some, because they’re having trouble connecting with God. Others, because they just know that they need God and are seeking Him with their whole heart. Other, because they have a need and are asking God to touch them, heal them, lead them, direct them, or simply encounter them. And still others, because they’ve been referred by a Christian counselor. If you fall into this last catgory, please know that Encounter is not a counseling session and it is not meant to replace counseling. Rather Encounter is meant to be a compliment to your counseling experience.
Why Do We Minister as a Team?
Because we desire for you to experience God, and that is our sole aim, we will minister to you as a team. We do this because the Bible says that God has given spiritual gifts to all followers of Jesus. Some of the spiritual gifts in the bible are mercy, teaching, healing, wisdom, and so on. By ministering as a team, more spiritual gifts are present, and you will experience more aspects of God than if simply one person was praying with you. Don’t be intimidated because there is a team of people, be encouraged that a team of people is going to God and asking Him to meet with you, bless you, encourage you, love on you, and give you whatever He wants to give you.
What to Expect
You will be welcomed by our Encounter Greeters, most nights this will be our Pastor Rick and our team member Jen. They will introduce you to our Encounter Team, where there will be light refreshments provided. There will be a time of getting still before the Lord in prayer, and then a couple of songs will be played to recognize God and worship Him.
After you meet the team, you will be given an opportunity to share about your scenario, or what it is that you are hoping for God to do this night. We’ll let you share for no more than 5 minutes. We limit the sharing so we can spend the most time praying for you and letting God speak into your life. The Encounter team will then go to God in prayer on your behalf and may spend several moments in silence asking God how he wants to use the team to minister to you, love on you, and pray for you.
A primary way our Encounter Team ministers (or offers helps) is through listening prayer. Listening prayer is prayer that is postured to listen and receive from God. Through the Holy Spirit, we will be asking God how He may want to encourage, strengthen, restore, heal and renew you to a greater sense of who you are and who God is. The team will then act based upon what they are sensing from the Lord. Our desire is to help facilitate an environment that will help you experience God through prayer. With healing, you can walk in greater freedom to what you have been called.
You may receive the following: Prayer, words of encouragement, scripture verses, pictures, and instruction.
- Scripture & Words of encouragement: The team may be led to share words of encouragement and/or a Bible verse with you that may minister to you. They may use that verse to encourage, to instruct, or to pray for you. God often highlights verses in scripture about Himself or verses that will lead you to experience Him in a greater way.
- Prayer: The team will pray for you. While we will often simply pray over you, there may be times where the team might lead you through prayer steps where you are invited to pray yourself to experience God’s freedom. This is an invitation, and if you don’t wish to, you don’t have to. But often God is trying to lead you into freedom. Our team may feel a prompting to lay hands on you through prayer. This is something that Jesus and the early church did regularly when praying for people. If our team is prompted this way, they will ask you for your permission first to lay a hand on your shoulder. If this is uncomfortable, simply let them know you prefer they don’t do this.
- Pictures: The team may share a picture or an image they received through prayer. These pictures are not meant to be new revelation, but usually are a confirmation of something you may already be aware of in your own life.
As we go to the Lord with you, please feel free to interact with us at any point during the session.
Lastly, the Encounter Team will document the encouragement, prayers, and words that will be spoken so that you can have a copy of what was said to you to take with you afterwards. The Encounter Team simply wants to help foster an experience that will minister to you through prayer and point you to Jesus and the truths found in scripture that will help you walk in greater freedom. These notes are often helpful to process on your own what the Lord was doing in our session.
To Make an Appointment
In order to participate in Encounter you will need to make an appointment. Please “purchase” your free ticket to the day you want to come and we’ll contact you with additional details (like the room we are meeting in and where to park).
We ask that you show up at 7:00. You will be welcomed by our greeting team with some light refreshments and drinks. Your session with our full team will start at 7:15. We can’t know exactly how long your encounter session will last. Some go 20 minutes. Others, go a full hour. Plan for anything in that range.
At Encounter, we respect your privacy. Everything about your time with us will be kept confidential, including your participation. You are free to let people know about us and our ministry, but we will never let anyone know you participated.
If you have any further questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be glad to answer any and all of your questions.