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Cleansing Stream Ministries: Forgive, Repent, Renounce, Restore
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Light the Fire Again

By Haydn Jensen


If you're like most people, you have some solid habits around cleanliness--you wash your hands before meals, shower every day and so on. We do these things because we know they're healthy, we know how to do them, and we have soap and water readily available. Now, imagine you have dirt on you that you either don't know about, don’t know how it can be removed, or have just come to accept it will always be a part of you. How would you feel about that?

A simplistic metaphor, yes, but Cleansing Stream Ministries (CSM) in many ways deals with exactly that kind of dirt. They are all about caring for people who in spiritual, psychological and emotional terms have been living with dirt in their lives that simply isn’t healthy. That dirt can take the form of fear, rejection, guilt, shame, sexual impurity, abuse and even what Cleansing Stream Ministries calls "identity theft"--the act of stealing the identity God gave believers and the purpose He intends for us.

CSM originally began in the mid 80's through the work of Jack Hayford, founding pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California. Although the material was at first intended as ministry for a couples’ retreat, organizers soon saw potential for benefiting all adult believers. The ministry grew and expanded to other churches through the establishment of a national U.S. organization. In the 90's, about 200 Canadians were all regularly travelling to CSM events in Pittsburgh. So, a number decided it was time to begin a CSM organization here. CSM Canada was formed in 2000 and has been lead by Canadian National Directors Pastor David and Susan Andrews, who live here in London. David also serves as Church Ministries Director at Gateway Church.

CSM leaders describe it as a "prayer based ministry". And yet, teaching and discipling really are key activities revolving around that nucleus of prayer. Prior to involvement in Cleansing Stream, David Andrews as a small town church pastor felt frustrated and even desperate in his efforts to help his congregation. He says, “Sermon after sermon, Bible study after Bible study and course after course, people seem to struggle with the same hindrances while growth and discipleship continues to evade them.” Since becoming involved in Cleansing Stream, David and Susan say God has used it "to cultivate fruitfulness and long term discipleship in our own personal spiritual journey and has helped us to shape and change the lives of countless others as well." CSM Canada Board Member Barry Greer also comments, "Many people get the idea that this is only for sick people, but that’s not true. Our mandate is to come alongside local pastors and equip the layperson to bring healing, freedom and ministry to a church." Because CSM focuses its work on those who already believers, they understand that each Christian is at a different point of maturity. Their website states, "For some, it will be another step in a journey that began long ago, for others it will be the beginning. Whichever it is, the Lord desires to walk with us."

The program begins with "The Cleansing Stream Seminar" which runs weekly for about 3 months. A local church will host the Seminar and it is open to both members and non-members. Some host churches also want those coming from other churches to bring a letter of agreement from their pastor, out of respect for the pastor and to avoid any accusations of "sheep stealing".

Teaching is done through videos, skits, personal study, reading, and group discussion. Barry describes the teaching style as both experiential and intellectual. Participants learn how to apply practical biblical truths and disciplines in the areas of personal healing and deliverance, and to grow in their daily relationship and walk with God. The Seminar program culminates in a regional day-long Cleansing Stream Retreat. There participants receive teaching, discipleship and personal ministry concerning issues which can bring hurt, resistance and bondage into their lives.

London presently has four churches offering Cleansing Streams ministry: New Hope Community Church, Open Door Christian Fellowship, Royal View Pentecostal Church, and Gateway Church. The upcoming Cleansing Stream Area Retreat on May 2 is actually being held at Gateway Church. Pastors who are interested in exploring CSM as a possible fit for their church are welcome to attend the retreat at no cost--they should simply speak to organizers using the contact information below. Since Area Retreats are designed for local Cleansing Stream Seminar participants to gather at the same time, the Seminars are all coordinated to begin in either September or January. So, pastors considering the possibility of partnering with CSM in September should take advantage of the open invitation to the fast approaching May 2 Retreat!

CSM leaders acknowledge that the whole approach to spiritual warfare involving prayer for healing and deliverance can be controversial. Some churches do it, some don't. If you’re someone who believes Satan is actively opposing everything God is doing in our lives, it will not surprise you to know that (as with almost any Christian ministry) Cleansing Stream Ministries gets its share of negative press. This said, no one at CSM claims their ministry is perfect, and they regularly evaluate and revise their ministry programs according what they see and hear from participants. Barry Greer’s role as a CSM Canada Board Member is to fine tune what they offer.

As Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:16, we are to judge a tree by its fruit. So, from recent ministry evaluation surveys, Barry shares these examples of personal feedback received from CSM participants:
  • "I came seeking the joy I had lost. I felt numb--a lot of anger and bitterness and unforgiveness. God has set me free."
  • "The Lord had opened my eyes on how to live my life as a better life...how to speak words of life to people around me..."
  • "[For decades] I was carrying guilt and shame in regards to my sexual relationship with my husband before we were married. Today I was able to forgive myself and now we can move forward. Thank you..."
  • "I came believing that I had nothing to take from this, that I would listen, but not receive...quite the opposite happened. Much healing and cleansing. Thank you."

Barry himself has been part of over forty retreats in the past three years. He says that he's seen people changed in every single one. For many, it's an "aha" moment. Typically, CSM Seminar and Retreat leads people to say either "I never saw that before", or "I never connected that [from my past] to this [in my present life]"

In speaking with Barry about CSM’s approach, he says it’s vital for them to make it a safe place that’s healthy and supportive. For this reason, CSM follows a meticulous Discipleship Training process used by CSM everywhere. Because CSM participants are dealing with what are often quite raw and sensitive personal issues, leaders are trained to be vigilant observers, mindful of basic matters of respecting personal space and how to engage participants positively. Barry is also quick to point out that their work is to equip and pray for people, but they are not counsellors. There are times when they advocate further counselling for individuals requiring further professional care. Barry also recognizes that not everything can be achieved at a retreat. They want to help people work out a life process of developing “living in abundance” habits, staying focussed on God, and even learning how to receive His love each day.

For all considering involvement in Cleansing Stream Ministries, Barry shares that the bottom line is to, "put yourself in a position to receive and learn." He says, "all change starts from where you are." So--where are you? If you, someone you know, or your church could benefit from involvement in CSM, you can reach out through the links below:

Cleansing Stream Ministries Canada
web site: www.cleansingstream.ca
email: info@cleansingstream.ca

Cleansing Stream Ministries (U.S)
web site: www.cleansingstream.org