The Flagship Programme at Ellel

From mid-May to mid-July this year I had the privilege of attending the Flagship course held at Ellel Grange near Lancaster. The location is stunning with incredible grounds, views and a real sense of a place that has been prayed over for many years. Ellel describe the Flagship course as “A life-changing 9-week programme that helps you steer your journey towards personal growth, healing, prayer ministry training and fruitful discipleship.”

I was anticipating being equipped and was ready to learn. However, what God had in mind would go much further and deeper than I could ever have imagined. I thought I was going to have the gaps in my experience filled, what actually happened was that the gaps in my heart were filled. Of course, I was equipped and trained, but more significantly my relationship with God changed. It has deepened, grown sweeter.

During the 9 weeks I began to see and understand more clearly that God is my Father, and I am his son. Loved and cherished because of all he has done to rescue me from sin and death and not because of my usefulness to him.

As you may be aware, a lot of Flame’s teaching is grounded in the teaching from Ellel.  During the first week we were looking at foundational teaching, the biblical foundations for healing (restoring godly order), knowing God personally and having deeper intimacy with the father. I know these subjects, I have taught on these subjects for many years, and yet there was more to be had. There always is!

During the course there was opportunity to receive ministry in what was known as “encounter times”. These were the moments when the things that the Lord had laid his finger on could be prayed through. In the first week there was a shift in my experience of the love of God the father, or more accurately, in his delight in me as his son. This may be a surprise to those of you who have heard me teach on this. It doesn’t mean that what I had previously taught was inauthentic, or untrue. The love of God the father for us as his children and our adoption into his family is truth (Romans 8:14-17), it is his truth, and that truth will always lead us into wholeness and freedom. It’s just that my felt experience of the love of Father God for me was lacking. I knew him as creator, sustainer, Lord, and the father who had adopted me, but to know his delight in me, that was not something that I had understood fully.

This has its roots in my own testimony where my experience with my earthly father was one of abandonment and indifference. I knew that there was a place of lack in my life, so when the opportunity for prayer ministry was offered, I said yes. I shared about what was lacking in my experience and some of my story. I had forgiven but there was more forgiveness to be done, there was more letting go. As I was prayed for the prayer minister had a picture where Father God was gathering his angels around and saying, “have you seen my boy?” I was undone. I wept as the affirmation of the Father surrounded me. I had not had affirmation from my own natural father, but here was Father God laying out the reality of who I am in him. It began a great healing in my innermost being. Something shifted in the heavenlies.

I had often said that I would never be close to my natural father. I had not seen him in 18 months but had arranged to see him on the way back home for the weekend, the day after being ministered to. On the drive down the Lord asked, “could you tell your dad you love him?” I honour him as my father, but to say that I loved him was big for me. I concluded that, in all honestly, I could. What happened next was remarkable. I was able to tell my natural dad that I loved him, and we had the best conversation I have ever had with him in my entire life. I was able to pray with him before I left. I was astounded at what the Lord had done, and this was week one on the Flagship course!

In addition to this, as the weeks unfolded, I was delivered from a trauma that happened to me when I was 6 years old. Through the ministry of creativity, I was able to bring the wounds that I was carrying, to be healed. All of this goes to equip me for the ministry that lies ahead. For all of us who minister we are all works in progress and in need of the touch of the father. In his timing he brings things to the surface, the things that we need to surrender to him. It is a daily walk.

People have asked me what I learnt on Flagship, my answer, “I am God’s son, and he loves me.” When we understand who we are, but more importantly whose we are, it gives us the solid foundation to move into ministry with assurance and confidence, not in ourselves or in our talent, ability or experience, but in him. In his name, power, authority, rule, forgiveness, healing and love.
Ian doing some woodwork in the Creativity session
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