Story by S.L. Hansen
(SNR) - The diocesan Unbound Ministry, a lay apostolate that helps people find freedom from wounds, sins and other troubles that compromise joy in Christ, will host a video series Mondays at the John XXIII Center in Lincoln beginning Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
There will also be an Unbound retreat at Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House in Waverly Jan. 22-24, led by Father William Holoubek.
Unbound focuses on providing a safe, practical model that helps people respond to the Gospel and apply the Lord’s grace, love and truth to their lives. Based on the book, “Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance” by Neal Lozano, it employs five keys that enable people to experience a profound conversion experience:
1. Repenting of sin and expressing faith in Jesus,
2. Forgiving oneself and others,
3. Renouncing the lies, spirits and tactics of satan,
4. Taking authority over the works of satan,
5. Receiving the Father’s blessing.
Father William Holoubek, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Sutton, St. Helena Parish in Grafton and director of the diocesan Mission Office, launched the Unbound ministry in the diocese after attending a 2014 Omaha conference featuring author Neal Lozano. He said the Unbound experience gave him and others from the Lincoln Diocese an opportunity to experience freedom in Christ in a new way.
Father Holoubek offered the Unbound video series in the fall of 2014, and led the first Unbound retreat last spring. The retreatants were assisted by the Omaha Archdiocese’s Unbound prayer team working with newly trained Lincoln Diocese Unbound volunteers.
“Several of the team members have gone through Unbound and that was really the changing point in their lives,” said Father Andrew Heaslip, diocesan director of the Religious Education and Evangelization Office, and diocesan digital media coordinator.
After several conversations about the fruits of this prayer apostolate, Bishop James D. Conley approved the hiring of Matthew Simmons as part-time Unbound coordinator for the Evangelization Office.
Simmons first learned about Unbound when he was a FOCUS missionary around four years ago. He said he found the five keys very helpful for some of the university students in his Bible studies. He also experienced spiritual freedom personally as he applied to the five keys to his own life.
“So many people suffer from loneliness, isolation, fear, abandonment, rejection, shame, and many other maladies,” he said. “As I began to find freedom from these things, I wanted to help others find the same freedom,” he said.
The Unbound prayer ministry is part of the Office of Evangelization because it is truly an outreach apostolate, according to Father Heaslip.
“When somebody is going through something difficult — some interior problems — and they get help, they come to a whole new level of faith,” he said.
Simmons’ primary role is to coordinate the video series, guide the prayer team, and lead individuals through the Unbound model, arranging for them to meet with a prayer team.
“I also am working to build a ministry infrastructure so that we can form a strong team that can consistently offer the faithful a fruitful experience with the five keys,” he added.
Both Simmons and Father Heaslip agreed that most people could benefit from going through the five keys and receiving prayer.
“Needing Unbound Ministry does not make a person weird, possessed, or mean they are damaged goods,” Simmons assured. “Most of us could use this ministry — anyone who is stuck, feeling heavy laden, depressed, sad, can’t overcome specific sins no matter how many times they go to confession, etc.”
Father Heaslip offered comfort to anybody who might be unsure about being prayed for by others.
“The Bible says, ‘Pray always without growing weary.’ Sometimes we do get weary, and we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to lift us up.”
The video series lasts eight weeks and covers the first nine chapters of the “Unbound” book. Each week, participants watch a video and then have a small group discussion about the content.
Anyone can be prayed for using the five keys, or by the diocesan Unbound ministry team. The only thing that is required is either reading the first nine chapters of the book or attending the video series, then contacting Simmons at the Evangelization Office.
A more focused Unbound experience is offered in the form of a weekend retreat. Father Holoubek is the retreat director. Men and women should come prepared to be prayed for with the five keys, having read the first part of “Unbound” or attended a video series beforehand.
“This preparation is necessary because the Unbound model is about the individual taking the authority they already possess in Christ and using it,” Simmons explained.
Father Heaslip said he hopes many people in the diocese will take advantage of the opportunity to experience Unbound’s five keys.
“We all have anxieties in our lives, fears in our lives. We all sometimes believe the lie that we cannot be loved by God,” he reasoned. “This is a way to deal with those lies and bring some peace.”
To sign up to attend the video series from Oct. 19-Dec. 7, go to https://www.regonline.com/UnboundDVD101915 or call 402-488-2040.
Men and women who have read the first nine chapters of the Unbound book or who have attend the video series are invited to register for the retreat by calling 402-786-2705 or by registering online at www.GoodCounselRetreat.com.