Have you been sozo-ed?

If no-one has asked you yet, someone may well do before long!

Sozo is a Christian inner healing and deliverance ministry that is rapidly gaining a following on the back of testimonies from grateful clients whom it has helped and Christian pastoral workers who claim they are getting better results, more rapidly, in those they are trying to help. In Britain it’s strictly called "Bethel Sozo" to minimise confusion with another ministry that was also using the name Sozo in the UK. Elsewhere, it’s just known as “Sozo” which comes from a New Testament Greek word meaning “to rescue, save or heal.”

What is Bethel Sozo all about?


This ministry began at Bethel Church in Redding California (yes, sorry, California again!) where two pastoral workers developed the approach, Dawna De Silva and Theresa Liebscher.

Sozo encourages those being ministered to dialogue with one or another person of the Trinity, asking questions and, hopefully, getting answers. It doesn’t involve counselling and the aim of those ministering is to be a catalyst to put the person they are ministering to in touch with God. Typically two people will be present with a client at a Sozo session, one two lead, the other to pray and record what happens.

In the context of the dialogue with God, Sozo makes use of  a number of fairly simple tools, some of which are listed below.


Sozo tools


The Father Ladder

Father God

My earthly father and other authority figures

Jesus, God the Son

My siblings and close friends

The Holy Spirit

My mother and others who nurtured me*

(*This isn’t saying the Holy Spirit is feminine, just that a mother’s role of nurture and comfort is like that of the Holy Spirit).

We tend to project our earthly experience of the people in the right hand column onto the corresponding person of the Trinity in the left hand column.  

Wounds and lies
When people go through distressing experiences their soul and spirit are wounded and they start to believe lies based on their experience. The Sozo ministry helps people to release forgiveness to those who have wounded them and to renounce the lies they have believed, especially those about God.

Presenting Jesus

This is not dissimilar to the “Jesus in the memories” approach to inner healing that has been around for many years.

The four doors
These are doors to demonic bondage that people tend to  “bolt” through to avoid emotional pain.  The four doors are:

•    Fear
•    Hatred
•    Sexual sin
•    The occult

The ministry helps people to step out from behind the doors, renounce the behaviour and beliefs associated with each door and to close the door behind them.

The wall
The wall is a structure that a person has built to keep at bay things they find it hard to cope with. It can be anything.  The ministry involves asking God to reveal what their wall is and to give them a tool to destroy it.

Two further tools, “trigger mechanisms and “divine editing” are introduced to students who do an advanced Sozo course.

Assessment


Me? Yes, I’ve been sozo-ed. It was a positive and helpful experience that put the seal on some good work God had been doing in my life already. I’ve also been to a Sozo training course and used of some of the sozo tools in helping others. I have been impressed by the gentleness and respect shown by Sozo leaders and the positive outlook that undergirds the whole approach.

Some people I know have been spooked by aspects of the ministry they have seen as “weird” – I think these aspects are related more to the cultural and church background of Dawna and Theresa than to anything inherent in the approach itself. Some people have difficulty with the idea of asking Jesus to show his presence in people’s memories. True, it’s not something either Jesus or the apostles are recorded as doing. But it is based on God’s omnipresence and Jesus’ promise to be with us always. On the basis of that promise Jesus, indeed all three members of the Trinity, were there in every situation, even if we didn’t see it, and finding out where God was and what he was doing can make a big difference to the way painful memories affect us in the present.