Anger. Fear. Jealousy. Rejection. These are just a few of the emotions with which people struggle.
Pastor Ron Schoenherr of Michigan, accepted Christ as his Savior over thirty years ago. He writes on his Pathways to Wholeness website at rcministry.org that “Justification occurred instantly and God made me spiritually alive! Not only was I instantly justified by grace but also, miraculously delivered from alcohol and smoking three packs of cigarettes a day by God, Himself!” Yet although God had done a wondrous work, he was still not “sanctified.” He still struggled with anger.
Pastor Ron recently travelled to the area to meet up with Ron Dean, who is involved in bringing the Pathways to Wholeness program to West Unity over two years ago and most recently, Bryan, Ohio. The current fall session marks the fifth time Pathways to Wholeness Seminar has been facilitated in West Unity.
He said that he didn’t understand why, since he had been Born Again that he continued to feel anger. He had read in Nehemiah 9:1-2 that “1) On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. 2) Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.” He realized that he was dealing with a spirit of anger that had been passed down through generations in his family. He needed to deal with the sins of his ancestors, by renouncing it and breaking its ties.
Through participating in or teaching various classes, seminars and Bible studies during his walk with God, Pastor Ron decided to develop the Pathways to Wholeness ministry, designed to help people break these generational ties. He says that “The development of the Pathways to Wholeness Seminar has been the ongoing process of sanctification since the beginning of my walk with God and coming to the revelation of what was holding me back from becoming the man of God the Bible talks about. I am no longer bound by the law of sin operating in my life, and I am no longer angry! God healed my broken heart and filled me with peace and joy! I am able to love God with all my heart, love my neighbor because I can love myself.”
Knowing that people continue to behave in ways that they find abhorrent, and feel emotions that they are struggling to eliminate, Pastor Ron found an explanation in scripture. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:20-23, “I want to do right, but do not…there is a law operating in my members…warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Schoenherr said that when reading those verses, he asked himself, “What does that look like? Since I repented, then why am I still stuck if Jesus suffered on the cross for me?” He realized that he was caught in generational iniquity, and that it was similar to diseases that are passed down through family lines. He asked himself why we were not doing like the Israelites had done and confess the sins of the family.
Pastor Ron added that 85 percent or more of people raised in this world cannot remember their father telling them that they loved them when they were growing up. They did not get the affirmation from their father, leading to broken hearts from rejection and abandonment. This can result in them challenging their heavenly Father because of the relationship with their parent on earth. Schoenherr said that this is addressed in Pathways to Wholeness, and he has seen God restore their brokenness.
In Lessons 1 and 2 we deal with forgiveness. Forgiving is not excusing what a person did, however, it is a choice to release the other person from our judgment and let God be the judge. Without forgiveness, says Pastor Ron, you won’t hear from God. First on the list is forgiving yourself. Beyond that, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37), and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
Schoenherr said that the program is based “strictly on the Word of God” and that they pray corporately and no one is singled out. He says that Nehemiah’s words are still Biblically sound today.
He does not charge churches to hold the program in their buildings. They trust God for donations. He wants to help as many people as possible, and he has a special heart to work with pastors.
So far, the Pathways to Wholeness program has been presented in five states and will be heading to Mexico this winter. Pastor Ron has also put together a book presenting the ten lessons. The curriculum is being translated into the Spanish language.
Schoenherr recommends that participants repeat the program. His colleague Rick Swann has taken the program twice, and Ron Dean has participated four times. Pastor Ron explained in an analogy that the first time one experiences the program, it is like a trickle of water from an eye-dropper. The second experience is like water from a hose; the third time is like the pouring out from a fire hose; and the fourth time is like you are immersed in the river. The program allows one to see themselves through God’s eyes.
For those who want to “forget what’s behind, move forward” with their “baggage removed,” Pathways to Wholeness is there for those wanting to be set free. The West Unity United Methodist Church is the site for the Pathways to Wholeness Seminar. This is a weekly class that is being offered as a “comprehensive 10 week course.” The seminar is described on the website rcministry.org as “a discipleship study based on the truth of the Word of God.” All sessions are free and open to the public, though donations are welcome. There is a small fee for the ministry day, which is only to cover the cost of expenses. The church is located at 311 North Liberty Street in West Unity, Ohio. Sessions begin Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. There are also sessions being held on Wednesdays at C.E. Electronics in Bryan, Ohio, at 2107 Industrial Drive, also from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Although they are presently conducting the 4th session, those wishing to participate are still welcome. Individuals can catch up on missed sessions by going to the website at www. rcministry.org.