Newsletter for September 2011


Amazing. Annointed. Incredible. Life changing. Inspirational. What a blessing. Exhausting. A few of the words we heard as SIMPLY FREE 2011 drew to a close. (Okay, the last word was me talking to myself.) SIMPLY FREE edition # 4 was more than we could have hoped for.

  • Maybe as many as 7 of the inmates from the Rutherford County Workhouse gave their lives to Christ. What a blessing to watch them enjoy the lunch we provided for them and then open, with great delight, the new Bibles we gave each one. One young woman with tears in her eyes said, “I was overwhelmed by the bottle of cold water. We don’t get that in the jail.” And…2 of the guards accepted Jesus during the weekend. How cool is that?
  • A man called today and said, “My life was changed. Things I have carried for years I was able to give to God and He set me free. It began on Friday night when God came and gave me a kiss.”
  • The speakers were absolutely incredible, everyone of them. They shared their testimonies of freedom from hurts, tragedies, addictions, and mistakes. And we all identified with them, wept with them, rejoiced with them. Jonas Beiler said, “Life is about good choices, bad choices, accidents, and consequences.” We all choose how we will respond. Powerful!
  • The praise band was out of this world. It seemed like this year every song was exactly the right song at exactly the right moment. Our friends Mike and Hettie ward told their story of failure and God’s grace and Rob followed it by singing “I’m Not Guilty Anymore.” It was as if the Holy Spirit scripted the whole thing. Go figure!
  • A woman told us of being able to surrender her children, away from God, to Him for the first time. She was able to release the pain and fear of that as well as her own shame and guilt for not “raising them better.” She went through a deliverance about that and had a joy and freedom she has not know in years. Then on Sunday (after SIMPLY FREE) her youngest child called her to say he has just gone to church and given his life to Jesus! You can’t make this stuff up!!

There is not enough time or space to tell you all of the stories of healing, deliverance, and God’s amazing grace. Nor is there room to thank the dozens of workers that made this weekend possible. Every breakout leader, musician, greeter, chair mover, and sound technician; every single person was used by God to impact the lives of others. Thank you all. And for all of the rest of us…SIMPLY FREE 2012!

“From the moment Simply Free ends one year and I drive out of Murfreesboro, I am already looking forward to the following year. I truly believe as long as Simply Free exists, you will be stuck with me. It truly is one of the highlights of ministry for me each year!”  Susanne Hughes

“What a joy to break chains and find freedom as we ALL worshiped together!” Sheila Johnson Jessie
“My response is my responsibility” That one is going on my bathroom mirror!”  Amy Connor


Annually the Board of Directors meets just before Simply Free each year. Our meeting this year was exciting and a cause for rejoicing. We have such a gifted board, men and women that believe God, believe the mission of Branches, and are able to provide great wisdom and direction for the ongoing operation of Branches. The complete annual report is available online at our new website.

Bob Schwarz has led us to a place of excellence and accountability financially. We know where the money is coming from and where it is going at Branches. For the 2010-2011 fiscal year (our year is from August 1 to July 31) Branches raised nearly $500,000. Thanks to Bob and to Dena Jordan, our accountant, you can be sure that we handled that money carefully and spent it wisely.

Rob Nicodemus has developed the policies and procedures of Branches to an amazing level. Rob has worked tirelessly with counselors and administrative staff to create job descriptions, counseling forms, and structured methods. The vision of Branches has always been to be reproducible. Rob has helped us to do that.

Stacey Wessner is a hero. She has worked with a very limited budget to create an atmosphere of quality and credibility around Branches. As our Development Director Stacey has led us to improve the way we present the message and the ministry of Branches. We are all proud of the Branches “brand” because of her work. (The website is a prime example.)

Finally, Tracey Robison has helped Branches to do what we do very, very well. Under her leadership our counselors are well trained, compassionate and just good. We minister to hundreds each month not only with love but with tools and techniques well beyond what would be available to us without Tracey. She is really at the heart of Branches.

Every counselor, secretary, volunteer, and board member is vital to Branches. We would not be here without them and without you. But these 4 leaders have made the last year our best yet. They have helped moved Branches from a vision to a strong, sustainable ministry/business that works for the glory of God.


We are continuing to pursue the new building. The board provided great guidance in that process. We will do all due diligence to make sure that we make this decision carefully and prayerfully. The next steps are an appraisal and an inspection as well as a thorough examination of the covenants and restrictions of that property.

What Happens At An Intensive?

One of the most powerful healing events a Branches is the Intensive. The 3rd week of every month we usually have 3 to 6 people who come for this life changing week. They stay in an area hotel where we have negotiated a very discounted rate. During the day they are at Branches from 8AM to 8PM and most of the time, God does a miracle.

Intensives are for those that are in a crisis because of their addiction, depression, or family issues. It is for those who are stuck and need a break-through in their healing. And it is for those who deeply desire to move to a whole new level of healing, wholeness, and intimacy with God. Our plan for them is threefold:

  •  To reduce the level of pain in their lives so that they can proceed with the healing process.
  • To help them find an effective, on-going treatment plan that they can take home with them.
  • And to provide a deep, abiding hope that Christ can and will make a change in their lives and true peace is still available.

During the week each client will receive hours of individual counseling. They will experience group therapy and of campus support groups like Celebrate Recovery and Samson’s Society. They will go through EMDR, Inner-Healing Prayer, and other processes. And they will have daily chapel, bringing the things that God is doing emotionally into focus with what He desires to do spiritually in their lives.

We believe in Intensives. The cost of an Intensive is far less that the year of counseling sessions that we believe it replaces. If you or someone you love would benefit from a heart healing week at Branches call us today at (615) 904-7170. An information packet will be sent to you.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.