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  • Writer's picturePastor Derrick Rawlings

iN Fauquier Article

Get to know us more by reading the original article: The Birthing of Freedom Worship Center A Church of Acts In Warrenton Alissa J Jones Mark 16:17-18 says, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Pastor Derrick Rawlings and his wife, Ashleigh, are co-founders of Freedom Worship Center, a non-denominational, Spirit filled church in Warrenton. Rawlings says his church is not about religion, but one where the Holy Spirit is free to move in power, modeling the Church of Acts in the Bible. Rawlings, a native of Ashburn, grew up both on the baseball field and at Living Faith, a non-denominational church in Manassas. With the love for the game and for Jesus growing in him congruently, it was only a matter of time before he would have to choose a path for his future. Rawlings’ pastor, Barry Lubbe, took an interest in his spiritual walk, “Normally 12-year-old boys aren’t taking notes in a sanctuary service,” says Rawlings. “After service, I’d go home, get in my room with my notes and my Bible and I’d write my own worship songs and music. I started preaching to Gizmo, my cat,” chuckles Rawlings, “he was the first one I preached to.” At 15, Rawlings received a prophetic word from his pastor that would ignite an inextinguishable fire in him. “He told me by the Spirit of God that I would preach the word of God and it would shake nations. He told me I would preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ with fire and passion and it would change the lives of many. What that meant to me was that I would get to walk the walk the Apostles had, and I just remember thinking, “Wow!”  In 1997, during his sophomore year, Rawlings and his family moved to Warrenton and he joined the Fauquier High School baseball team. Rawlings, who had been a member of the praise team at church since he was 14, says he found himself hungering for more of Jesus while still cultivating the passion he had for baseball. Ultimately, He gave up a road tour with songwriters, Donnie McGuire and Reba Rambo because it came down to he wanted to play ball in College. In his junior year at Virginia Wesleyan, major league ball clubs began approaching him and he admits he almost signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Padres Minor league. When Jesus gets hold of you, even if you’re trying to run, there’s no turning away. Rawling’s says his 4 years of College were wild times for him but admits that even though he was running he knew he would not be playing ball forever. “It’s like the Holy Spirit was holding my shirt while I was trying to run.”  The prophecy Rawling’s pastor spoke over him about preaching the Gospel with fire was about to gain momentum when things began to unravel for him physically, “I was a pitcher with dead arm, I was burnt out, and I was coming off drugs and alcohol.” Knowing things weren’t working his way, Rawlings says he gave his life back to Christ. “Jesus became tangible to me because with the path I was on, if He hadn’t, I would have died!” In 2007, Rawlings met the woman he says God showed him would be his wife. He married Ashleigh Paolicelli 9 months later and never started the ministry school he had planned to begin days after he met her. In 2008, while expecting their first child, Rawlings signed up for ministry school. He attended Liberty University online, and then transferred to Life University where he obtained his pastoral degree online, graduating in 2013. “Ministry education is not for degrees to hang up on the wall,” says Rawlings, “it is to prepare you for service. Education prepares you for service, the Holy Spirit empowers you for it.” Rawlings intends to pursue master’s degrees in both Pastoral Ministry and Theology and will eventually include an extension campus of Life Christian University at Freedom Worship Center. “If you build it he will come” may be a quote from the baseball movie, Field of Dreams, but that principle was at work at Freedom Worship Center. Rawlings says one morning he heard the Holy Spirit say, “If you let me build it, they will come!” It was soon after that, in 2016, the church that began with 3 people in Rawlings’ living room a year earlier, moved into the building they are in now, behind the Food Lion. Rawlings says it had been abandoned for two years and was a mess when they moved in, but to them it was “a diamond in the rough.” As of January 2018, Freedom Worship Center has experienced such an inpouring of new congregants they are searching out a new church home. “People are hungry,” says Rawlings, “they leave churches when there is no feeling of family and no power of the Word in manifestation. Family and power are pillars at Freedom Worship Center, says Rawlings. “Religion will not be found at our church; our ministry is about Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. As a pastor, I want to see the lost saved, but really, I want to see the saved, filled. “We started something out of nothing but a call and a vision,” says Rawlings.               Another piece of the vision God gave Pastor Rawlings and Ashleigh included planting other churches along the east coast, beginning in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. “It may not be in my lifetime, but I know that from there we fill up the east coast with Freedom Worship Centers.” Being a fast runner may have helped Rawlings on the baseball field, but you will never see this Holy Spirit filled, on fire for Jesus pastor, tucking tail and running away from preaching the truth of the Word of God. Rawlings, whose tattoos boldly reflect his love for Jesus and the Scriptures, is someone who doesn’t take lightly his responsibility to help others hear truth and walk in the purpose of their destiny. Pastor Rawlings believes there is an apostolic revolution being ushered in by the Holy Spirit, a revival that will be, and is now, taking place in revival hubs that have been ignited all over the country. Rawlings says he doesn’t see anywhere in the Bible where the Church of Acts was supposed to stop and says he believes Freedom Worship Center is one of those revival hubs where people will come to be saved, healed and delivered. People with cancer, cataracts and epilepsy have already experienced healing at Freedom Worship Center. Rawlings says Hollywood Christianity is not biblical Christianity. “Too many pastors these days talk about the psyche of what happens to you when you go through things, and give you formulas to help you get through, but there’s no power in that; God gave us the book of Acts and that’s where the power is.” Rawlings attributes this lack of knowledge in churches to pastors who water down the message of the Gospel, leaving out the importance of the life changing power of the Holy Spirit; “It’s my heart that believers know Their walk doesn’t stop at the Cross, it starts at the Cross.” “Pastors are leaders and it’s easy to lead through the good times, but there are tough times when you have to stand with your congregation and stand in the gap for them, maybe for tough stuff their family is going through. When it comes to leading, my word means squat if I’m not out there on the forefront.” Rawlings says the church has become politically correct and everyone is scared to say it. “The truth is that God has placed a call on Freedom Worship Center and I am okay whether I am liked or not liked. There are things that must be said right now that pastors of mega churches are afraid to say, but I say to them, “When are you going to stand?” As for me, I will stand and stand for truth in Jesus Christ.” Rawlings says God truly blessed him with the proverbs 31 wife he began praying for from the age of 12. “I would not be where I am today without my wife, Ashleigh. She is an incredible wife, and an amazing mother. Ashleigh is fearless, and a mighty woman of God. She is the absolute love of my life!” Rawlings says she encompasses all he asked God for in his wife and believes the best way to describe his wife’s awesome faith, and strong will is to share how they entered ministry: “Ashleigh encouraged me to go back to seminary/ministry school, even though, considering our natural circumstances it could not have been a worse time. I had just been laid off from my job, and Ashleigh was pregnant with our first child. But as a testament to my wife’s strong faith, it was on our way to my nanny and papal’s house to tell them the news on the very day we found out she was pregnant with our little Hannah that she looked at me and said “I think it’s time you go back to school, babe, we’re just delaying the inevitable. It’s time for you to go back to ministry school and walk out the call on your life.” Rawlings says he believes most people would have said, “We’re having a baby, so we need to save money.” “But my wife said, “It’s time to prepare to walk in our destiny.”  So, that’s exactly what we did, and God took care of our every need, financially, and in every other area. ‘Ashleigh is my strong right arm, and I would not be the man of God I am today without my amazing wife by my side. She is a strong, loving, and faith filled First Lady of Freedom Worship Center.” Rawlings says he and Ashleigh are very grateful for their 5 beautiful children, and continually thankful to God for the gift of life. “The word of God says be fruitful and multiply, so we are just doing our part,” He chuckles. Rawlings reveals that since planting Freedom Worship Center they envisioned it as one big family. “And that’s what God continues to birth,” he says, “one family, set on fire with the Holy Ghost, fully persuaded, radically living for Jesus.” Pastor Rawlings can be heard teaching and preaching the uncompromised word of God Sunday mornings at 10am and Wednesday evenings at 7pm, and often in between for impromptu services, as well as conferences. Pastor Derrick Rawlings and his wife, Ashleigh, live in Warrenton with their children; ages 7, 4, 2, 1 and 7 months. Freedom Worship Center will be taking the message of the church of Acts out to other local churches and venues, in their “Power with Purpose” tour scheduled for July.

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