The Vision, Development & History of
by Roger Sachs
“Where there is no vision the people perish, but he that keeps the law, happy is he.”
When I was born again in August of 1975, I was absolutely blown away by God––that Jesus was really real and that the Bible was actually true. Coming out of total rebellion against everything and anybody, it was a real adjustment. But I always wanted to know the truth and always was very confused about life and death: what’s it all about? When a country preacher named Glen Adkins led me in a prayer to receive Christ, that question was answered with a powerful revelation and a total heart change. It’s all about Jesus! He is the answer to everything eternally, and we are invited to participate in His mission.
Immediately I had a vision for my life. I wanted all the people I love, as well as everyone else, to be rescued like I had been. I dove into the Bible and started right away documenting how God broke through my hard skull to get to me. I knew I was supposed to write the story, because it was so radical and filled with supernatural events. At the same time, I had a vision to start a ministry with a small group of my new friends who also just got saved. I named it PFC, which was short for “People For Christ.” I was not interested in making any kind of legal ministry or moneymaking organization. In 1975 I figured I could live on $200 a month and could earn that amount like Paul in the Bible did by working with my own hands. I remembered how I hated all the hypocritical Christians begging and manipulating people for money on TV and the radio. I didn’t want to be anything like that.
God started my missionary ministry in a dream.
I woke up knowing that I was to go find my drug-dealing partner Ernesto Hernandez in Mexico. I was apprehensive because I had a contract out on my life from some dangerous drug dealers in Tijuana. I woke up and went to church that same morning but didn’t hear one word from the guest preacher, because I was busy complaining to God, “I can’t go to Mexico right now. It’s too dangerous!” No sooner did I say that in my mind, when the preacher said, “If God told you to do something, there is no danger too great! Just do it!” I knew that was another supernatural “coincidence” in a very long line of supernatural things happening left and right. I said, “Okay, Lord, I’ll go!” I had only been saved a couple months.
What happened is a very long story, which I did write in a testimony book named Fire on the Mountain. But the bottom line is that I led Ernesto to Christ, and we became partners in the Lord to reach out to our old friends. We went back into La Mesa prison in TJ, and for over thirty years until his death a couple years ago we ministered together. In addition to our prison work we started a forty-acre Christian rehab ranch outside of Tecate, Mexico. We also planted a couple churches during that time, and I still have very close relationships with Ernesto’s family who carry on the ministry even today.
But when I started taking individuals and church groups to Mexico to help in the work, we eventually needed to incorporate and be able to give tax-exempt receipts to people who donated money and other things. We did not incorporate for seven years after we started; however, in 1982 I founded Freedom Crusade. I tried to get the name “People For Christ,” but that name was taken. God gave us instead Freedom Crusade, which I liked because one of my mentors, Big Jim Tucker, had a prison ministry named New Life Crusade. I worked in that ministry for years and was on the board of directors. Big Jim had the same vision to reach some of the most unreachable people—and everyone in between.
So from the very beginning God gave us a missionary vision and a call to the nations. At the same time, I was introduced to the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in 1975, which was about one year old at the time. I loved that ministry immensely and feel that the pastor and founder Kenn Gulliksen was the most loving and powerful minister ever. I attended that church for years and saw a huge ingathering of souls. It was the tail end of the Jesus People movement, but still a wonderful evangelistic outpouring was happening. It has been implanted into my DNA. Part of our vision for Freedom Crusade was adopted from Kenn Gulliksen’s vision. It is “that we help as many people as possible to become a success in the kingdom of God!” It has become a key part of my personal vision as well as for our ministry. Also, like it says in 1 Timothy 1:5, “the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith!”
In about 1978 I had a personal visitation (while washing dishes of all things), and I smelled roses so strongly that it made me turn around to see if someone brought a giant box of roses in the house. There was no one there, but I heard the Lord say, “I have called you to write and paint.” So that has also been a big focus to our vision. It was a confirmation, because I came to California from Ohio to pursue an art career, and I always had a burden to write. A few years later I also married Roxanne, who is a very talented artist. We both have a huge vision for the creative arts and to help all the gifted people to develop their talents and callings.
When I personally moved from LA County to Orange County in 1978, I eventually attended Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, pastored by John Wimber. Kenn Gulliksen had recommended that particular fellowship as a sister church to the Vineyard. On Mother’s Day 1980 Lonnie Frisbee arrived, and one of the most powerful recorded meetings ever happened at that church! It caused so much controversy that John Wimber was forced to leave the Calvary Chapel covering. Many thought that hundreds of young people getting completely knocked to the floor when Lonnie prayed was not from God. But it sparked another worldwide Christian movement. Kenn Gulliksen offered John to come under the Vineyard banner, which he did in 1982. I was an eyewitness to that whole time period, and through a series of more divine interventions I became personal friends with Lonnie Frisbee.
When Lonnie and I started working together in missions, Lonnie said, “The Lord had you cut your teeth on Mexico missions, but God is going to expand it to include the whole world.” That prophetic word has come true in dramatic ways. In addition Lonnie asked me to be the ghostwriter for his life story. I spent three years working on Lonnie’s story right up until his death in 1993. Less than a year after Lonnie died in February of 1994, Freedom Crusade sent us out on a long-term missionary journey to England, South Africa, Namibia, and New Zealand. We were overseas for fourteen months and then spent another year in Alabama. It was Lonnie’s word in action. I am forever dedicated to the Great Commission in our vision.
When I was on the mission field, my main focus was on street evangelism and forming teams to go out on the streets. God gave us a particular strategy, and we were immediately able to win lots of souls to Christ. The greatest success was in England, but we loved each nation and the wonderful people we worked with and reached for the kingdom. When we were in England sharing Christ (right down the street from the church where Smith Wigglesworth was baptized in the Holy Spirit), the Lord spoke to me and said that when I returned to America, I was to focus on media. That is a huge part of our current ministry vision to reach as many souls as possible with the gospel message. Like Lonnie would say, “We need to see the one and also the multitude!” That has been engraved into our vision also.
Roxanne and I retired from our secular careers, and we moved up from Southern California to the Central Coast in 2006. I continued our missionary work to Mexico and also devoted most of my time writing and working on a film documentary. (To date we have published three books and are working on three more presently.) We also started a cable TV program named Higher Ground and produced a monthly thirty-minute program, which we broadcast. So, we have diligently been focusing on media as the Lord directed years ago in England.
I learned from our evangelistic work that when you actually step out and share Christ in a serious and committed way, the Lord will give you great success. The difficult part is finding a good place for the new converts to grow in Christ. There is a huge need for healthy churches. In addition to starting a TV program for the Central Coast, we decided to plant a local church. We started in a home and then moved to the Healing Rooms’ new facility for another two years. Eventually, Freedom Crusade purchased a former Methodist Church building in Shell Beach, California. We named the church Pearl Chapel by the Sea.
At present we have divided our ministry, Freedom Crusade, into four main branches with legal DBA’s (doing business as):
As the founder and director of Freedom Crusade, my vision continues to be focused on overseeing and developing each of these important areas of ministry. Over the last forty-three years our ministry has partnered with many other ministries and individuals, which I praise God for. My vision is to continue networking with all these co-laborers in Christ, many of whom are spread across the globe. Even while I was writing this overview of our vision, I had a phone call from a South African man from Bloemfontein, South Africa, who was fifteen years old in 1978 when Lonnie Frisbee and Peter Crawford spoke at a home meeting in his city. They were blasted by a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit. He was in a prayer circle with nine other kids, and five of those kids are now serving in full-time ministry. This man, Hamilton Filmalter, was a guest speaker at our chapel recently. His ministry has planted more than a thousand churches in Pakistan and other nations and is touching the Islamic world with the message of Christ.
My vision for Pearl Chapel is to train young leaders to develop their gifts and callings. It is also an opportunity for us to allow free reign of the Holy Spirit to help us plant and develop a healthy local church. We want to emphasize the importance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to be a “presence” church and not so much a “program”-oriented church. When I was praying about renting or buying a meeting place for our church, God spoke and said, “It will be a kingdom hot spot! That is very cool! We are anticipating another major move of God and an outpouring of salvations. We want to be ready to love and help equip new believers and get out there ourselves, winning souls to Christ. We are focused on the young, but we must also come together representing the different generations.
Remember the encouragement from the Lord in the last book of the Old Testament. The very last verse in Malachi says: “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I came and smite the earth with a curse.” We definitely don’t want God to “smite the earth with a curse.” No, I would rather focus on Joel’s prophecy, where God says:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, you old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”
I see that happening at the Pearl, and I feel we are making tremendous progress in all areas. I love the gifts being used and modeled to all. I love Roxanne’s art vision being implemented and encouraging other creatives to gather together and bless one another in their giftedness. I love the way Daniel Wrage has stepped up to the plate in leading the Wednesday night meetings as well as the outreaches and other pastoral duties. In the last two and a half years he has matured into a very effective and loving leader. He also has a missionary vision after my own heart. Roxanne has laid her life down for all of the young leaders at the Chapel, including the worship teams and guest speakers. It has freed me up quite a bit to also focus on the other branches of the ministry.
We are at a growth point right now, which is very exciting. We are praying about doing a Sunday service, expanding our team, and perhaps adding more Bible studies, etc. Right now Roxanne does a women’s study, and Daniel does a Thursday morning men’s study. We want to do more local outreaches, which Daniel has been heading up as well as ministering in a local high school. A small team is going to Mexico with Marwan Bahu, who is a board member of our ministry, next month. In the future I see our little Chapel sending out short and maybe some long-term missionaries to the nations.
To sum this all up, we are seeing God move in so many areas of Freedom Crusade. We are almost finished with the third and final Lonnie Frisbee book about his life. Two of the most anointed people in the world, Lou Engle and Phil Aguilar, have both recently partnered with us in a vision for getting the Lonnie books out to the people. They believe it will produce a huge harvest. It was Lonnie’s vision also. We are also adding to our staff gifted individuals to help produce the documentary and also to utilize the power of the Internet to communicate the message of Christ.
All hands on deck!