The Sound of Freedom: How music changed one grad’s tune for ministry
After graduating from high school Les Fleetwood (Th.M., 1996) left his hometown in Saskatchewan, Canada, to travel with an evangelistic music team called Freedom Sound. For 10 months of the year Les and the team visited different churches weekly in Mexico and the United States. “It was a good exposure to ministry,” he says. “It made me appreciate the breadth of the body of Christ because we were in a lot of different evangelical denominations.”
After two years on the road, Les enrolled in a pre-med program, but his career goals had changed. About halfway through the program Les longed to return to Freedom Sound. When he told his father, who is a retired physical therapist, Les was surprised to hear his response. Unbeknownst to Les, his parents had been praying about opportunities to enter ministry as a family. They signed up for Freedom Sound, along with Les and his younger sister.
“It was pretty cool,” Les says. “We were always a close family because we didn’t have any relatives this side of the globe. My dad’s British (I was born in England) and my mom’s Italian. It drew us even closer.” After working with Freedom Sound for two years as a family, their home church invited Les’s father to become its pastor. His sister also returned to Canada, married a youth pastor, and got involved in ministry. And Les went home certain that he needed more training to continue doing what he loved, so he enrolled at Briercrest College.
A DTS connection
There Les rubbed elbows with people connected to Dallas Seminary, particularly Dr. Stephen Bramer, professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Seminary, who was then teaching at Briercrest. “Dallas Seminary was the place to go,” Les says. So in 1992 Les moved to Dallas with his wife, Nidelvia, whom he had met in Mexico during his years with Freedom Sound.
Up to the point at which he entered seminary, Les’s training had been evangelical but eclectic in approach. Dallas Seminary gave him a consistent way to approach the Scriptures. “My professors taught from one perspective but exposed me to all,” he says. “They gave me something solid to hang on to. I graduated knowing how to handle the Bible and how to interpret it. I can’t thank the Seminary enough.”
Now Les oversees ministry to more than 3,000 adults as pastor of adult life ministries at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. “I love what I’m doing, especially mentoring and developing leaders,” he says. “When people understand that the Christian life is becoming more like Christ, connecting with other people, and then serving out of that—that’s when they ‘get it.’”
In discipling others Les has learned “to slow down, listen more, talk less, and care more.” He slows down the potentially hectic pace of ministry by immersing himself in hobbies such as music and drawing, or by watching a movie from his 300 to 400 DVD collection with his wife. In fact, he credits her for helping him balance life’s responsibilities. “She’s a support, an encourager, and as committed to ministry at our church as I am. She gives me room to be me,” he says. “I can’t imagine life without her.”
Nor can Les imagine life without ministry at Stonebriar, where he sees himself staying put. “I am challenged every day, and I see myself doing what I’m doing right now,” he says, “just doing more of it, doing it better, and doing it more faithfully.”
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.