Charles Rodney Free
Apostolic Ministers Fellowship
1933 ~ Present
Charles Rodney Free was born November 16, 1933 in the home of William and Sudie Free, in Silsbee, Texas. The last of eight children, he was enrolled in Silsbee School District, and attended there from grades 1 to 12.
Rodney was converted in the First Baptist Church in Silsbee at the age of nine with a very personal experience. His first sermon was "The Net Gathered of Every Kind" preached August 17, 1947, in the First Baptist Church.
He was baptized in Jesus' name by Rev. Kimble Watson, on September 2, 1948, and received the Holy Ghost on September 22, 1948 at the First Pentecostal Church in Silsbee, Texas, where the late E.W. Stanley was pastor.
Charles and Herbert Free began their first revival together with Brother M. E. Burr at Batson, Texas. There was a phenominal outpouring of the Holy Ghost, a wonder to all. Other revivals followed, with thrilling results and signs and wonders by the Holy Ghost. At age 17, Rodney preached a revival with signs and wonders for Brother Robert LaFleur in Oakdale, Louisiana. Brother Eldon Reves was saved in that meeting. Next came meetings for C.C. Kirby, Royal Oak, Michigan, and Brother Silvernale in Bay City, MI, and Brother McFarland and Brother Fraze in Illinois.
October 30, 1951 was the wedding date for Charles Rodney Free and Bonnie Marie Cook. They were a team, in all classes of gospel work, and walked step by step and hand in hand, for 57 years, at this writing.
Charles Rodney Free assisted the late Corlis Dees in Texas, and continued evangelizing, including Brother Escar Dillion, Brother V.A. Guidroz, Brother Hennigan, Brother Fred Olson, Brother Marvin Cole in Bay City, Sister Mildred Deville, Brother Herbert Phillips, Brother J.T. Pugh in Port Arthur, and Brother M.C. Gree in Leesville, Louisiana, and had a great revival in South Bend, Indiana with Carl Ballestero. A 13 week revival with Brother O.R. Fauss of Houston, Texas still lives on today. One of the most exciting of all the revivals was in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with the great J.W. Evans. The revival in Bakersfield, California for Brother Ike Terry was a truly great move of God, with so many being saved. And there were many more.
Fruitful Ministry Foundation was formed in 1970. "How To Revive Any Church In 90 Days" was the theme, led by C.R. Free, Ray Majors, C.M. Duplissey, Verbal Bean, and M.C. Green.
Apostolic Bible School, led by Brother Verbal Bean, invited Brother Free to teach a course on "Communicating Your Message".
Brother Free pastored in Grove, Texas from 1954 to 1961, and built the great work there. Several Ministers were trained and deployed into the work of the Lord from there.
He assumed the pastorate at First Pentecostal Church of Sulphur, Louisiana in July, 1970. Brother Bill Cranford built that work up until his stroke and disablement.
The Apostolic Ministers Fellowship formed in Baker, Louisiana in 1968. Brother Free served as General Chairman for two terms.
In February of 1970, the late great evangelist and pastor Verbal Bean lost his life in a tragic auto accident. It had been his request that Brother Free would take his church. In May, 1970, Brother Free accepted that responsibility and labored faithfully for 13 years at that church. He led in the construction and complete pay off of a grand new building. Revival was constant, and attendance reached over 1,000 before his resignation. Several ministers and missionaries trained and were deployed during that time.
In 1985, Brother Free preached, "Evangelist Meets Dogmatist" during the General Conference of the UPCI in Fort Worth, Texas. Until today, ministers testify that it was the one message that changed their lives and directions.
Brother Free resigned in 1989, and spent 6 years building and operating 325 acres of tree, sod, and catfish farming in Chambers County, Texas. It was a time of work and refreshing for the Frees. Retired (they thought) they moved to Los Banos, California after recovering from a series of surgeries, to be with daughter Lori and her husband Doug Young. When Doug and Lori left, in 1999, the church voted 100% to ask the Frees to stay, and they did. And what a revival broke out. 100 were baptized in 3 months, and the church quickly grew beyond their strength to cover all the basess. Doug and Lori returned, and the blessing was everywhere.
Lori died in 2000, leaving her husband and two small children. Lauren, 7, and Anthony, 5.
The Frees also were blessed with the birth of Charles Randall Free in 1958. He is now the pastor of Crossroads Church in Denton, Texas.
The Frees now live in quiet retirement, preaching at special occasions, and researching and writing, in Spring, Texas. He serves the body in consulting and in conflict resolutions. Audio Recordings of C.R. Free are available in the audio library of the Apostolic Archives International.