The History of Exchanged Life Ministries
Exchanged Life Ministries of Colorado was founded and incorporated in 1986. It evolved from a like-minded ministry in Denver, where many of its staff had worked together for several years. The staff of ELM are committed to utilizing the finished work of Christ and the sufficiency of the Scriptures for counseling, training, and discipling. The ministry approach is based on Isaiah 40:31 - "Yet those who wait upon the Lord shall exchange their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
God had made this verse real in the life of each staff member, as well as Galatians 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh (body) I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
These two verses, as well as others, teach Christians what they intuitively know; that is, if their Christian experience is not based on radical transformation, then changing behavior, feelings, or thoughts is not going to be possible except for brief moments of time.
Christians who study the Bible with sincerity and integrity realize that if their heart is estranged from God, if His fruit is not present, if they are controlled by circumstances, and if they are self-centered, then something is wrong. By the age of 40, most people realize that they cannot change themselves. It is often at this time they are ready to understand that God never intended to change our lives, but rather He intended to exchange our lives for His. An entire approach to counseling, discipleship, and training was built upon this model of Biblical truth, rather than being built on the answers of man.
The History of the Association of Exchanged Life Ministries
In 1986, five sister ministries that were already like-minded in belief and practice, joined together and formed an associational structure known as the Association of Exchanged Life Ministries (AELM). Although remaining independent of each other, they became voluntarily accountable to each other. By means of meeting together at least once a year, they can and do provide uniform training standards and materials, while at the same time allowing for some creativity in how training others is accomplished.
This Association has grown dramatically in size and outreach, with sister ministries now in place internationally. Each year, several more non-profit, Christ-centered training and discipleship ministries apply and are accepted into membership. In 1998, the Association decided to allow individuals to become full (voting) members by joining the non-profit corporations already in place. In 2003, churches were for the first time allowed into membership, under certain provisions.