Should Your Church Do Recovery?
There are some people who believe that recovery should be contained in secular institutions; they believe the problem with substance abuse is "above" the church. Yet there is one thing that secular recovery programs do not offer...and that is Christ, who is above all.
I am not against secular recovery programs; I have seen people complete their programs and do extremely well; matter of fact, our church has recommended secular programs before, as some people need professional help where medications are required to help in their sobriety. All healing is God's healing, whether it comes through the hands of secular doctors and therapist or through medications. Yet while the secular provide the physical and mental healing...the church is called to do something more.
At the end of the day, regardless of the method of recovery, people still need Jesus and that's where the church comes in. Too often we look at our churches as social or religious gathering, when the truth is, God called His church to be a spiritual hospital; a place where people can become well and grow stronger; a place where everyone can find Christ...and grow in Christ.
You may say, "I agree with that statement...but why should I start a recovery program in my church?" My church is not a total recovery church; we preach the gospel, have strong youth programs, and powerful worship just like any other church; but we have been doing recovery ministry for over eight years now and here are some things I have learned about a church with a recovery ministry. By the way, we use a program called the Addiction Deliverance Outreach; a simple four-step program that has maintained a 58% recovery rate over the last eight years. You can purchase the book and/or workbook here. http://www.lifeway.com/product/005311090/
What a recovery program brings to the church
1) Evangelistic Platform: Every person in your church knows someone who is involved with drug or alcohol abuse; when your church offers recovery, it creates an evangelistic opportunity for you to draw them into the church...and to Christ. A church that offers help for addicts also has the unique opportunity to speak the gospel into their lives...and that's what it's all about.
2) Relevancy: A church that does not have some type of recovery program is a church that will soon lose its relevancy. Why? Because we see that while secular rehabs are "helping" people, there is still something missing. Statistics prove that our local and national court and judicial systems are leaning more and more on faith based recovery programs; why? Because they are producing real life change. In my church alone, we have four different court systems that send people to our recovery program...not counting the clientele our jail and prison ministries provide. A church that says, "We don't need a recovery program" is a church that is saying, "Let's ignore one of the biggest problem in our society and in our churches." Don't be a GOOBER...reach out to real needs!
3) The Cornelius Miracle: When a church offers a recovery ministry, it does more than attract the addict; it also attracts the addict's family. I have seen people enter recovery and then watch their entire family show up each weekend to support the person in recovery. And I have also seen both the client AND his or her entire family come to Christ...just like Cornelius and his family in the book of Acts. Recovery does more than help people with substance abuse; it shows people the truth; a truth that can literally change the eternal destination of entire families!