Churches minister to recovering addicts

By June 23, 2008

USA (MNN) — International Bible
Society-Send the Light
has developed resources to help churches minister to
people recovering from addictions. 

"A little more than one out of every five people in America
struggles with addictions to destructive sexual behavior, pornography, alcohol,
drugs, food, or gambling," said Mike Richards Jr., Director of Recovery
Ministries for IBS-STL. 

"Statistics also show us that there's no difference in the
amount of addiction inside the church versus outside…and that can be sobering

Churches are using the Journey of Recovery New Testament and
DVD to launch recovery ministries, to enhance ministries they already have, or
simply to reach out to addicts and connect them with resources in their communities. 

Available in the NIV or TNIV, the Journey of Recovery New
Testament contains stories of recovering addicts, insights on the 12-step
recovery program, special meditations, lists of resources, and self-tests for
diagnosing levels of addiction. 

The DVD contains much of the same information, including a
roundtable discussion with eight people recovering from various kinds of
addictions. For many people who have
been in secular addiction recovery programs, these resources help them connect
Christ and His Word to their recovery. 

The Journey of Recovery resources also offers help to those
affected by the destructive behaviors of their loved ones. 

"For every addict, there are three to four other people who are directly impacted by their addiction. So the ripple effect of addiction is very, very significant," Richards said. 

Many resources, such as stories, self-tests, quotes for
sermons, and a 90-second video, are available for free on the Journey of
Recovery website
. Churches can download
the high-resolution video for free and show it in a morning service before
distributing the resources. Customizable
bulletin inserts will soon be available. 

Rick Baldwin, senior pastor of Friendswood
Community Church
in Houston, TX, used the Journey of Recovery resources
to bring more people into the church's recovery support groups.

"Hundreds of people in our church and community struggle
with addictions. In our Sunday services,
I told two anonymous stories about church members who faced their addictions
and have seen Christ change their lives through recovery. At the end of the message, I offered the Journey of Recovery New Testament and DVD to those who knew someone who struggles with addiction. Our people
snapped up all 300 copies of these resources, and the next night our recovery groups
had many new members."

Some churches cannot afford a church-wide distribution, so
they offer the resources to a few targeted Sunday school classes. Even if a church does not plan to start a
long-term recovery ministry, Richards said the Journey of Recovery resources
can change lives. 

"A majority of people that are in addiction are not reaching
out for any kind of help. They're in so
much shame, guilt and fear, particularly as believers…they won't admit their
problems are as bad as they are. If we
can get these resources into their hands, God can begin to use His Word. He can
begin to use the things that we put inside the New Testament and DVD, and He can begin
to speak to their hearts over time."

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