Celebrate Recovery program shows promise


By Marvé Ralston, special contributor
What is the outcome or result of one changed life? I think that is what “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the well-known Christmas classic, was based upon. One life and all the people one life touches.
Sometimes we focus on the numbers, while many of the most dramatic changes we cannot see immediately. They begin one often-painful and time-intensive change in one person at a time. The changes continue producing fruit for generations and touching unlimited numbers of people. How do you measure that?
When we think of programming, we are looking for measurable results. Sometimes they might be in process. That is tough. In this techno-savvy world, we are conditioned to expect instantaneous or at least easily measurable results. Human beings are not, by nature, wired that way.
It takes time when the recipient of your energy, love, compassion, empathy and knowledge is a human being. Sometimes it takes more than one person or group of people to bring a person into wholeness. Often that starts with a program, and, in the church, it should be Christ centered.

Lyndon UMC hosts a Celebrate Recovery meeting. The Christian program helps people with alcohol, drug and other addictions. (photo by Marvé Ralston)
One such program that is offering promise in the Five Rivers District is Celebrate Recovery. It started in Osage County, when Lyndon United Methodist Church’s pastor, Rev. Loren Drummond, began working with a group of fellow clergy and laity to brainstorm how such a program could be implemented.
Five churches were instrumental in the foundation of the program’s beginning. Four churches are from Lyndon: Lyndon UMC, First Baptist Church, Assembly of God, Mount Pleasant Community Church and Grace Community of Overbrook.
There originally were two start-up locations. The current program is in Lyndon at the First Baptist Church. The Overbrook location in Grace Community Church has been discontinued.
 All involved with the planning agreed that in order for this program to be most effective it would need more energy than one pastor and congregation could provide. This need could be best met by a group of concerned denominations and people working together. That said, Lyndon UMC has remained very involved both in passion and leadership.
Drummond applied for a grant on Nov. 30, 2011, from the United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV) for start-up funding for Celebrate Recovery of Osage County. They were given $4,000, which got them up and running. The program officially began in June of 2012.
So, what is Celebrate Recovery? You can find just about everything you need in the way of information on their website at www.saddlebackresources.com.
This program began at Saddle Back church and was founded in 1990 by Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” and John Baker. The program is aimed at all “hurts, habits and hang-ups,” including but not limited to drug and alcohol addictions, sex addiction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and people who have been sexually abused.

It differs from Alcoholics Anonymous in that they are very specific about whom the “higher power” is. The first principle of the program is “Jesus Christ is the one and only Higher Power.” The program is first and foremost a Christ-centered ministry.
The Bible and Celebrate Recovery curriculum consisting of the leader’s guide, four participant guides and the Celebrate Recovery Journal are to be used exclusively.

“It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory,” wrote Rick Warren in the program book introduction.
The group meeting in Lyndon consists of pastors, leaders and participants who have been working through the steps and principles themselves first to better help others. They are trained through the curriculum how best to work through the steps and principles through Bible study and small group, gender-based breakout sessions.
They begin with dinner, move to a short worship/praise meeting as a group with a biblically based lesson. They end the evening by breaking into male/female groups to work out of participant guided workbooks.
I think one woman in the group summed it up very well.

“It’s just so good to know I am not alone with my problems. There is this group of ‘safe’ people that I can call on at any hour to help me work through my problems,” she said.

A group leader shared how even those who started out to be in leadership have realized they also had issues and “steps” to work through as well.

So, one life at a time, Lyndon UMC, along with neighboring churches, is working on making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Sound familiar?

Rev. Loren Drummond and his group are willing to offer advice and help if you are interested in starting a Celebrate Recovery program at your church. Their leaders visited several other groups in existence before launching their current program.

For more information about the program, contact Rev. Drummond at pastordrum@yahoo.com or at Lyndon UMC, 785-828-4744. 
Marvé Ralston is the Five Rivers District administrative assistant in the Kansas East Conference.

The original article was published in the Five Districts newsletter and is used with permission.

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