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)|
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 email@example.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.