January 19th, 2011 at 10:35 am
Television, internet and newspaper outlets daily report on the reality of drug abuse and alcoholism in our communities. Closer to home, we all know a loved one, a friend or a family member who struggles with an addiction. Each of us have the opportunity and in fact the responsibility to “do something” to address this issue. Pretending that drug abuse and alcoholism is not a reality does not make it go away. In fact, the denial and secrecy actually fuels the spread of the addiction.
So what can you do as an individual and a church. The first step is to determine to do something and not sit quietly by. The reality is that there are others who feel the same and a beginning point is to begin to share your concerns and join together with others who want to make a difference. In the church, a beginning point is to do a survey of the perceived needs, resources and willingness to “do something.” It’s not about a great program, substance abuse ministry is about meeting needs and creating a place in a church where people can be real, struggle and find hope.
There are many things that a church can do. As a beginning point, a church can acknowledge and encourage kids and adolescents to stay drug free and make a stand during the annual Red Ribbon Week. Other churches may want to begin a substance abuse ministry like Celebrate Recovery, Faith Partners or set up small groups using the Life Recovery Bible. Programming is important but ministry also happens on an individual basis as people experience an environment of grace, hope and realness. Sometimes what a person is looking for is another who will walk with them on a painful journey.
As Christians, we are called to make a difference in our world. The world of addiction is real, and it’s all around us. Our response needs to be Christ-like in love, Christ-like in grace and far reaching in being Christ to hurting people who need someone to stand with them in the battle against addiction.
Article by Carrie Beard, Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission Substance Abuse Specialist