Each year, my wife and I pause and reflect on many things during the last two weeks of the year. We have both purchased new calendars and will begin to lay out plans, not only for the new year’s travel but to focus on each role we have and how to be better equipped to excel in that area. When I look at the different roles and responsibilities God has given to me, I find these: Christian, husband, father, RU International Director, etc. In each of these areas, I have chosen someone at the “next level” from whom I can learn. This person is someone similar to me in that area and I find a way to learn from them. This is often accomplished by choosing to attend a couples retreat or a conference that would have speakers who would challenge and provoke me with God’s Word in that particular area of focus. It is imperative that all of us continue to grow in our own personal lives so that God can use us more effectively in each of our roles.
In an effort to help you in your myriad of roles, I am suggesting a few resources that I highly recommend:
Reading Resource: Are We There Yet? by Paul and Terrie Chappell
Most people get married with the assumption that marriage itself is the destination. But somewhere along the way, we discover that it’s more of a journey. If you’ve lost your way…or lost your joy…or just want to get the most out of the journey, the pages of this book will help you clarify your destination, refuel your gas tank, replenish your snack cooler, and wash those bugs off your windshield to reveal a God-given perspective that can change and strengthen your marriage.
Purchase here: https://strivingtogether.com/products/are-we-there-yet/
Reading Resource: Passionate Parenting by Cary Schmidt
Passionate Parenting is about pursuing the heart of your teenager and helping that heart fall in love with the heart of God. It all begins with examining your own heart as a parent. It begins with being passionate about your own relationship with Jesus Christ and His will for your life. Then it overflows into a passionate, heart-focused, parent-teen relationship that is built on authenticity, transparency, laughter, godliness, and growth.
Reading Resource: Umbrella Fella by Steve Curington
Within every believer’s heart is a desire to be all that God would have us to be. But, how can we be what God wants us to be when we cannot even do the things God wants us to do?! Umbrella Fella will help us better understand our position in the kingdom of Heaven’s chain of command. Once we understand our position, it will forever change our disposition. It all begins with a two-letter preposition, the little word IN.
Event Resource: Recovery Conference | June 4-7, 2018
This is the one event of the year that you do not want to miss. This conference is the premier national conference on faith-based addiction recovery. This conference will connect your church as God’s solution to our nation’s addiction epidemic. Learn how you can be on the front lines meeting the needs of the community while also growing your church. It will change your ministry forever! The RU Recovery Program is a unique opportunity for today’s church to bridge the gap between church leadership and the needs of people. In this conference, your questions will be answered. You will hear from the experts that will cast a vision for church growth through this dynamic ministry to the addicted. You will hear countless testimonies of those who have found hope and recovery through this program. Get involved in the one conversation that will affect the future of the church’s involvement in community outreach. We guarantee that you will walk away from this conference refreshed, encouraged, and equipped with many great ideas to take back to your church.
More Info: https://rurecovery.com/recoverycon
Some of our responsibilities may be improved by reading a book or scheduling time with someone to discuss questions regarding our role. Steve Curington often reminded us, “If you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to be what you have always been.” I don’t know about you, but I know me! I want to improve in all areas of my life! Sadly, I have miserably failed in some areas of my life. In other areas, I have struggled; and yet, in other areas, I just need some “fine-tuning”. It is with that spirit that I go to God and my counselors and seek opportunities to grow and expand. May the Lord bless and help us all to conquer each and every role He has entrusted to us with His supernatural power.
The short answer to this question is: Yes, faith-based addiction recovery programs work and with great success. The long answer is found when answering the question: How do they work and why do they work so well?
I have been the International Director of RU Recovery Ministries for over 16 years and I have witnessed the miracle of changed lives over and over again. It never gets old to see God transform someone’s life from being a hopelessly addicted drug user to a recovered and restored vessel for God. Recovery is possible and Hope is available through faith in Jesus Christ.
I recently learned that over 400 studies have been conducted on the role of faith in addiction recovery and these studies have found a success rate of 40%-60% in most faith-based programs. This is significantly higher than the success rate of programs that do not incorporate faith or spirituality into their programs.1 2
Fear and addiction typically go hand-in-hand and people live with the fear that there is no hope for them to beat an addiction. With a faith-based recovery program, there is hope. This is one of the main ingredients that make the difference for the faith-based approach. There is hope and recovery available. This is why, in the RU Program, we don’t sit around and tell war stories of addiction. In the first hour of our program, new students are bombarded with testimonies of victory and recovery over addiction.
Another key ingredient to the success of faith-based programs is the support of the local church. Faith-based addiction programs can serve as a bridge between the local community and (as we like to say at RU) “God’s Support Group, the Local Church.” Having a church family that loves and surrounds these individuals helps create a support network of family that the addict can rely on when the pressures of life hit. Many people who fall into addiction have burned bridges with their families and loved ones and don’t have a support group on which they can depend.
Also, a key to faith-based programs is the infrastructure to lovingly hold these individuals accountable. With faith-based programs, you have individual volunteers and staff that genuinely care about people and will go out of their way to hold them accountable while showing them real love. Since most faith-based programs do not receive insurance money to pay for treatment, they are very inexpensive and run at minimum cost. Money is certainly not a motivation for the staff and volunteers of these programs. Their main incentive is to help people in need.
The “secret sauce” and main ingredient to the success of the RU Program and many other faith-based programs is teaching our students to have a personal, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. Faith-based recovery programs help people realize that they are not alone in addiction—and if they place their trust in Jesus Christ and depend on Him, they can beat whatever addiction it is that has them in bondage.
You cannot argue with a changed life. And in faith-based addiction recovery, we are seeing lives changed every day. Here in our ministry, you will not be shunned or disgraced because you have an addiction. You will be supported, cared about, and encouraged.
Placing all of your trust in Jesus Christ may be new to you and it might be a difficult idea to understand, especially if you’ve never seen it work. But…if you can see the miracle in someone else, maybe it will bring hope and encouragement that you too can be made free…finally!
Check out these links to stories of those who have come through our program and have been made free from addiction through the power of faith in Christ and Faith-Based Addiction Recovery Programs:
[su_box title=”Video Links” style=”soft” box_color=”#f4f3f3″]
Faith-Based Addiction Recovery Works: https://youtu.be/AxYuFgHkD7g
Rodney – A Case For Faith Based Recovery: https://youtu.be/YIa1DJ80EqM
Jerry and Nicole – A Case for Faith-Based Recovery: https://youtu.be/9akDBibk2_w
James and Kim – A Case for Faith-Based Recovery: https://youtu.be/p_AySFsTYMg
Joe’s Story: Crack Cocaine Addiction Recovery: https://youtu.be/kpX1u582Qas
Addtional Articles on this Subject:
Chris David | RU Chapter Director – Delaware, OH
I love my country, the liberties of publicly serving the one true living God and many other reasons. I also love my state where I reside. The great state of Ohio. If you were to come to Ohio you would without a doubt see the heritage of America. As much as I love where the Lord has placed my family and me it is with a broken heart that I see our state come under one of the deadliest ‘drugs of destruction’ we have ever seen in Ohio, Opioid.
Bob Reed | RU Chapter Director – OH
“Ohio, the Heart of it All.” This is a phrase that is often used in the tourism industry in the state but it also rings true in the Opioid epidemic crisis. Ohio has also been described as the battleground state in politics, but month after month here in Ohio, we seem to be battling this drug disaster in catastrophic proportions. In 2015 Ohio saw over 1800 prescription opioid overdose deaths. This gave us the title of highest in the nation. Just 15 years ago that number was 152. This is still not a good number, but we can see where we are headed if something isn’t done quickly. Weekly reports from the County Coroners are detailing the struggles they are having with running out of room in the morgues. This is a real problem!
A mass shooting is always tragic and, regardless of how or where it takes place, we grieve the loss of life. But when it happens, we grieve for and with our Christian family, perhaps in a deeper way. Twenty-six lives swept into eternity at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas should not be something any of us should soon forget. Let us remember them in prayer and continue to serve in faith – being wise as serpents and harmless as doves. In the next few paragraphs, I would like to share five thoughts from this recent tragic event that will help you and your chapter: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). In the wake of tragedy which fresh on our minds from Texas, it will do us all well to remember the words of the Saviour to the disciples in Matthew 10. Our calling is to be out among the wolves…and wolves devour sheep. He likens us to sheep. Sheep are known as being not very intelligent, however He still tells us to be out among the wolves! But the sentence does not stop there. Yes, being in the ministry is high risk. Yes, being in the ministry brings us into vulnerabilities. However, as he continues to speak of being wise as serpents, and harmless as doves, Jesus emphasizes ways to minister in a way that does not bring down unnecessary persecution. Be wise as serpents. Serpents are quick to get out of the way. He then goes on and tells us to be harmless as doves. Doves are innocent. Don’t give “wolves” legitimate reason to attack you, accuse you of injustice or any immorality. Keep your reputation as clean as you can. The RU recovery ministry is a young ministry indeed; we are currently in our 22nd year of existence. How grateful and thankful I am for the protection that God has given, not only to us in Rockford, but also to the many other churches that use the RU curriculum and run a program for the addicted in their community. I want to give you a few recommendations that I have so that we can all be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
1. Continue to minister in faith, not in fear. The enemy has the main goal in everything he does and that is to create fear to paralyze his prey. I am thankful for churches that will grow through this experience and bring peace and calm to sheep in our troubled world.
2. Use the name tag policy as a security protocol. Every chapter should have an Information/Welcome Table and banner that every student and visitor approaches when entering the class. It is at this table that all visitors receive a nametag. This will encourage leadership to use and remember their names. All regular attendees should have their awards on! Director, please encourage your leadership to wear their awards each Friday. Visitors need to learn your names as well. Director, take the opportunity to get this enacted in your chapter, then alert your leadership to quickly identify and direct people wondering in the facilities to the Information/Welcome Table.
3. Leadership needs to know the policy on how to deal with someone who could cause a threat to the other’s safety. We have had a few occasions over the last 22 years that we have had workers notify the director or assistant director of someone who appeared to be or threatening to be in possession of a weapon. On each occasion, that person was pulled into a private area and discussion was started to help that person and to rectify any potential problems. Every church facility is different in terms of the needs for security. But I would strongly encourage every Director, with the help of your Pastor, to put a solid plan in place that will provide protection. When your growth is above 100, or if you use multiple buildings on Friday, it may be wise to schedule some men and ladies to help with security protocols. This does not in any way mean you need an officer dressed up on the property or even anything that gives the impression that someone is watching out for security measures. These people would simply walk the property and note what is going on and watching for anything outside of the normal. You may even call your local police and ask them to meet you at the facility and give you any instructions that could protect the children, teens, and adults who attend RU.
4. Pray for safety as you minister with boldness in your community.
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). 5. Thank God for His protection. The truth is, none of us know “what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). I like the old story of John R. Rice when a robber stuck a gun to the back of his head and demanded his wallet, Dr. Rice said, “You can’t scare me with Heaven!” Praise God that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. Whether it is the “madman” in South Korea who wants to launch a nuclear warhead or a mentally challenged veteran who threatens lives in church, let’s march onward in the battle a preach to every creature the greatest news in all the world – the Gospel!
The RU Ministry can be incredibly rewarding, but it also can be incredibly draining. No matter how many people you help, there is always more standing in line. If there is not, then you need to call our office and talk to Bro. Dale Akin or me so we can help you. This ministry is prepared for “such a time as this.”
The word “ministry” reveals that you will be dealing with people. This includes people from all walks of life. And sometimes that means dealing with people that other people don’t want to deal with anymore. I have met directors who get to a point where they isolate themselves from people and they begin to just go through the motions of Talk, Talk, Talk. I was thinking today about 3 specific relationships that will keep people in ministry focused:
1. A Back-To-Back Relationship
“Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:5-6
Every director needs someone who can challenge and encourage them to continue – someone who “has your back”. Directors can help other directors! Mrs. Burks & I have been scheduling RU Rallies where several chapters get together on a Friday and Saturday for encouragement. It is a great time of fellowship!
You need people in your life who love you enough to tell you the truth and talk to you instead of about you. Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpenth the countenance of his friend.” One of our goals in identifying Premier Chapters was to create a list of Directors and Chapters who were doing it the “Rockford way” and seeing results. These men can help you! I look forward to the day when we have them in every town across America and around the world. Our “Find a Chapter” on the RU website has recently been updated and is continuing to be improved to help people find chapters to attend. However, it can also be used by directors to find chapters near yours!
2. A Shoulder-To-Shoulder Relationship
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him [that is] alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
Secondly, you need people in your life that will honestly say, “We are in this together.” These people should be the leadership team that works with you. Your leaders and helpers are there for you to invest in and mature. Some of them will be your closest friends in the ministry. They will carry the burdens with you. I encourage you to identify them. I encourage you to have a plan to meet regularly with them. Share your vision. Share your passion.
I always rejoice to see directors bring leaders to training conferences and watch as the chapters expand. You need a vision and you need others to get in that vision with you.
3. A Face-To-Face Relationship
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Never forget the most important relationships you have are the relationships with your God and your spouse.
Stay in your “It’s Personal” Daily Journal. If you don’t have one, then it isn’t personal! It is just something you see the need for your students to do. Then why don’t you do it? You need to get alone with God daily and walk with Him. I would love to see more posts on social media from directors with #itspersonaldjm in the post. It will greatly encourage you to walk with God and it will encourage others.
We can become so busy doing ministry that we forget one of the most important ministries we have is serving our spouse. Don’t get so busy working alongside each other that you forget to turn toward each other and reconnect.
One of the greatest things you can do for your church is to build a strong home and one of the greatest things you can do for your home is to build a strong church. Find ways to connect your family to the RU ministry. My wife and I had a tremendous joy this past week. Our daughter filled out an application to work at RU this summer. All three of our children have worked in this ministry over the years. What a joy to serve Jesus together.
You can’t do ministry alone! Embrace these vital relationships so you are ready to overcome adversity and endure through every season you face in ministry.