In ministry I have learned that everyone has problems. It is important for ministers to be informed and to have an open mind when ministering to people with different problems. I whole heartedly believe that the church is to be a place where people find God, find healing, strength, support and community.
As ministers and leaders of the church we must understand that even those who seem to have it right are sometimes powerless over things such as alcohol, drugs and other addict behaviors. I understand that some Christians view addiction as sin. Is it sin? Or an illness? Is there more factors that we should consider? Genetics and chemical imbalances in the brain play a role in what might cause someone to have an addiction, depression and other problems that we see many in congregations suffering with.
One drink for some people can cause that person to become an alcoholic. Why? The brain, family history, genetics. We must care about those who have addictions in our churches. We must understand that they need help to over come. Preaching, "Stop It! Sinner" wont cut it. We must be educated and lead and minister to those with addictions. I believe this is essential in making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Over the past year or so I have gone with one of our members who is an alcoholic. He has had other addictive behavior in the past as well; but alcohol has been his main struggle for many, many years. I have seen and heard testimonies of men and women who have been changed by Alcoholics anonymous and the 12 step program.
AA and the 12-step program does have a spiritual appeal to the person with the illness.
Questions to consider for discussion:
How wonderful it would be if the church would inform there members about AA and meetings. Even host them in their buildings. Take members of congregations to meetings and get them the help that they need. How would this effect those members with addiction. What message would it send? Does your church currently support or sponsor AA? Have you participated in the program with someone who needed help or even yourself? Would you like to share your testimony? Has the churches view been what it should when it comes to addiction? Have we done what we could for those with addictions? How has the church viewed the addict in the past and will it change in future? How should we?
Thank God for programs like AA and what a wonderful tool it can be for the church if we would use it.
If you would like more information you can check out the following sites:http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.orghttp://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12-step_program
I hope this challenges us as ministers, church leaders and Christians to make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering from addiction.
Discuss and share your thoughts.