Celebrate Recovery ministries are showing up at churches across Oklahoma as more faith leaders become aware of the need to offer support to people recovering from addictions.
The ministry was started by John Baker, a pastor at Saddleback Church, the California church headed by Rick Warren, pastor and author of the best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life.”
Many churches have embraced Celebrate Recovery because it offers an opportunity to address critical societal issues and at the same time serves as an outreach to the community, said Nancy Reeves, a volunteer Celebration Recovery leader for the western part of Oklahoma.
“The church has finally realized that this is an opportunity to reach out,” Reeves said. “It (addiction) affects the life of the individual and the life of the church.” Reeves attends First Baptist Church of Moore where her Celebration Recovery office is housed. She said her church offers the Celebrate Recovery program along with about 10 other churches in the Oklahoma City metro area. She said another four metro churches are about to kick-off Celebrate Recovery programs.
Churches offering the programs include Henderson Hills Baptist in Edmond, Memorial Road Church of the Christ, Cherokee Hills Baptist, Council Road Baptist, Crossroads Church, Western Oaks Church of the Nazarene, Westmoore Community Church and First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City. Reeves said about 70 churches offer the program statewide in cities like Stillwater, Tulsa, Ardmore, Enid, Owasso and Claremore.
Reeves said her marriage ended years ago due to her spouse’s substance abuse problem. Though she and her husband sought counseling and help through their local church, Reeves said leaders there did not really know how to help the couple.
She said Celebrate Recovery combines the faith principles of the Beatitudes from the biblical Book of Matthew with the 12-Step recovery process typified by organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous. She said Celebrate Recovery offers support groups for the addict and also a separate group for those who love him or her. Reeves said some churches also offer support groups for children and teens impacted by a loved ones’ addiction.
“We realize it’s never really one person, it’s the whole family,” she said.
Reeves said those involved in the Celebrate Recovery program realize that addiction is not something that “stops at the church door.” She said about 75 percent of program participants come from outside the church, but 25 percent are typically people from within the congregation.