Recovery Ministry of the Church: A Comparison of Two Programs Helping People Deal with Addictions to Alcohol, Drugs and Other Self-Destructive Behaviors

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This book examines the disconnect between the secular and church cultures in the area of ‘addiction recovery’. The focus is on the relationship between the recovery community and the church community as it relates to the missional purpose of the church. Both secular and faith-based recovery programs are explored with particular interest in the churches’ effectiveness or lack thereof in building bridges to the recovery community.


“I believe that Celebrate Recovery ® is an idea and program whose time has come for the wider range of people with “issues”. This book is in the absolute top tier of resources destined to help churches find their way into this wider ministry.”
-George G. Hunter III,
Dean and Distinguished Professor, Emeritus
School of World Mission and Evangelism
Asbury Theological Seminary

“This work provides a unique contribution to scholarship in a most pragmatic and practical way. While assisting the church to see the larger scope of the problems, Dr. Calhoun gives applied, potential answers and evidences of successful ministries. ..Both scholars in the classroom and pastors in the field would be able to utilize this material.”
-Dr. Terry Swan,
Dean of the Chapel,
Lindsey Wilson College

“Dr. Calhoun clearly perceives the Recovery Community as a mission field…it will likely find a larger readership among Christian ministers, Church staff members, and theological students – really anyone who is concerned with fulfilling the Church’s mission, particularly the social aspects of that charge as exemplified in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount…by helping those needy persons in recovery, the Church is renewing its missional identity in obedience to a biblical mandate.
-Dr. Curt Lee, Jr.,
Lindsey Wilson College

Table of Contents

Foreword by George G. Hunter III
Chapter 1: Problems Understanding the Problem
Biblical and Theological Foundations
The Purpose
Research Questions
Research Question 1
Research Question 2
Research Question 3
Terms Defined
Recovery Community
Celebrate Recovery
Data Collection
Delimitations and Generalizability
Overview of the Study
Chapter 2: Literature
Mission of the Church
State of the Church
Identity Theft
Toward a Renewed Missional Identity
The Community of Faith as Witness
Opportunity for Mission
A Field Ripe for Harvest
Spiritual and Biblical Foundations
Early Warning Signs
A Growing Separation
To an Unknown God
Resources and Methods
Bridging the Gap
Methods of Research
Chapter 3: Methodology
Summary of the Problem
Summary of the Purpose
Research Questions
Research Question #1
Research Question #2
Research Question #3
Data Collection
Data Analysis
Research Ethics
Chapter 4: Findings
Summary of Procedures
Twelve-Step Groups
Church-based Recovery Ministries
Profile of Participants
Recovery programs (Non-Church Related)
Recovery Programs (Church Housed)
Recovery Programs (Church Sponsored)
Churches (No Recovery Connection)
Churches (House Recovery)
Churches (Sponsor Recovery)
Celebrate Recovery – Cokesbury
Celebrate Recovery – Grace
Findings of the Study
Research Question #1 – The Nature of the Disconnect
Lack of Understanding
Grateful, Indifferent, Hostile
Toxic Christianity
Research Question #2 – Mission and Recovery
Research Question #3 – Bridge Builders
Cokesbury United Methodist Church
Grace United Methodist Church
Chapter 5: Discussion
Evaluations and Interpretation of Findings
Cultural Transformation
The Key Person in Recovery
Addressing the Disconnect
Theological Reflections
Contributions to Research Methodology
Limitations of the Study
Unexpected Findings
Recommendations for Further Study
Practical Applications
Appendix A: The DNA of an Authentic Celebrate Recovery ® Ministry
Appendix B: Celebrate Recovery ® Agenda for Large Group Worship and Teaching Time
Appendix C: Release of Information Consent Form
Appendix D: The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Appendix E: Serenity Prayer
Appendix F: Celebrate Recovery ® Eight Principles with Beatitudes
Appendix G: Twelve Steps with Biblical Comparisons
Appendix H: Protocol for Interviews
Appendix I: Protocol for Two Churches Using Celebrate Recovery ®
Appendix J: Interview Matrix
Appendix K: Letter from a Recovering Addict
Appendix L: The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous
Appendix M: Article by Randy Carpenter
Appendix N: Example of Small Groups at Celebrate Recovery ®
Works Cited

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