Christian Recovery Ministry
CLI student Lisa Smith has a visionary dream of starting a Christian recovery ministry where she can help her rural community struggling with tons of drug and alcohol addiction.
Read her story below:
My name is Lisa Smith, and I live in rural Western, NC – right in the heart of Southern Appalachia, high in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I live in the forgotten mission field.
My community is a stark contrast of opulent golf courses surrounded by million dollar homes and barely habitable mobile homes surrounded by wreckages of car parts and discarded children’s toys. Half of our community lives in gated communities, here only a few weeks out of the year to ski or play golf in what is their second, third, or fourth vacation home. The rest of our community barely manages to feed their families from the low paying service jobs afforded by our seasonal visitors. Most employment is seasonal and very low paying.
Many families have simply given up, surrendering themselves to the methamphetamine epidemic. A secret war is waged behind many doors in my community. Families are falling apart because of drugs and alcohol. The initial addiction is just the beginning it’s often accompanied by increased poverty, crime, domestic violence, child abuse…..the fallout touches everyone.
Worst of all, there is a church on every corner, and their doors are NOT open to the men, women, and children who need them the most. At the beginning of this epidemic, a few churches hosted Christian and secular recovery groups. One by one they closed their doors to those most in need. One by one, they ended their recovery groups and told the secular groups that they could no longer host them. The last one shut its door four years ago.
Why? Because the addicts that attended recovery groups sometimes had the audacity to start attending church! No one wanted drug addicts in their pews. These people were too needy. They were too dirty. They didn’t know how to dress the part or put on a “good Christian façade.” They weren’t raised in good Christian homes. They wore jeans and work boots to church. They smoked in the parking lot. They would be a bad influence on the youth. They had no money to tithe. So, one by one, church doors slammed in their faces. They are left to pray to the only God they know, the God of crystal meth.
My community is full of people who desperately need God. I know because my husband is a recovering addict. He was one of the few lucky ones to make it out of this epidemic. He attended a 3-month long Christian rehabilitation center six years ago…..but most families are not so lucky. When an addict looks for recovery, there are few options. Most families don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars needed to attend a secular inpatient rehabilitation center. The Christian rehabilitation center my husband attended requires a 3-month stay. Most families have no way to survive without both spouses working; a 3-month stay is impossible for them.
My dream is to start a Christian recovery ministry that welcomes the lost and points them to the cross just as they are, wherever they are in their walk with Christ, wherever they are in their addiction. I am not naive to the challenges of starting such a ministry. I have witnessed the darkness of addiction in a very close-up and personal way. There are many ministries nationwide that are willing to offer training, but I know that I will need more than training. I will need a strong foundation first. Christian Leaders Institute will help me build a strong foundation upon which I can build a lasting ministry.
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