Focus on Recovery

Recovery ministries can be an excellent outreach to the community.

Central Peninsula Church (CPC) in Foster City, California, has found that recovery ministries are an excellent outreach into the community, as well as a means of ministering to the needs of people already in the body.

The church began its first recovery group about nine years ago. That grew to several per week. Then almost six years ago, a task force of the existing recovery ministries started the Higher Power Celebration on Friday nights. Its purpose was to introduce people in secular recovery groups like AA to Jesus as the Higher Power. Today, the Higher Power Celebration ministers to about 400 to 450 people per week, both Christians and pre-Christians. Some have years of sobriety; some have one day, but all are welcomed as fellow strugglers, fellow sinners. On Friday night, the music is loud and upbeat, the teaching is pertinent, the foyer reeks of smoke, and the love and acceptance inevitably draw seekers to Jesus. Each year, the church baptizes 20 to 30 adults from the Higher Power Celebration. Some participants continue in their secular recovery programs; others filter into one of the church's smaller ministries like Overcomers' Outreach, First Step, New Hope, or Family Ties. Soon they begin attending church services, often the Saturday night service. They put their children into the Christian education programs and youth groups. They begin to bring their lives into order and begin exercising their spiritual gifts.

The Higher Power Celebration has invigorated CPC, bringing a newness and freshness of life to the whole church. It has also made it safer for those in the original congregation to face their own weaknesses and needs, to become more authentic. Jonathan Arnold, Ph.D., Director of the Christian Counseling Centers ...

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