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At Life Church we welcome people who are in recovery. Over the years we’ve had a number of people participating in our meetings who are themselves involved in 12-Step organizations. As Senior Pastor, I am extremely grateful to Brother Al for introducing me to the movement and for the opportunity to attend several 12 Step meetings as his guest. I’m also grateful to Brother Bil for his further recovery insights.
In the Bible we read the following passages:
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”- Malachi 4:5-6 (NIV)
Here God speaks through the prophet Malachi promising to send Israel a prophet who will bring needed reform. We see the fulfillment of that prophecy in the following passage.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”- Luke 1:11-17 (NIV)
Here we discover that John the Baptist will be the fulfillment of this prophetic word from Malachi. He will “make ready a people prepared for the Lord”. After visiting several 12 Step meetings and speaking with a number of people in recovery, I have come to the conclusion that the recovery movement is doing the modern-day work of John the Baptist – turning the hearts of parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous and preparing people for a relationship with the Lord.
I encourage every pastor and Christian ministry worker to reach out to people in recovery. They may already be in your congregation but if not, reach out to people in your community and get to know them. Visit some meetings and make your congregation a safe space for people in this movement. At Life Church we’ve been blessed to have a number of people in recovery among our members.
If you’re in recovery yourself, and you’ve chosen to follow Jesus, you may have an advantage in engaging with our discipleship process. You already understand the meaning of the following saying:
- “It works, if you work it.”
- “Keep coming back.”
We look forward to working with you as you grow in your ability to follow Jesus!
Rocklyn E. Clarke Sr.
Life Church Boston
Here is some preliminary recovery-related information:
The 12 Steps
NA: We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
AA: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
NA: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
AA: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
NA: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
AA: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
NA: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
AA: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
NA: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
AA: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
NA: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
AA: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
NA: We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
AA: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
NA: We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
AA: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
NA: We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
AA: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
NA: We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
AA: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
NA: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
AA: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
NA: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
AA: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
- New England Region of Narcotics Anonymous (NERNA) (dating, marriage, sexuality, problems, etc.)
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA) World Services
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
If you’re thinking about attending Life Church (or if you already do), we want to support your recovery. Feel free to contact us with any questions that you or your sponsor may have. Please also feel free to leave feedback in the Comments section below.