Celebrate Recovery

Our Celebrate Recovery ministry launched to the public on Wednesday. It was awesome. There were two mens groups and two womens groups, plus a newcomers group... Over 50 people all together!

Brooks Doherty brought a very good word on denial, the first lesson in our series. The Recovery Band led worship. And the Blue Moon Cafe' went until 10pm. I am really excited by all the people who came to support and participate. And the message series isn't even over yet.

I know its not about numbers. That's not really the important thing. And I don't measure the success of the ministry by attendance. But I feel really good that the ministry has a core group, a critical mass, and it seems to be sustainable. We have a GREAT leadership team. And we have already seen God at work just in our leadership team. I know He has some great things in store for this ministry.

The most important issue for me is to see our church change. I feel that we are already a church that is well known as a place where people can be open and honest about who they are and what they deal with. But now I see that increasing even more. Church has often been a place where people feel pressured to put on their church masks and act as though everything is fine. Its often a place where people are not allowed to be broken, to be sinful, to be struggling. Especially leaders. What a joke! We are all sinful. Better to admit it and find strength in fellowship and accountability, than to hide it and be fake and never get healthy.

God is the great physician, and churches should be hospitals for the spiritually sick. And to do that, people need to feel safe about discussing their sickness... SIN! Let's be real. And not in the cliched formulaic churchy way like "we're real people, with real lives, serving a real God". Duh! I'd rather say: "We're a group of screwed up people stumbling together in the same general direction." We're all trying to follow Christ, and none of us are doing a very good job. But together we are better than alone, as long as we can be honest with eachother.

Celebrate Recovery is about honesty. Its about truth. And that can be scary. It can hurt. But its better than the alternative.


Ken Bussell
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church

>sent via blackberry



Emerging Worshiper

7 comments:

Matt said...

Hey, that's an encouraging post, Ken. There's been some good discussion about this on the Ethnos forum in the past, about leadership and sin. I have a hard time figuring out the line between someone who should be removed from leadership, and a leader who is sinful just like everyone else. Obviously, there's probably some higher standard for leaders. Yet, it seems like there's some point where a leader commits a sin that is just too "big", and then it's time to remove them. I don't know if/when that's the right way to go.

Ken said...

Thanks Matt. I think the higher standard thing is good. You mentioned there being some point at which the sin is too big. I agree with that. But I think the sin problem is too big when it begins to affect the quality of leadership.

Say for example, if a person were to cheat on their spouse, and be in the midst of that unfaithfulness, and having to deal with the spouse, with divorce, with court issues, with hurt and pain and all that comes with a situation like that. That is an issue where the circumstances and consequences of a person's sin can begin to consume their life. And it is hard to lead from a place like that. Just too much going on. Too much confusion and hurt.

I don't think I am saying that the sin of unfaithfulness is too big and is a disqualification for leadership (maybe I am?). I'm saying that the impact of that kind of sin on a person's life usually diminishes their ability to lead effectively.

But once that impact is dealt with, then leadership can and should be restored. I feel very strongly that restoration of leadership after issues like this is a BIG hole the church does not work very hard at filling. At Our Place we have many leaders who have had to step down due to sin issues but who have now been restored to leadership. We have people in leadership positions that other churches would not touch due to their past... but we believe in restoration. God forgives and restores. And so do we! :-)

Matt said...

Those are some good thoughts. I'll have to mull those over. The idea of sin reducing effective capacity for leadership was not touched on in our discussions at Ethnos. It makes sense, though.

I also agree with you about restoration. It makes me very sad. The Church can be extremely judgemental at times, and I think it does more harm than good.

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Gassendi said...

"We're a group of screwed up people stumbling together in the same general direction." That is an awesome quote!

Our church started the Celebrate Recovery Series last Sunday. It was ironic, I thought the order and song selection of our service actually illustrated the tendency for our church to encourage the fake happy faces. We had to end the service with an upbeat song, so we could leave on an upbeat note. I really wished we were allowed to file out of the sanctuary feeling a little upset or depressed.

Gassendi said...

"We're a group of screwed up people stumbling together in the same general direction." That is an awesome quote!

Our church started the Celebrate Recovery Series last Sunday. It was ironic, I thought the order and song selection of our service actually illustrated the tendency for our church to encourage the fake happy faces. We had to end the service with an upbeat song, so we could leave on an upbeat note. I really wished we were allowed to file out of the sanctuary feeling a little upset or depressed.

Dan Ohlerking said...

dude, having come through the whole jimmy swaggart thing back in the eighties (i worked there at the time) i can tell you it is not a simple issue, but there is a right way for someone who has had a moral failure of this magnitude to be restored. i've seen how NOT to go about it if you're the one who messed up. i've seen how not to do it if you're in the position of having to decide the fate of someone's ministry. and i've seen a lot of positive, too. a lot of right-hearted scriptural approaches to helping a "fallen" minister. sadly, most of the time, regardless of the efforts to help, the minister who fell is unable to allow God to a place of leadership again. it's not that God won't forgive. it isn't even that so many people won't forgive. it is that once they have repented, often they cannot pick back up and allow God's forgiveness to restore them.

sin is a nasty thing to deal with - it has sharp teeth and wounds deeply and with strong venom.

but God's grace is still greater - if we let it be.

thanks for this post. i think it is an important thing to keep talking about.