During my time away from ATL working in Daphne, Al there were many discussions between a man whom I greatly admire and me about doing something to reach more folks in addiction, life changing situations and homelessness. We weren't sure how all of it would play out, but we knew between his vision and mine something was going to happen because God had tweaked our hearts to explore it.
Then when the opportunity came for me to come home, I knew how to begin. My role was to be a catalyst in our present Across The Bridge ministry and add this Mobile Recovery Ministry to its resume. I must thank him (his name is Ben) for his wisdom, foresight and encouragement (he was an elder, a teacher and mentor) and maybe one day soon we will be united again.
This vision was born in the great commission where Jesus urged his disciples to go ye therefore......in other words go find people who want to hear the good news and tell them about it. Most folks who know they are lost have a hard time finding the desire to come to a modern day church and often find themselves intimidated by the surroundings and even if they are accepted and loved when they go, they feel ashamed and don't return.
There are a ton of reasons why this occurs, but the alternative is to go to them, take the message and show them the love of Christ and prepare the way for their return home to Him. In my case my desire comes from being a recovering alcoholic who found God before I came to Church and then they helped me find the truth. That crowd of folks back at Sandy Springs Church of Christ in the 80s showed me how to treat a man like myself, how to knock on doors that weren't previously open, how to go beyond conventional church going.
So now, here we are entering two different recovery houses with the message of hope and it is working. They are receptive and open to more information about God. We go to them with meetings that are spiritual, recovery oriented and often become very emotional. Then we add some celebration and worship in them and have formed the basic part of a mobile team to do so. It is a very exciting process.
What our motivation is, is not just spreading the message or talking about recovery, but the sheer fact that young men and women are not only ruining their lives but dying of overdoses every day. So many young lives are being lost to addiction that it tears your heart apart to sit in a meeting and think that someone may not make it back. The love of Christ compels us to go ye as often as possible.
Here is what we do so far in this Mobile Recovery Ministry in case you want to participate in any way:
Step By Step (SBS), a recovery house in Lawrenceville of about 35-45 men and women:
Tuesdays 2-3 PM meeting every week with those unemployed or in community service (usually 6-10 people)
Once a month, 3rd Thursday, we do a Celebration worship experience where there are about 50 people
Sober Living Recovery (SLR), a recovery house in Duluth of about 100 men and women:
Monday 3-4 PM meeting every week with those unemployed (usually 15-20 people)
Wednesday 7:30-8:30 PM meeting and Celebration every week (usually 50-75 people)
In addition some of the SLR folks come to us in our Monday night 12 Step meeting at Campus at 7:30 and are seeking sponsors and mentors so even if you do not have previous recovery experience and have just a heart to serve, you are welcome.
We are rapidly growing those we reach as God is opening new doors every day, we are going out, and they are starting to come in as well. Where is it all going, we leave that in the hands of God, but we know this as another great mentor, Bill Long used to say, we are going to heaven and taking as many people as we can with us!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.