The multicampus Harvest Bible Chapel led by Pastor James MacDonald will launch a 90-day residential addiction recovery program for men 18 and older at the church’s retreat property in Michigan next month.
The greater Chicago-based Southern Baptist megachurch will host up to eight men struggling with some form or alcohol or drug addiction as part of the inaugural class of its Freedom House Christ-centered residential recovery program beginning on Jan. 13, 2019.
The three-month program will be held at a house located at Camp Harvest, the church’s 650-acre lakefront property in Central Michigan. Men participating in the program will have been referred to the program by a “sending church” and will have to complete detox and drug testing before the program begins.
“We are blessed and thankful to be able to steward and shepherd our own church family. With that, we anticipate that many people are going to come from their own church family,” Dave Learned, Harvest’s pastor of counseling ministry, told The Christian Post.
“We have what is called the sending-church model. If you start to read and study and talk to people about retreat or recovery [ministry], [you are told] it needs to be coupled with great support, a lot of community accountability for it to be effective long-term. We want every man to have a sending church. That means a church is sending him and ready to receive him back and ready to have a mentor for him.”
Because of “staffing and housing realities,” Learned said that the program will initially only be able to serve eight men in its first wave of residents.
“One of the things that is unique about this is there are many recovery ministries and programs that are six months long or nine months long or a yearlong. This is really a 90-day ministry,” Learned explained. “That is a little bit different and we have consulted with others who lead ministries like this.”
Learned contended that some recovery ministries err in the sense that they further the notion “your struggle is your identity now and forever.”
“That is not what we read in the Gospel. When Christ sets you free, you are free indeed,” Learned said. “A period of 90 days is enough to get you out of your environment, to get you out of your setting, to get your eyes and heart really focused on the Lord. It’s also short enough that a return to your normal or regular patterns is more manageable.”
Learned assured that the program is not a medical treatment or therapy but rather an “intensive discipleship retreat” that will be structured in a great environment to help get residents’ “eyes back on the Lord.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith