Ministry Highlights: January 2020
Expanded Opportunities to Care for Those in Recovery from Addiction
Starting in January, Holy Cross has been able to welcome 3 new gatherings of people that are caring for community members facing addiction. So, in total, each week an average 50+ people are now served through the 5 different meetings offered:
- AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) Mondays & Wednesdays at 7pm,
- Al-anon (support for family of those facing addiction) Mondays & Thursdays at 7pm, and
- Life Recovery (a bible study based on the 12 steps of AA) on Thursdays at 7pm.
The 3 new groups have expressed their deep gratefulness for a local space to meet. (The church they had been meeting in was no longer able to accommodate them while they do extensive renovations. Because Holy Cross members, Jay Fox and Jeff Gray, are active in caring for others in recovery in our local community, they were able to connect the groups to Holy Cross.)
While AA and Al-anon are not meetings where the Good News of Jesus is central message, like it is in Life Recovery, they are definitely concrete ways of showing the love of Jesus to people that are hurting. Jeff Gray put it this way,
“There’s Kleenex’s on the tables, people talk about what’s real…it’s heavy, it’s hard…but they come out feeling like they’re not alone, with a community to walk with them…and they come away feeling better.”
Either Jeff or Jay is present when each of these groups is meeting, so that they can be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are burdened with addiction. We’re excited to be able to support the unique care that each of the groups brings, and we’re encouraged that some from the newly added groups have come to check out the Life Recovery Bible Study as well.
Meanwhile, Life Recovery has multipled over the years, and currently there are 3 additional meetings of Life Recovery that have been started by people that came from the one at Holy Cross. They meet on Mondays at 7 at Alano South Club – Wyoming, Thursdays at 7pm at Zeeland Community Reformed Church, and Saturdays at 9am at Alano North Club.
In 2019, the Life Recovery meeting at Holy Cross got to distribute 75 bibles. The people that do come, rarely miss a week—I see that as proof that God is working through His Word to help them in their recovery. He is faithful!! While most have some church background, it’s not uncommon that the challenges of addiction have left them estranged from their families and therefore their churches as well. In some cases, this is the only place where they get to hear the gospel regularly.
We’re excited be able to open our doors and love on people and their families in whatever ways that they are open to receiving it—Life Recovery, AA or Al-anon. As they do, please pray that they come to see that God is present and at work within all of it to bring them healing, hope and recovery.
We live in a world where bigger is better, where more is greater. Church success is measured by attendance, membership, and size of programs. In youth ministry, sometimes it can be discouraging if we have fewer kids show up than we expected. While it is difficult to shake that feeling, our experiences have shown us that that shouldn’t be the case.
In January, a group of high school students and adult leaders went up to Cadillac for our annual ski retreat weekend. While initial questions were along the lines of: Is there anybody else coming? Those questions didn’t seem to matter after a few hours of hanging out, playing games, and our first bible study. The rest of the weekend included several more opportunities for bible study, more games, and a full day of skiing.
What we found, which was similar to what we had experienced in Flint this summer, was that a small group of people provided a really unique opportunity to dive into God’s word, open up about where the text hits us, and connect in ways that wouldn’t be possible with a greater number of people. The conversations that took place were some of the deepest, spiritually enriching conversations we have had in ministry in a long time.
Submitted by: Tyler Osmun