The NACR does NOT endorse any particular strategy for doing recovery ministry in the local church. There are no “NACR groups” who do things the “NACR way”. It is our conviction that we are still in the very early stages of development of recovery ministry and that it is important to leave a lot of room for creativity, innovation and new approaches. We also think that developing recovery ministry for the local church requires close attention to the needs/instincts/values/history of a particular congregation. We just don’t think there is any one-size-fits-all recovery ministry strategy.
There are a lot of ways to do recovery ministry.. . and a lot of resources available that might help you think through what is the best approach for your congregation. We are very conscious of the fact that the list below represents a small fraction of the resources that are available. We have not attempted to be exhaustive. But we hope you will find something here that helps you think through the next step in your journey to become a congregation that is both safe for and helpful to people in recovery.
There are many ways to support recovery in a congregational context. Most of this content is also available in an article: here
Recovery Ministry Strategies(Part 1)
Recovery Ministry Strategies (Part 2)
Careful design of a recovery ministry requires that attention be paid to cultural location. It is particularly important to understand the difference between Christian culture and recovery culture.
- Back to the Basics: An Introduction to Recovery – Dale Ryan
- Recovery at Church? – Dale Ryan
- The Promises and Pitfalls of Recovery Ministry – Dale Ryan
- The Christian Recovery Movement: a brief introduction – Dale Ryan
- Recovery Ministry in the Local Church: eight strategies – Dale Ryan
- Recovery Groups and Small Groups – Dale Ryan
- Goals and Expectations of Recovery Groups – Bill Morris
- Why Can’t Church Be More Like an AA Meeting?: And Other Questions Christians Ask about Recovery by Stephen Haynes. Thoughtful exploration of the complex relationship between AA and Christian culture.
- Bridges to Grace: Innovative Approaches to Recovery Ministry by Liz Swanson and Teresa McBean. Full of case studies about church-based recovery ministries.
- Loving the Addict in Your Pew: A roadmap for building a church-based recovery ministry by Charles W. Robinson. Lessons learned from building a recovery ministry at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, OK.
- The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People With Addiction by Jonathan Benz.
- Living Free: Forming and Conducting a Recovery Ministry Available free online. Lots of good advice for ministry start-ups.
Open 12 step groups. Leading an open 12 step group is not complicated. If you can read and you are working on your own issues, you can do it. Here’s a ‘script’ for a typical open meeting.
12 Step Bible Studies These are pretty introductory. See this article for some thoughts on the role of Bible study in a recovery ministry.
- Life Recovery Guides by Dale and Juanita Ryan See especially Recovery from Addictions (STEPS 1-3), Recovery from Guilt (STEPS 4-9) and Recovery: A Lifelong Journey (STEPS 10-12)
12 Step Study Guides These workbooks are primarily designed to help you LEARN ABOUT the twelve steps
- Dale & Juanita Ryan. A Spiritual Kindergarten: Christian Perspectives On The Twelve Steps
- Teresa McBean. Transformational Steps for Ordinary People: A Christ-Centered Twelve Step Study Guide.
- Keith Miller. A Hunger for Healing: The Twelve Steps as a Classic Model for Christian Spiritual Growth. There is also a companion workbook.
- Friends in Recovery. The Twelve Steps for Christians
12 Step Workbooks These are designed to help you practically WORK the twelve steps.
- Embracing Serenity: workbooks by Teresa McBean. See them here.
- Celebrate Recovery The well-known Celebrate Recovery curriculum contains a variety of workbooks and study guides that many have found to be helpful.
- Mike O’Neil, The Power to Choose.
- re:generation. A biblically-based 12-step program developed at Watermark Church, Dallas, TX. You need to join their network and receive training before you can purchase their curricula.
- Friends in Recovery, 12 Steps: A Spiritual Journey (Tools for Recovery)
- Herb K. Twelve Steps to Spiritual Awakening: Enlightenment for Everyone Not explicitly Christian, but a solid 12 step workbook
- Pray for Potatoes, Pick Up a Hoe – James Ryan
- Boredom and Craving – Dale Ryan
- Speed and Power – Dale Ryan
- Theology and Recovery – Dale Ryan
- The Good Self: Some Theological Perspectives – Ray Anderson
- A Theology of the Cross for People in Recovery – James Ryan
- How a Jewish Drunk Challenged My Idea of the Church: Toward an Ecclesiology of Recovery – Matt Russell
- Resistance to Recovery – Dale Ryan
- Responding to Resistance to Recovery. Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Dale Ryan
- A Decade of Recovery Ministry in the Local Church – Tom Sharp
- Recovery at Church An interview with Jo Campe
- Suicide Prevention – Teresa McBean