Monday, November 08, 2010

Christian Recovery Program on Maui: Salvation Army Outpost

People send me emails, phone me, and write me with much frequency these days about where to find a Christian Recovery Program in Hawaii or on Maui. And we have lately been in close touch with the County of Maui Salvation Army Outpost in Lahaina. This outpost provides everything but a Christian Recovery treatment program; and when the officers find someone who really needs treatment help, they frequently arrange for the person to go to a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center on Oahu.

We will be talking much more about the opportunity for establishing a Christian Recovery Program on Maui, and our International Christian Recovery Coalition expects to be partnering with the County of Maui Salvation Army on just such a pilot program right after the first of the year in 2011.

What's the plan, and how did it come about?

First, in the last two years, my son and I have traveled widely in California and on Oahu. And we were speakers at many A.A., N.A., alumni, treatment, counseling, Christian Recovery Fellowships, Christian bridge groups, and Christ-centered groups. We also met with many of the experienced leaders of these groups. We still have a couple to go. We will shortly be in Palm Springs speaking at the annual convention of the Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors. Early next year, we will be at Betty Ford Center, speaking at the Awareness event.

Second, our focus has always been on learning and reporting: (1) The role God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible have played in the recovery movement for over a century, and can play today. (2) The correlative Christian origins, history, founding, original program, successes, and changes in Alcoholics Anonymous. (3) How Christians in recovery today can function comfortably and successfully in such existing programs as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, Overcomers Outreach, Christian treatment programs like Won Way Out and New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc., and the burgeoning number of church-centered groups which really need to be characterized as A.A. friendly, Bible friendly, and history friendly. (4) Always, of course, my own orientation has been to see if the highly effective original "old school" Akron Alcoholics Anonymous Christian Fellowship program founded in 1935 can be applied today in harmony with the widespread 12-Step, Christian, and faith-centered groups today. The end, from my standpoint, is to bring salvation, forgiveness, healing, guidance, and a new life in Christ to the alcoholics and addicts who still suffer and profess and belief in God and confess their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Third, we will shortly be naming the different ideas in action and the places where they are being applied with very demonstrable success at the conferences, meetings, fellowships, centers, and groups we attended. It is clear that there is no one size that fits all. Some of the most outstanding efforts are neither new nor disposed to expand into a complete Christian Recovery Program. And that is perhaps one of their strengths because they show how various existing Christian community efforts can be called upon to contribute to the loop without diminishing their particular areas of expertise and structure.

Fourth, we will shortly be spelling out what we have come to believe are the excellent elements in a modern-day application among Christian leaders and Christians in recovery of the key points of the early A.A. program--the one that produced a documented 75% success rate in Akron, and then--when the Big Book was published in 1939--was adapted by Cleveland Alcoholics Anonymous so that it grew from one group to thirty in a year and attained a documented 93% success rate.

Finally! Back to the little Salvation Army outpost on Shaw Street in Lahaina. We have talked to a County Salvation Army Captain in Kahului and Kihei, and to a Salvation Army Lieutenant in charge at Lahaina. We have visited their existing "12 Step" meeting which is patterned largely on a Celebrate Recovery handbook. And yesterday we attended their Sunday holiness worship meeting.

These are the working and workable pilot elements we found already in place: (1)The Sunday Holiness Meeting which included praise and worship, an opening prayer, relevant Scripture, Announcements, Testimony, Prayer Requests, A Love Offering, a "Message" (actually a Sermon) by one of the officers, a closing song, and lunch.
(2)A schedule on Sunday that includes Sunday School, the Holiness Meeting, and a Softball fellowship. (3)Monday a meeting with an Hawaiian name, and a Co-Ed 12-Step Bible Study. (4) Tuesday a Home League Meeting and a Discipleship Study. (5) Wednesday a Praise Profession session. (6) Thursday. Band practice, sewing class for all, and Men's Bible Study. (7) Friday Songsters and Movies. (8) Saturday. Cleaning of the Chapel and Multi-Purpose Room.

One of the features of early A.A. was its resemblance to "First Century Christianity" as reported in the Book of Acts. Some have equated this with a name that Oxford Group people gave to their groups. But Akron had no regular Oxford Group connection in its day-in-day out in-home fellowship and meetings; Dr. Bob called their group a "Christian Fellowship;" and many of the ingredients of the Book of Acts fellowships were there--breaking bread together, learning doctrine together, meeting in the homes, praying together, witnessing to others, and converting hundreds and thousands to God through Jesus Christ.

On the two occasions we have visited the Lahaina outpost, we saw many of the same people in attendance, very much participating, welcoming others, testifying to deliverance, asking for prayers, expressing thankfulness, listening attentively, and being part of the singing. The entire group on Sunday not only introduced each other to nearby attendees, but--at the conclusion--made a point of visiting each and every person and shaking hands or exchanging hugs.

As stated, our pilot program plan in partnership with the Salvation Army will be centered around a 24/7 fellowship such as that which the outpost offers participants. It will add effective Twelve Step instruction; early A.A. principles and practices; Bible teaching; community speakers and teachers; historical roots--both Christian and 12-Step; and encourage participation in other fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery--something that the Outpost is doing now.

Just as we were pulling our pilot program together and sending it out for others to appraise and make suggestions about, we found ourselves right in the middle of an Hawaiian style prototype. And there is certainly room for much more of this as others plan to set up programs in the Island and avail themselves of the winning activities being employed elsewhere. This, we believe, is exactly what Christians who hunger for healing and recovery are looking for. And this, we know, is the successful idea that was planted in Akron, Ohio, and grew into the unique recovery fellowship that came to be known as Alcoholics Anonymous.; www.dickb/Christian-Recovery-Guide.shtml;

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