Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrate Recovery: A Community of Grace

This article will be featured in the Pine Lake Post Sunday. Celebrate Recovery is our kingdom ministry shared by Missio Lux and our parent church Pine Lake Covenant.

For the past 17 months, a unique community has developed on Monday nights here at PLCC.
This community, a partnering ministry between Pine Lake and Missio Lux, gathers for a meal, worship, testimonies and sharing in a circle of confidentiality -- all familiar features of small group growth.
But Celebrate Recovery (CR) is distinctive because of the environment of grace and hope that is present from the very start. At CR, the emphasis on God’s love and the freedom to face struggles and hurts provides a place of safety and learning. Healthy challenges are offered within a community where you can take off your mask and allow others to know who you really are.

This culture of grace is what makes Celebrate Recovery a distinctive community of refuge and hope. The experience of being in a Christ-centered group that welcomes and encourages everyone to acknowledge their “hurts, habits and hang-ups” is drawing more and more people. Hear the witness of those who have experienced that freedom and support in their own growth in Christ.

One man writes: “The guys’ time together has been very meaningful. We can let down our guard and see how much we are the same, how we are not….people who had to keep a secret. The freedom to share openly removes the power our secrets have over us. This makes it possible for us to deepen relationships and be there for each other through life’s battles.”

The uniqueness of this type of connection has not gone unnoticed.
Another man describes it this way: “We're like pioneers. Our fathers would never have come together like this to share their lives and their struggles.”

“I've never before felt I could trust other men,” says a participant. He highlights the power of this grace-filled environment to bring about change: “The unconditional love and support I have received through Celebrate Recovery has changed my life. It has given me strength and is truly what I believe God intended the church to be like.”

CR’s structure provides the framework for this expression of Christ’s church. One member of the community explains that the consistency of the program “provides a safe environment where (we) realize we aren't alone in our daily struggles and that there is hope.

People at CR don't fix or judge others; they share truth and grace over time.” “The sense of community and support is awesome,” says another. “God's love is real in accepting loving people.”

One woman describes her experience this way: "It feels good to be here; I am glad I can go someplace where I can be real." "I'm glad I have a place where I can check in," says another woman. "It feels safe here; it feels like coming home."

Celebrate Recovery is a grace-filled community, because Jesus Christ is the foundation of all that happens. If you are longing to “come home” to a place where you can experience the power of God through accepting, loving people, where you don’t have to hide your true self, check out this Monday night gathering. You will find grace!

By Sharon Anderson and the Celebrate Recovery team

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