Monday, March 5, 2012

A Great Message to Pastors from Serenity Group

A memo to pastors...

As pastors who minister and lead in a culture where

addictions of all kinds exist, we are constantly deluged with the

direct and indirect consequences of those addictions. Our

options, it seems to me, are two; bury our head in the sand and

hope that it all works out somehow or take an active role in our

community and bring the kingdom of God to bear on these

overwhelming needs.

Here in Oroville we’re committed to the latter. We have

brought the recovery ministry into the life of our church. We

are working towards a fully integrated recovery ministry that

embraces the Mission, Vision and Values of our local church. The

challenge has been to maintain a balanced focus in terms of our

core ministries and not get too focused in any one area of

ministry (recovery or otherwise).

One of the challenges
that recovery ministries have in

many churches is that they wind up being an adjunct to the focus

of the church instead of a reflection of the love and care for our

communities at large. When recovery ministry is not seen as a

core ministry of the church it can create a disconnect which can

result in an ungodly attitude of “those people over there”...or an

“us versus them” mentality. It becomes something we do as

opposed to who we are.

What makes our Serenity ministry different
from other

church recovery programs is our approach to the issue of 12

Step. We fully embrace the 12 Step recovery ministries in our

community. We see ourselves as the place where people who are

connected to other AA and NA groups in our city can come to and

feel safe whether they know Jesus as their ‘Higher Power’ or not.

We call this our Front Porch environment. It allows us a deeper

penetration into the overall recovery programs into the city. As a


result of this approach our leaders are welcome into, and often

speak at, those programs.

When people come to our Serenity program on our church

campus they are invited into a large group environment that is

similar to any other recovery program in the city. Birthdays are

celebrated, chips are given, and testimonies are heard. They are

then gently introduced to smaller group environments where they

can explore who Jesus is and the healing and freedom He

provides. We do this through groups like:

Men and women groups

Anger classes

Couples groups

Serenity 12Step and Third Step studies

Pure Desire Sexual Purity Classes

Clarence Snyder 12 Step Study

Early History of AA Class

We call these groups our Living Room environments. It is a

place where God is freely discussed and people can come into a

more personal knowledge of Christ.

In the following pages
you will see a model of recovery

ministry called
“Serenity”. Our church has been pursuing this

ministry for nearly 20 years. We’ve still got a lot to learn! We

have two men (and their wives) who have spearheaded the

ministry from its inception. Kenn Mariano and Dale Marsh are our

champion leaders in the area of recovery ministries. Dale is

currently on the Elder track through SDIM and serves as our

Recovery Pastor and Kenn has served as a board leader in our

church for a couple of decades as well as a host of other ministry

‘jobs’. Both of these men are godly, stable and key leaders in our



Through the hard work of a handful of committed and

dedicated men and women God has built a vibrant and growing

recovery ministry where people in our community can come and

receive hope and healing. God is allowing us to truly see our

community change...”one life at a time.”

I encourage you to stop by the resource tent and speak with

Dale or Kenn or one of our pastors. I would be more than happy to

speak with you about issues that pertain to the nuts and bolts of

how a recovery ministry can fit into the overall Mission of your


Bless you as you advance the kingdom in your city!

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