The Resident Mentor Program of Bethesda Village, 3540 Mercy Way, Rescue, CA
By Dick B.
The Special Interest of International Christian Recovery Coalition
Since our first International Christian Recovery Coalition gathering in May, 2009, at the Community Fellowship Hall of Mariner’s Church in Irvine, California, we have gathered from some 50 states and several other countries the participants in our informal worldwide fellowship of Christian recovery leaders, workers, pastors, and counselors who share our view of the importance that dissemination of the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible have played in recovery from alcoholism and addiction and can play for those who want God’s help. Details can be found at www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com.
Alcoholics and Addicts Need to Learn Christian “Fellowship”—and the Rest of the A.A. Story
For almost a year, we have researched, assembled, and published “the rest of the story” of Christian recovery from alcoholism and addiction that has so long been shunted aside as Alcoholics Anonymous has grown from its tiny beginnings in June of 1935, The path has gone so far astray that some writers claim A.A. never even began until the fall of 1937. But now we are presenting a huge assemblage of the missing links and vital elements that flow from the practices of First Century Christians, the Christian entities of individuals from 1850 forward to help the down and out, the Christian upbringing of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob in Vermont, and the shaping and warping of the miraculous recovery ideas that captured the attention of A.A. Christian pioneers in Akron in 1935 and later were altered to suit the fancied need for a program that veered from reliance on God to emphasis on nonsense gods, higher powers, and idolatrous symbols that present the “broad highway” seen in the thinking and actions of many 12-Step groups today. Details can be found in our new website www.aahistoryChristianRecovery.com.
Now They Need to Know the Enormity of the Growth of Substantive Christian Recovery Groups
And now we go to the astonishing Christian recovery movement that has so rapidly grown in the last five years. Our first effort was to speak to recovered Christian leaders and urge them to incorporate in their own recovery work an application of what we call “old school” A.A.—the “Christian technique” that began with the Bible at the hands of A.A. pioneers Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Bill D. The objective was to meld the good points and strengths of the widely used 12 Step programs with the sure and effective power of the Creator that was slipping away in the rush to “simplify” the recovery movement with such ineffectual tools as “don’t drink;” “go to meetings;” choose some “higher power” that keeps religion and the religious at bay and swallows efforts up in court cards, endless war stories, the loss of the keys to the kingdom that A.A. Number Three called “the golden text of A.A.” – calling on God who had widely cured those who renounced addictive pursuits, went to any lengths to avoid temptation, and placed their healing in God’s hands.
We Turn Now to New, Growing, Successful Christian Recovery Efforts in Progress
But this series of reports on the new and growing and successful Christian recovery movements will show how devout, dedicated, experienced, recovered Christians are working with Christians, recovery pastors, Christian program directors, and residential treatment ideas and programs that closely resemble those of the First Century Christians who inspired early AAs.
The First Christian Residential Program We Will Sketch for You is that of Bethesda Village, at Mercy Way in Rescue, California; residential program directed by Jim Gaffney; overseen by Recovery Pastor Matt Pierce of Golden Hills Community Church located at Brentwood, California; and fast at work organizing its “Resident Mentor Training Program.”
Bethesda Village is a long term residential discipleship program aimed at helping those men (18-25 years) who are seeking freedom from life-controlling issues. Bethesda Village's mission is to help those seeking freedom from life-controlling issues through personal discipleship and life skills development within the context of a healthy Christian community. Residents will receive spiritual, moral and relational instruction primarily through the Word of God, counseling and small group work, personal discipleship and life skills development. We are located in Rescue, CA on a 21acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains overlooking the Sacramento Valley.
We present below the Bethesda Village resident mentor training program description sent to us by Program Director, Jim Gaffney. And there are currently openings for mentor applications:
The Resident Mentor Training program is truly a life changing experience. During their stay with us our resident mentors will grow in their knowledge and love of God through Bible study and prayer; they will also have the opportunity to develop the transferable life skills necessary to minister in a recovery community, small groups, or a local church. Resident Mentors will be participating daily, moment-by-moment, in the restoration God is doing in the lives of the young men they serve. Each mentor will also complete an extensive Servant-Leadership training program while living on the Bethesda Village grounds alongside the residents.
Resident mentors live in community with the residents, building relationships while participating in daily activities such as class, worship, work and recreation. Although Resident Mentorship is a 24-hour, residential position, there are scheduled times off (two evenings per week or one weekend day). Special arrangements can also be made for more extended time off as needed.
There are no fees for the resident mentor training program. Room and board is provided free of charge.
First and foremost the resident mentor has to possess a willingness to learn. The resident mentor will be continually learning how to minister to hurting young men. They will be heavily involved with teaching, modeling, Bible study and Servant-Leadership training. There will be weekly and daily reading/homework assignments for all of the resident mentors. Each resident mentor will need to learn to function as part of a team of mentors.
Resident mentors provide care and guidance to troubled young men (residents) at Bethesda Village, in a residential community setting. Resident mentors receive practical training for the purpose of ministering to the hurting. They serve, not by their own strength or character, but by the power of Jesus Christ working through them. Role modeling and sharing God's love and power through the work of the Holy Spirit are vital aspects in the healing process.
Resident mentors are men who not only have a heart for Jesus, but a heart for struggling people as well. Part role model, part teacher and part friend, a resident mentor should have an adventurous spirit and want to make a lasting difference in the lives of others.
Resident mentors make a voluntary commitment to serve, preferably for 12 months; however we are open to discuss commitments that involve shorter or longer stays. This will be a time of testing and purifying, a season where God's faithfulness and comfort are experienced in a real and life-changing way. It is an intense season of growth, practical discipleship and maturing in every way possible.
Submission to Authority
In order to provide an example to the residents, the resident mentors will need to function under Godly authority as they submit to the leadership of the Program Director of Bethesda Village.
Resident mentors are not necessarily dynamic and gregarious individuals and they don’t have to be Bible scholars (or even trained counselors). However, the following characteristics are required in order to serve as a resident mentor:
1. A strong commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ as demonstrated through a humble Christian walk.
2. A solid foundation in Biblical truth and personal application of God's Word in his daily life.
3. Regular attendance and fellowship in a solid Bible-believing, Christ-centered church.
4. A burden for ministering to troubled young men and a willingness to serve them and the Lord in a selfless, full-time capacity.
5. The ability to initiate and build relationships along with the ability to confront, encourage and admonish residents in Christ-like love.
6. The ability to maintain a solid work ethic including extensive physical activities.
While resident mentors are not employees of Golden Hills Community Church, they are expected to demonstrate adherence to Golden Hills Community Church Code of Ministerial Ethics for Staff, Elders and Deacons as outlined in the Resident Mentor Code of Ministerial Ethics. (This will be supplied to all interested in completing an application)
Jim Gaffney Program Director - Bethesda Village
(925) 516-0653 x7234
or (530) 672-1648
Pastor Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor – Golden Hills Community Church
(925) 516-0653 x7131
3540 Mercy Way
Rescue, CA 95672
Golden Hills Community Church
2401 Shady Willow Lane
Brentwood, CA 94513