by: Michael Fargarson
Sometimes growing a new ministry proves challenging, especially an avant garde ministry such as an addiction ministry. Here are four keys to growing a new ministry at your church or in your community.
The First and Foremost Key is Prayer. This one’s obvious but often either neglected or taken for granted. Drawing from James 4, Spurgeon once said concerning the lack of prayer, “Now, if there be no conversions, and no additions to such churches, what is the reason? Is it not found here, ‘Ye have not, because ye ask not’?” Every ministry needs to be birthed in prayer and continued in prayer on every possible level (Luke 18:1, Eph. 6:18).
Of course, the ministry leaders and team members must gather regularly and earnestly pray together. This is merely the starting place. Prayer should be solicited from the entire local fellowship as well as other believers outside of the fellowship. Every truly successful ministry has a band of prayer warriors pleading for God to move and binding the enemy.
Here are some practical ideas for making sure the ministry has prayer coverage:
- Ask for commitments to pray regularly for the ministry and have some type of commemoration and reminder.
- Print prayer cards with ongoing prayer requests for the ministry to be distributed to prayer warriors.
- Have an email distribution list for regular prayer updates.
- Add the ministry to the corporate prayer list during worship services and prayer meetings.
- Make sure that the prayer ministry is aware of your addiction ministry needs.
- Enlist the group participants and family members to pray.
- Encourage participants to have prayer partners or teams praying for them and the ministry.
The Second Key is Publicity. Make sure that the entire congregation knows about the ministry including the purpose and vision of it and the time and place it meets. The addiction ministry should not be a deep, dark secret hidden in the musty basement. Instead, it must be a featured, valued ministry just like any other ministry in the church.
Practically everyone personally knows someone who is struggling with an addiction. If they are aware of the ministry and know lives are being changed there, they will tell people about it whenever they encounter those who need it.
Here are some practical suggestions for publicizing the addiction ministry:
- Preach sermons dealing with addictions and promote the ministry. What is prioritized in preaching prospers!
- Make sure to put the ministry on the church’s website. Have it featured on the home page if possible.
- Make a promotional video to be played before services, at info monitors, on the website, etc.
- Post on the church’s social media accounts and perhaps even create accounts specifically for the addiction ministry.
- Use live, recorded, and/or written testimonies of people whose lives have been changed by the ministry. There’s nothing more powerful than that!
The Third Key is Partnering. Partnering should come naturally to believers as we are all members of Christ’s body and a part of one family (Eph 4:4; Gal. 6:10). Sadly, though, there are often barriers even with in the same local fellowship that make cooperation difficult. However, it is well worth the effort to create vital partnerships to grow addiction ministries. Something powerful happens when we put down agendas and come together for the sake of the gospel.
Look for ways that you can involve other ministries in the addiction ministry. Depending on the size of your church and the number of ministries present, there are a variety of possible partnerships. Working with the prayer ministry has already been mentioned. Evangelism/visitation ministries may encounter prospects for the addiction ministry. The women’s ministry or hospitality ministry could provide meals or refreshments. The counseling ministry would be an obvious partner.
Many times looking outside of your church for partnerships can increase the fruitfulness of the addiction ministry. Consider partnering with other churches. It would be better to have a thriving multi-church addiction ministry than to have three or four that are dying. Of course, there must be agreement on the Gospel and on a biblical approach, but beyond that what really matters?
Also, look for partnering opportunities with para-church organizations such as missions, residential and non-residential programs, and social ministries. Denominational offices and pastoral associations may be of assistance. Government institutions such as courts, jails, probation offices and the like often welcome any groups willing to help with the substance epidemic.
Basically, any organization at which addicts may be present could be a potential partner. Brainstorm what organizations are in your community and reach out to them.
The Fourth and Final Key is Patience. Even though addicts are everywhere, growing a fruitful addictions ministry takes time. In fact according to John 15, we cannot make fruit appear. Only God can bring forth fruit. Our part is to abide in Him faithfully and obediently. We can plant and water, He brings the increase (I Cor.3:6).
Also remember that those who are faithful with little will be faithful with much (Luke 16:10). Too often we want to run before we crawl. Don’t despise the small start. Embrace and enjoy it. If God brings just one, love and disciple that one. Do that well, and you’ll be ready for another one or two. Before you know it there may be ten. Maybe not.
Either way, rejoice and be glad that God has called you and enabled you to be a part of His work of redeeming those enslaved in addiction.
In summary, we’ve looked at four keys to growing an addictions ministry in your church. Here they are again: Bathe the ministry in prayer, Publicize the ministry to make sure as many people as possible know about it, Build partnerships in the church and the community to find prospects, and be patient while you faithfully work and trust God to bring the increase.
Click to Tweet: Rejoice and be glad that God has called you and enabled you to be a part of His work of redeeming those enslaved in addiction. -Michael Fargarson @mfargy #GrowAddictionMinistry #helpforaddicts
Meet Michael Fargarson
Michael serves on the TAC commissioning team for TAC and as a presenter at our training events. He first joined Mark in Truth in Love Ministries about a decade ago, serving as a board member and a counselor. Michael brings a unique mix of business, legal, and ministry experience to the TAC team. He holds an MDiv from Southwestern Seminary and a JD from Birmingham School of Law. He has been married to his lovely, gifted wife Paula for 27 years and have three young adult children. The Fargarsons presently reside in Indianapolis, IN.
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