A faith-based support program launched a year ago at Stanfield Baptist Church is providing a valuable resource to people that may be struggling.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered 12-step program for people dealing with hurts, pain and a variety of addictions. It started with 43 attendees in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Since then, more than 35,000 churches across the globe offer the ministry as a way to facilitate healing through the power of God.
Based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery highlights a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Scott Zielke, associate pastor of congregational care at Stanfield Baptist, said the program provides a path to healing for everything from anger and money issues to sexual addictions and alcohol or drug abuse.
“There is no sin too big or too small,” said Lisha Foster, who attends the group.
Rev. John Hurty, the church’s senior pastor, said the decision to start a Celebrate Recovery group grew organically. After becoming aware of several people who were struggling with substance abuse issues, they wanted to find ways to minister to them
Lacking specific tools, Hurty said they began to investigate ways to address the needs of those struggling. One of the focal points, he said, was how to really provide help. People in the community, he said, wrestle with how to respond when they see someone standing outside Walmart with a sign asking for money.
“They question, ‘Am I helping or an I hurting?’ A ministry like Celebrate Recovery allows us to do something that’s compassion based … but it’s not reactionary,” Hurty said. “We are offering a ministry that can really help.”
Hurty called Celebrate Recovery “a solid evangelical Bible-based program.” It provides a framework to assist people in making significant life changes. In addition, Zielke said it follows the example set by Jesus.
“We’re in a society where we need to minister to hurting people,” he said. “And I think that’s what Jesus tells us to do — to reach out to those that are lost.”
Foster, who was first introduced to Celebrate Recovery about 10 years ago, connected with the Stanfield group while at The Power House, a residential treatment center in Hermiston. After completing the program, Foster felt God leading her to remain in Eastern Oregon where she developed a solid support network.
“I learned it is a disease but after you have some clean time, it becomes a choice,” she said. “And for me it all comes back to Jesus and my relationship with him.”
Ken Freeman, too, feels the faith-based focus is important. The Hermiston man was ecstatic when he discovered the Stanfield program a couple of months ago.
After losing his son to drugs and suffering a stroke in 2010, Freeman felt his world crashing down on him.
“I lived in darkness way too long,” he said. “I’ve always had the knowledge but not always the relationship.”
Celebrate Recovery, Freeman said, not only provides him with a circle of support, but also allows him to be there for others.
“You don’t feel so isolated,” he said. “You will find a group of people who aren’t here to judge — we all celebrate step-by-step victories.”
Zielke stressed that the focus in Celebrate Recovery isn’t on a person’s particular struggle.
“It’s not always what we’re using but the why,” Zielke said. “If they can figure out why they are doing what they are doing, why they are involved in a destructive behavior or relationship … that’s really the key for people.”
Celebrate Recovery meets Monday from 6-8 p.m. at Stanfield Baptist Church, 310 E. Wheeler Ave. For more information, call Zielke at 541-571-6886 or 541-449-3313.