Traditional, conservative churches often do not even discuss the ever present reality of addiction, but the tides are beginning to turn on this matter. Progressive churches everywhere understand how serious a battle against addiction is and want to help the addicted members of their congregation rather than condemn addiction and offer no help with it.
It has long been the tradition in the church to dismiss addiction as blatant sin and idolatry. The solution offered for addiction was simply ‘Don’t do it,’ which, as we have observed, is far too simplistic to be useful to the complex problem of addiction. This obtuse dismissal has resulted in very high addiction statistics within the church which can no longer be denied. Progressive churches are recognizing the need for addiction support within the church, and the following services are slowly becoming available within the church community:
- Counseling for addicts. Most addicts are in too deep to dig themselves out of their addiction and need the help of a mental health professional in order to begin their recovery.
- Counseling for the families of addicts. The family of an addict suffers a great deal watching their loved one struggle with addiction and require counseling in order to process the fearful and frustrating realities they have encountered.
- Referrals to christian rehabs. Pastors, elders and mental health professionals within the church can guide and direct cases of severe addiction to a Christian rehab, where they can recover in an environment that their faith is protected within.
- Support groups within the church. Truly progressive churches have congregation members who are unafraid to admit to their struggles with addiction and are allowed to organize support groups within the church to lift each other up through their struggles.
- Worship sessions and services specifically for addicts. Programs are emerging across North America that are meant to give addicts and substance abusers a safe place to worship and hear a sermon on nights of the week when substance abuse normally commences.