First Step: An Addiction Counseling Ministry is unlike anything you have ever seen in the counseling world. We stand apart for several reasons. But before I get to any of that, let me tell you a little about the ministry.

Have you ever envisioned a community where those who are broken because of the disease of addiction can be healed through the salvation of Jesus Christ? First Step has that vision. Our hope is to diminish the stigma associated with the disease of addiction while offering healing and recovery. Our values are simple:

  1. Share the power of Jesus Christ
  2. Serve all of God’s children, regardless of age, race, financial status, religion, sex, etc.
  3. Use our God-given talents and gifts to offer professional treatment, and
  4. Empower the least, the last, and the lost.

This ministry is one of kind but based upon a variety of ministries throughout the Global United Methodist Church. While many churches offer space for 12-Step support groups and/or Celebrate Recovery, offering professional counseling is less available. Offering professional, licensed counseling for FREE is unheard of! Less then five percent of the churches offer counseling for addiction. Unfortunately, the majority of those individuals who are in need of addiction services are often impoverished or on the verge. Local agencies simply do not offer counseling/treatment services to those unable to pay or without insurance. This ministry picks up where that population is left out.

Clients are provided with licensed, professional counseling for addiction treatment, as well as family support. This includes Christ-driven individual and group sessions, educational classes and referrals, when necessary. Clients are not charged a set fee for the services. Instead, clients would be encouraged to give a love offering, if they so feel moved.

While this ministry is new, it is vitally important to this community. Many persons with addictions, as well as family and friends, often feel alienated from the church community. They have been led to believe that they are not acceptable due to their addiction. Knowing there are other people who are experiencing this pain can alleviate the lonely, desperate feeling that comes with addiction. As the Church, we must change the way society views addiction. Having God’s love and accepting that love is the key step when treating addiction, yet it is often the biggest step overlooked. “In the rooms of 12-Step recovery, folks are told that their main purpose in life is to trust God, clean house, and love others. I believe the church is the stepping stone to the truth, and that if that truth is spoken, the church can respond,” Rev. Cynthia W. Sloan, SPSARV, wrote.

This is the start of something exciting. Hopefully, this idea will spread and people will be able to find the help they need.

Lord, I pray for the souls who read this blog. I pray they seek help, if they need it. I pray they share this help if they know someone who needs it. I pray that they open their hearts to whatever it is you have in store for them. As we all know, your plans do not always parallel our plans. It is my prayer that we will see that your plan is always the one that works. Amen