Recovery @ Cornerstone is five years old this year. Over the years this ministry has seen a lot of good. We have seen men and women come to faith, we have seen individuals achieve sobriety for a number of addictions: drugs, alcohol, and porn. We have seen friendships and bonds formed, and even some join the fellowship at Cornerstone through this program. It’s been exciting for me to watch, to encourage, and to help cultivate. We have also seen a number of changes. Some were small programmatic alterations, others were bigger overhauls. We are always seeking to ask, “how can we fulfill our role better, serve people better, and point others to the gospel better.” With that in mind I am excited to announce some of the newest changes to Recovery @ Cornerstone.
- A Name Change – The label “recovery” has all sorts of cultural baggage associated with it. Some of that is good and we have capitalized on this familiar term to make real connections with our community, drawing in many people who might not otherwise come. Yet, for many the term has a negative impact. It seemingly limits the relevance of our ministry to their current life situation since “recovery,” is often associated directly with drugs and alcohol and directly to those who perceive their problem is unmanageable. Yet, this ministry is for everyone struggling, dissatisfied with their sin, and wanting things to be different. If you struggle with porn this is for you. If you are unsettled by your alcohol consumption but don’t think it’s a “problem” yet, this ministry is for you. It’s for those who think their problems aren’t that bad, or who think they can handle it. This is a ministry for “good” people and for those who know their bad. In order to help communicate that better we have decided to take the label “recovery” out of our title. Our new name is “Transformation Groups,” which seeks to be broad enough in appeal and yet still clear in intent. We hope it will have a greater appeal especially to church people who are often very reluctant to admit their struggles and seek help.
- A Location Change – Previously we met weekly in the back of the building. Participants would walk in the back, cross dimly lit hallways, and meet in secrecy behind closed doors. We would discourage non-participants from entering the back of the building. Much of this had good intent; we were seeking to uphold our confidentiality policy and protect the individuals involved in our program. This is right and we maintain the importance of confidentiality. We stress with our participants the need to keep confidence, how we do that, when we do that, and the consequences for those who violate that policy. Yet, what this inevitably did for many was communicate “shame.” It make Recovery seem like a despicable place to have to go, and made those who attended feel as though they were despicable. Enter through the back. Don’t let anyone see you. Keep your head down. This practice elevated shame instead of encouraging confession. It also made some of our leaders feel as though they worked in the un-wanted ministry; like their service was quarantined and contained to a dark corner of the church where no one would have to go. So, we have moved. We now meet every Thursday at 7pm in the Gathering space for our large group worship and teaching time. The individual tables then disperse to the rooms above the offices and where they can continue to meet in confidence and we can safe-guard who is a participant (as opposed to who is a table facilitator), and what table they attend. We meet up her both to encourage everyone and to invite other to come and join us for worship and teaching time.
- A Participation Change – We want everyone to participate at whatever level is most appropriate and most comfortable for them. Our large group worship and teaching time (starting at 7pm), may be a great introduction to Transformation Groups for some. Anyone can come, enjoy the worship, listen to the teaching, and leave. This is not a secluded meeting, this is an inclusive gathering. Others may feel they want and need the specialized and focused support of the Tables. Others may feel they want to sit in the cafe and do more informal discussions, prayer, and accountability. There is room for everyone at Transformation Groups on Thursday Nights. We have coffee and hot chocolate, we have great music, focused teaching from the Word of God, and great fellowship. Come join us!
It is my desire to see a cultural change in our church. To see us move with boldness towards becoming a Recovery Culture Church. A place where compassion, responsibility, and humility thrive. Where we see and care about the burdens of one another, whatever they are and however messy they may be. Where we see our responsibility as the church to help bear one another’s burdens, to involve ourselves in the hurts, failures, weaknesses, and messes of others. And where we see our solidarity with one another; where we don’t think because our sin and brokenness is different that we are therefore better than anyone else. We are all addicts at one level, addicted to sin and selfishness, and we all need help. These changes are, I hope, a move in that direction. I encourage you to pray for Transformation Groups, and to come and join us each week as we seek to worship, grow, and serve.