With about 83 percent of the population in American identifying as Christian and 22 million Americans admitting to using drugs, you can bet that there’s some crossover between the two groups. In fact, based on statistics alone, it’s a good chance that at least 10 percent of the people in an average church congregation have experience with drugs and even more have used alcohol.
For those dealing with addiction or recovery, these statistics can be comforting. They point to the grace of Christ and the fact that you don’t have to be perfect to become a valued member of his body. If you’re waiting until you’re perfect to join a church, then you are misunderstanding the purpose of the body of Christ and you will miss out on some benefits that God designed his church to provide.
Finding a church family is important for any Christian, but here are four reasons that a Christian who is in recovery or just leaving inpatient or partial hospitalization treatment might want to join a congregation.
Church Membership Comes with a Spiritual Support System
At the Road to Freedom, we believe that treatment for drug and alcohol abuse works best when you integrate proven clinical approaches such as detox and therapy with faith-based tools including pastoral counseling, Bible study and prayer. That doesn’t change as you transition out of rehab and treatment and into post-facility recovery.
If you’re dealing with a chronic addiction, then you probably know that certain aftercare tools, such as AA or NA meetings, might be a long-term lifestyle for you. Those tools all rely heavily on the premise that you can’t always face addiction alone and you shouldn’t have to. The concept behind organized church is similar: God made us to fellowship and be together, not to face the trials and tribulations of life alone.
Being part of a church family means that you don’t have to face life struggles alone. Strong churches are made up of people who work in small groups to support each other spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. As a church member, you’ll experience ongoing discipleship and Christian education, helping you deepen your faith and develop stronger spiritual coping skills.
Church Members Pray for Each Other
Prayer is a powerful tool, and we’ve discussed the positive benefits of prayer on recovery several times. In any Biblical Christian church, prayer is a critical component. As a member, you will pray with others and pray for others, flexing your prayer muscles and learning more about your relationship with Christ. You’ll also be prayed for. Even if you don’t realize it, church members often pray for each other, and some congregations have special prayer groups, email chains and meetings specifically to ensure that the entire body is prayed over regularly.
Fellowship is Good for the Mind, Body and Soul
Fellowship, which means associating in a friendly manner with people who share your interests, is a regular part of church life. In a Christian setting, fellowship usually means being together in Spirit with like-minded believers. Fellowship opportunities include things like meals, times of light refreshment, social hours and the minutes before and after worship and sermon where people mingle.
Being with other people in this way — especially in a positive setting where others genuinely care about you and want you to be healthy and happy — is good for you in a number of ways. Belonging to a group and enjoying the company of others reduces the isolation that can occur during recovery. Talking and learning about other people in a church also lets you make new friends or identify people who might understand what you are going through.
Getting Involved in Church Lets You Make a Difference
Finally, as a church member, you often have the opportunity to get involved in ministry and make a difference in the lives of others. Depending on where you are in your rehab journey, you might not think you have anything to offer, but that isn’t true. No matter who you are, God has given you something to offer his people, and by getting involved in church and learning more about his will, you usually find out what that is.
Giving back lets you get involved in positive activities that boost your own spirits, help others and ensure you continue developing healthy skill sets and coping mechanisms. While it takes time to get comfortable in a new church and figure out where God wants you to serve, don’t be afraid to pray about it and ask him what you can do within his body.
Getting involved in church might seem frightening or even inconvenient, but taking the time to become part of the Christian family after rehab has many rewards.
Whether or not you’re part of a church, if you’re dealing with addiction or a substance abuse disorder, our Christian Addiction Treatment Center services can help. Call us today to find out more about your options for seeking the Road to Freedom.