Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that helps us overcome our “hurts, hang-ups, and habits.” It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory. 20 years ago, Saddleback Church launched Celebrate Recovery with 43 people. It was designed as a program to help those struggling with “hurts, habits and hang-ups” by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process.
Celebrate Recovery (internal quotation marks added)
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.
I became acquainted with Celebrate Recovery a little more than a month ago. I was spear-heading a spiritual service for Veterans’ Village of Punta Gorda, Florida. We were implementing a religious program for the residents. Beginning with establishing a monthly Bible Study, we followed up by contacting Gideons International to provide bibles for the veterans at the Village
Chaplain John Ciukaj of the Gideons came on site to discuss our needs. After arranging to bring testaments and bibles, he told us about the local Celebrate Recovery program and its leader “Pastor Bob.” Reverend Robert “Pastor Bob” Stegemann is the Seniors’ Pastor at First Alliance Church of Port Charlotte, Florida.
Chaplain Ciukaj brought Pastor Bob to speak with a couple of us and he agreed to speak at the January Village Community Meeting. He also spoke of C.R. in more detail and began to make arrangements for transportation for interested residents to attend the weekly meeting at the church in Port Charlotte.
We have been twice now. The meetings are held once a week at First Alliance on Fridays
every week of the year. They are a three-part affair beginning with dinner at 6:00 p.m. followed by a large group meeting at 7:00 and concluding with small group meetings from 8-9:00. The large group meeting is similar to a worship service complete with Contemporary Christian music, offerings collections, prayers, and individual testimonies and/or a homily from the pastor.
The large group meeting is held in the church sanctuary and is gender integrated. The small groups are not. There are three categories for small group breakdown that are segregateed by gender making for two groups of three. They are;
- A-Z: Open to all persons for issues falling into topics not covered by the other two headings,
- Alcohol/Chemical Dependencies, and
- Sexual Integrity (for men) and Codependency (for women) .
To help people find freedom from hurts, habits and hang-ups including addictions, compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors.
The purpose of Celebrate Recovery ministry is to fellowship and celebrate God´s healing power in our lives through the “8 Recovery Principles.” This experience allows us to “be changed.” We open the door by sharing our experiences, strengths and hopes with one another. In addition, we become willing to accept God´s grace in solving our lives´ problems. By working and applying these Biblical principles, we begin to grow spiritually. We become free from our addictive, compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors. This freedom creates peace, serenity, joy and most importantly, a stronger personal relationship with God and others. As we progress through the program we discover our personal, loving and forgiving Higher Power – Jesus Christ, the one and only true Higher Power.