The Elephant in the Sanctuary

Kudos are in order for Saraland, AL church, Living Hope, with Pastor Matthew Johnson and wife Rebecca (far right), for offering a special ministry focused on individuals recovering from addictions. Honestly, this should happen in every local congregation.

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Amanda McBride, (standing next to Linda) is a graduate from the Home of Grace for Women and serves as a Manager at Fort Conde in Mobile. We have stayed connected with her for over two years. She is a powerful witness for the Lord Jesus, having come through years of addiction and abuse. God is using her to carry the message of deliverance and healing.

For over two decades I have been calling on every local church to appoint a Recovery Pastor who, by experience, is trained to minister in this particular area. Because of the rapid rise in American addiction and death, every church should launch this ministry outreach immediately!

Every Christian University and College should offer required courses on the topic of addiction. Future ministers are taught Biblical doctrines, linguistics, public speaking, church history, polity, courses on church growth, including music, children, youth and technology, etc., but how many future pastors are equipped to deal with addiction?

Addiction is the elephant in the sanctuary. I read that one in 12 members in every church is battling addiction.

Beware! This is more than another “church program.” It is more than religious information on a topic. It comes by revelation of the Holy Spirit. It is organic. It requires personal honesty that requires humility.

Remember, addiction is not “their” problem, it is “our” problem! It will require each of us “taking a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves.” From the Senior Pastor to the lowliest member. Remember, widespread change begins with a few people making radical, irrevocable choices.

Shifting blame, making excuses, passing the buck and all such deflections prolongs the day of deliverance. It begs the issue of personal accountability. That rationale has expired! People are dying!

Building walls, getting more education, legitimizing sin as “a psychological condition” are attempts at deflection. Changing locations, divorcing the “problem,” or getting a new job cannot resolve the deep internal moral crisis in America. Our behavior reflects who we are. To change what we do, we must allow God to change who we are. Any other behavior modification is superficial, dealing with symptoms and not the causes of addiction. 

Thank God for Amanda and Living Hope Church!