28 Possible Steps in a Recovery Ministry

On Sunday, October 27, First United Methodist Church of Manchester took a leading step in Christian response to addiction: they invited Rev. Mike Clark of Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church in Watertown, Mass. to speak to them after church. Since 2002, he has had a successful ministry of integrating the ministries of congregations and the 12-Step programs that meet in their buildings. Here are his 28 Possible Steps that you and your congregation might consider:


Recovery 101

  1. Pray publicly in worship for those in the congregation and the community wrestling with addiction
  2. Schedule an annual conversation with convenors of every 12-Step fellowship that meets in your building
  3. Attend open meetings of 12-Step groups, beginning with those who don’t meet in your space
  4. Attend open anniversaries of meetings in your setting
  5. Organize a book study for members of the recovery team for self-education and community building
  6. Become aware of and connect with community resources, e.g. clinicians, public health, sober houses, etc.
  7. Participate in community vigils remembering overdose victims and their families
  8. Keep a supply of basic info and maintain up-to-date lists of meetings in your area so that no one leaves your building without a place to go
  9. Train pastors and staff members in NARCAN
  10. Encourage discussion in clergy associations/interfaith groups in your area
  11. Open your doors wider to recovery community, e.g., 24-hour meetings on holidays

Recovery 201

  1. Extend hospitality to groups, e.g., cider and snacks at Christmas
  2. Build addiction/recovery themes into adult and youth education
  3. Preach sermons on these issues
  4. Join advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal level to increase availability of treatment
  5. Encourage members of the congregation to be more open about their own journeys
  6. Invite guest speakers from 12-Step fellowship s for worship/classes
  7. Offer child care for groups who meet in your setting
  8. Schedule work days for improving the space utilized by groups
  9. Partner with local rehabs/sober houses
  10. Initiate annual candlelight vigils to remember overdose deaths in your community

Recovery 301

  1. Offer pastoral counseling to group members as additional texture to their recovery
  2. Offer pastoral care to group members, e.g., hospital visits, weddings, funerals, etc.
  3. Offer spiritual direction to individuals
  4. Being available to hear folks’ Fifth Steps when the time comes
  5. Offer retreats for church members and individuals in recovery
  6. Institute an “11th Step Café” to bring together church people, recovering addicts, and church members in recovery to experience the possibility of friendship and support
  7. Hire part-time staff to work with your congregation and other houses of worship in your area