When Emmanuel Christian Reformed Church started a ministry to help people with drug and alcohol addiction change their lives, it changed the church too.
Offering a faith-based 12-step program, the Sauk Village, Ill., church connected with its ethnically diverse community. The congregation has seen many changed lives and experienced church growth, becoming more multiethnic. Through the program, seven new families have joined the 55-family church in the past three years.
A church sign advertising a class on conquering chemical dependency has brought at least 70 people into the church for help since the program began. Two of those people are now church members and lead the support groups.
Ted Young, Emmanuel’s director of outreach, leads programs three days a week, and Roxanne Holmes leads a women’s group that helps women deal with the impact of others’ addictions.
Both of these leaders came into the church through the recovery program, uniquely qualifying them to help others.
The church’s pastor, Rev. Timothy Koster, says, “You have to credit this to the power of the Holy Spirit. We were praying for God to open a door for ministry, and God just dropped this whole program in our laps. As we ministered to individual needs, it just blossomed. It has moved from changing individual lives to changing our church.”