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Florala church offers spiritual, practical help to addictscomment (0)

June 8, 2006

By Erica Harms

In a small group setting, people are being freed from their bondage in a little room within the walls of Chapel Hill Baptist Church, Florala, on Saturday evenings.

With a vision from Pastor Jonathan Maddox, a cost-free recovery ministry began under the leadership of the Sardis Baptist Association church about a year ago for people dealing with addictions of any kind.

“We didn’t start this to put bodies in the church pews,” Maddox said. “We wanted to see lost people come to know Jesus through this ministry.”

As Maddox became aware of people in his community who were arrested because of substance addictions time and time again, his compassion to support them increased to the point of action.

“We didn’t want to put a label on ‘addiction.’ People can be addicted to all kinds of sins,” he said. “We wanted to do something that would not only help people dealing with addictions but would also help them spiritually.”

The church uses eight principles based on the Beatitudes, as well as a 12-step program, when ministering to the group’s members. One member of the group began attending Chapel Hill Baptist shortly after being released from prison.

According to Maddox, she faced temptation on every side but the church welcomed her, loved her and embraced her.

“Now she’s involved in the church a lot. She comes early to meetings and is active in Sunday School. She’s been able to share her testimony with several others,” he said.

Many of the group’s members are active church members who understand that they are not exempt from the temptations of the world.

“I go to the meetings myself because I struggle with sin, too,” Maddox said. “I don’t go because I feel like I have to be there; I go because I want to be there. We are able to sit and just talk about our problems.”

Mike Moody, facilitator for the group, knows how sensitive some of the issues addressed can be. With confidentiality being a key factor for the success of the group, he has seen those willing to share in the meetings become like family.

“It’s a blessing for me to watch them celebrate recovery from where they came from,” he said.

According to Moody, the wounded keep on coming and always will. Chapel Hill members are earnestly praying that those struggling with addictions of any kind in their community might find refuge among a group of people who understand their struggles. “We just want them to know that they can call on the Lord for help,” he said.

The church is expecting court-referred people to attend the group soon. “We hope to use that open door to usher in the gospel,” Maddox said.

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