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Yeah, our church is 24 years old and I planted the church. It seems that from our very inception we have dealt with people with drug and alcohol problems all along. What the talk is going to consist of is me basically talking about first of all lessons regarding the offender and the sin, just sort of common themes. Some of the stuff will be obvious, some of the principles or lessons. It was important too that I assess what we did that wasn’t helpful. I had files and notes and went back over things and thought man, if we were doing this today we would not do that. But then there was other stuff that was somewhat instinctive.
Trying to get a team of people around a person, because in one sense I want to say that the drug and alcohol abuse are sins like other sins, but we also know there’s something unique about these sins as well. It’s very consuming. Well, the counseling becomes very consuming. Just to see the way that in the past we just sort of instinctively put people around people that were struggling. People that had both experience, personal experience. People that were grounded. So those kinds of things.
One thing that has been very important is our approach to church discipline, which some people would think that under these circumstances, you know, for instance we just heard that every addict deals with shame, and not to downplay any of that but actually the weight, the gravity of church discipline has been a significant thing. In fact, there’s a woman here from our church who was on the brink of excommunication and God used the discipline process to bring her to repentance. She’s here. So just some of those kinds of observations, lessons, positives, negatives.