One of the essential features of recovery work is community.
Actually, this truth has become much more embedded in me since beginning this work among the deeply struggling. I have been provoked to consider this topic more deeply especially since a respected leader of our London church has recently encouraged the leadership team to consider “rebranding” the courses we offer to reflect a community journey. John and I have also experienced community in our daily life. For example; at the moment we are living together with team members in quite close quarters. This time only seven weeks, but this is not our first experience. Much of our lives has been spent in communty living.
What people deeply need is community. God intended this from the beginning. Take a look at Genesis and throughout the Scriptures. All about community. Not easy. Messy. Breaks down the independence and individualism we cling on to. Pride gets damaged and what is really behind the mask is slowly revealed. It is a place of healing and truth. In community people can only hide for so long. People get to know us as we really are, the place where God can begin to break through.
How can we set this up in our local london recovery ministry? I think one of the first steps is a change of mindset from simply showing up twice a week and then forgetting the people around me. I need to enter into the ministry ( which can now mean wherever I am; church, Clubhouse, on the streets, at home) with the view that I am meeting brothers and sisters (both real in Christ and those potentially coming to Christ). I become simply part of the community, willing to share myself and facilitate creating family. I slowly allow people to ask me the difficult questions, learning to trust, to be honest and then learning to ask others the difficult questions. Connection goes beyond the meeting times. All this in an environment of loving acceptance and God’s grace. It takes time.
God began community. Community begins with my relationship with God. Community that flows out of God, through us, to others, stands a chance of survival if we let it.