Bible-based recovery program starts at church
Butler Eagle
Written by:
Connie P. Shoemaker
March 4, 2013
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Chris Gibbs, left, and Joni Kellar, both pastors at Crossway Church in Valencia, are excited about starting a Celebrate Recovery program. Celebrate Recovery is a Bible-based recovery program that is used in more than 19,000 churches around the world.

VALENCIA — It was the relational aspect of the ministry that drew Pastor Joni Kellar and Pastor Chris Gibbs to implement a Celebrate Recovery program at CrossWay Church, 109 Davis Road.

The group meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Monday.

“I looked into it and really liked the principles and steps. It is a Christ-centered program that meets the vision of CrossWay. The program encourages a very real relationship with Jesus Christ,” Kellar explained.

According to Kellar and Gibbs, Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that helps people overcome their hurts, hang-ups and habits. Based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory, Celebrate Recovery is now used in more than 19,000 churches worldwide.

Celebrate Recovery continues to expand the pastors’ vision for reaching out to the community.

“We are aware there are tremendous amounts of hurting people in our area. We’ve tried to meet the needs of those with broken relationships through our Divorce Care program, and now we feel led to meet the needs of those in our community struggling with destructive addictions whether they are addicted themselves or love someone who is,” said Kellar, the outreach pastor at Crossway Church.

Celebrate Recovery’s purpose is to offer fellowship and celebrate God’s healing power through the “8 Recovery Principles.” It began in California 20 years ago and was designed as a program to help those struggling by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process.

“Addictions, life issues, and the like are no respecter of persons,” said Gibbs, CrossWay’s senior pastor.

“We believe and the program shows evidence that when we apply these biblical principles, we grow spiritually and when that happens, freedom from addictive, compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors is more easily obtained,” said Kellar.

“Celebrate Recovery offers hope and where there is hope, healing can begin,” she added.

Mindy Mathews, one of the program’s facilitators, found that freedom and is delighted to give back.

“Attending Celebrate Recovery for the first time is not an easy step, but once you get there you’ll immediately sense you belong. It’s a place where everyone there is willing to say ‘I hurt and I need to know it’s OK,’” she said..

The meeting starts as a large group with a time of praise to help members unwind. A brief lesson or testimony is followed by a division into small groups divided by gender with same gender leaders.