Curriculum Review of Celebrate Recovery
By Sarah Barton (Sagamore Institute Faith in Communities, 2005)
Celebrate Recovery is Biblically-based recovery program developed by John Baker, the pastor of ministries at Saddleback Church, where Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, is senior pastor. This program is based upon eight recovery principles drawn from the beatitudes:
Principle 1. Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.”
Principle 2. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.
“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Principle 3. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
“Happy are the meek.”
Principle 4. Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
“Happy are the pure in heart.”
Principle 5. Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.”
Principle 6. Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.
“Happy are the merciful” and “Happy are the peacemakers.”
Principle 7. Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
Principle 8. Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, by both my example and my words.
“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”
This curriculum also provides the Twelve Steps and supporting biblical references in an effort to reach out to the millions of people involved in secular Twelve Step programs and to introduce them to Christ. Celebrate Recovery is designed to have a large group teaching and worship time followed by small groups addressing specific topics.
The Leader’s Guide provides start-up information for churches interested in recovery ministry, including a ninety-day kick-off strategy that provides guidance about the steps that should be taken in each of three months of preparation. Also, seven keys to starting and sustaining an effective recovery ministry are identified: worship, leadership training, senior pastor support, fellowship events, curriculum, new groups, and outreach. The Leader’s Guide discusses why each of these keys is important and gives ideas for how to implement them in your recovery program. A sample one-year teaching schedule and curriculum plan is provided to guide program leaders. In addition, formats for large and small groups are provided.
Celebrate Recovery also includes four participant’s guides: Stepping Out of Denial into God’s Grace; Taking an Honest and Spiritual Inventory; Getting Right with God, Yourself, and Others; and Growing in Christ While Helping Others. Each guide contains discussion topics and exercises corresponding to the large group teaching aimed at promoting individual reflection and small group sharing about recovery.
In addition, a 20-minute “message to the pastor” video and Rick Warren’s “Road to Recovery” sermon series are available in print, audio, and diskette formats as supplementary materials for those preparing to launch a Celebrate Recovery ministry in their churches.