How churches can be on the frontline in the war on drugs

May 15, 2019

The new normal in churches today is that people are struggling with drug addiction in unprecedented numbers. Opioid abuse in all its forms is epidemic. The reality is that in the confines of any church, someone is suffering in silence, enslaved to some addictive substance or behavior.

Acknowledging that, it becomes imperative for the church to take a stand in the fight against substance abuse and addiction. But before we can help, we need to understand addiction and its power over people. What begins as experimentation can quickly become enslavement.

How do I know? Because I lived that life for nearly 20 years. It wasn’t until I recognized my addiction to alcohol as a sin that Jesus brought genuine healing to my life.

How does a church establish itself against such a secretive enemy? It’s not difficult. Start with prayer. Church leaders need to pray for the courage to recognize that the addiction problem is alive and well in the confines of their congregation. As much as we like to think our flocks are obedient, compliant and without blemish, sheep wander. And at times they wander into very dark, dangerous places.

Once the problem has been faced, it needs to be talked about openly. And the discussions need to be frank and honest. If you’re a pastor or church leader who has overcome addiction in your own life and you acknowledge the grace of Jesus Christ as being instrumental to your restoration, you need to talk about it. I believe the thing that allows my ministry work to thrive is that I’m vocal about where my addiction took me and how — only by Jesus’ grace — did I come out alive.

As much as we like to think our flocks are obedient, compliant and without blemish, sheep wander. And at times they wander into very dark, dangerous places.

Churches must be vocal in their desire to love on those who have been broken by substance abuse. Stigmas, judging and condemnation need to go out the window. Addicts need to be embraced as people who are made in the image of God. Their loved ones need to be taken in with the same care and compassion you would give someone who has lost their home, because loving an addict can make for a very isolated, discouraging life.

Pastors have to find the shepherds in their congregations. They’re out there. The turning point in my life took place when I shared my story one night in a Bible study. Then, my pastor told me I needed to be share my story on a larger stage. One Sunday he let me stand in the pulpit and speak openly about my struggle and how Jesus redeemed me. Since then, there’s been no turning back. I believe every church has someone with a similar story, praying for the chance to share.

Once those leaders are found, it’s all about outreach. Form a group. Eight years ago, the Holy Spirit guided me in the development of One Step Ministries. We provide support, counsel and other assistance to both addicts and their loved ones. We operate out of Apex Baptist Church and the response from both the church and the community at large has been positive and significant.

As sound, biblical outreach grows, so does community support. Through One Step, I work cooperatively with hospitals, treatment centers, law enforcement agencies and clinicians who appreciate the role Christian faith plays in offsetting the horrible destruction addiction brings to their respective communities.

As I counsel individuals who are struggling with whatever substance they’re struggling with, whether they are believers in Christ or not, I find that all of them light up to some degree when I tell them this — “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” That promise holds up when it’s presented with loving conviction from the church. Then it can be taken to heart, where true healing begins.


by Kevin O’Brien
/  Co-Founder  /  One Step Ministries

Think like a missionary

How can I think like a missionary?Missionaries live with a deep love and compassion for those who are far from God. They are burdened for those who are lost — those who are like sheep without a shepherd. They live by the words of Jesus when He said, “I have other sheep that are...

Why crisis & unrest should point us to prayerful hope in Christ

If ever there was a time when believers and churches needed to focus on God’s great hope in Jesus, it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic — along with all the racial, social, political, economic and spiritual unrest that has gripped our nation — has, in many ways, cast a cloud of...

Saved from war, man from Congo planting church in Raleigh

Rufus Muhirwe is tall, thin and soft-spoken. Look at this gentle man and you would never guess the years-long nightmare he endured before coming to Raleigh, N.C. He found that God was with him through those years. And the fact that Muhirwe is planting a new church is a testimony...

How families can mentor families to make disciples at home

There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” What if we took this same approach in discipling our families. No doubt, you have families in your church who are doing a phenomenal job discipling their...

Don’t miss the blessing of leading your child to Christ

Most churches stress the importance of passing the gospel on to future generations. We often refer to the family as a primary mission field. To emphasize this reality, we point to passages such as Deuteronomy 6:6-7a, which says, “These words that I am giving you today are to be in...

4 women’s ministry events for you and your church

“Pivot” is a new buzzword brought about by COVID-19, and it’s something every organization and ministry has had to do amid the global pandemic. The coronavirus has forced the cancellation, postponement, rescheduling or shifting of numerous events and conferences, and the impact...

NCMO helps demonstrate Christ’s love in word, deed

The year 2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetime. Events of this year have left many people hurting in numerous ways. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be compelled by the love He demonstrated for us through His death on the cross to love others, serve...

Baptists on Mission dedicates Charity Rebuild Center

Two years ago Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina with devastating force. Today Baptists on Mission (NCBM) dedicated its Charity Rebuild Center, a disaster relief ministry hub near Rose Hill, N.C. Since its founding in 2019, the site has been home base for volunteer teams as...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!