Sunday, October 29, 2017

There is a sad relity!


There is a sad reality! But we can help it change

            According to National Institute of Health Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. When we use the word Opioids we are referring to, pain medication that is prescribed by our doctors for various issues, including Dental work, surgeries, or broken bones they include such drugs as Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin and other drugs that are prescribed to deal with pain. Opioid also includes Heroin that generally bought of the street.  The individuals in law enforcement, medical community, and treatment providers are estimating the in 2017 that number could be in excess 150 per day. 

            Within the church I’m seeing more and more the desire or willingness to turn the responsibility for treatment  over to the secular community and para-church community (such ministries like: Rescue Missions, Christ based treatment programs, ministries like Salvation Army and Teen Challenge).  Despite the fact that these ministries have done an awesome job helping folks, my question is WHAT HAS YOUR CHURCH DONE?”

            Please understand that as I write this, I come from a unique perspective: I have been involved in Pastoral Ministry for over 38 years, and I have been working as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor for over 26 years, having been a counselor and program manager in both Christian based para-church ministries including a Recuse Mission and Teen Challenge, as well as worked within secular treatment programs (secular non-profits or state run programs)

            The question I ask every church is simple:

1.      What are you doing to help individuals that are dealing with a substance abuse problem (could include the Opiates, but also could include Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, and multiple of other drugs.)?



2.      What more should you be doing?



How can you help those that are addicted?

1.      Provide prayer for their struggle as they deal with the outcomes from their use.

·        This could include broken relationships, injury to their body, or injury to someone else either physical or emotional.



2.      Provide a non-judgmental attitude

·        I understand there will always be a debate between the concept that alcohol and drug use is a “Disease” or that it is a “Sin” regardless of where we fall in the disagreement. Hopefully we can agree on the fact “This person needs people to love, encourage, and pray with them through the process of healing and recovery.



3.      Providing a safe environment where drugs and alcohol are not accessible. 

·        This may require you to re-evaluate your policy or personal position on drinking alcohol or other drugs. When the Apostle Paul’s writes in Romans 14: 20-23 (English Standard Version) to the church in Rome beginning in verse number 20 he states:

(20) Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. (21) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.[a] (22) The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. (23) But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin

4.      Provide a strong support network of encouragement for sobriety and discipleship as they grow in their Christian walk alcohol and drug free.



If you would like more information on this topic, please check out my book @ http://www.revdonallenjr.com/p/books.html

Monday, October 16, 2017

Suicide ... How many more lives will be lost?

On Sunday, October 12, 2014 I asked this question, in a blog post on this site, and I think the question is still relevant!

Suicide … How many more lives will be lost?

Again and again I hear of pastors and Christian leaders that have choose to end their own lives. I remember an incident that happened when I was a young preacher in the town where I grew up. A pastor shot himself in the head in his office holding his Bible. This happened only a few hours after he was confronted by the church leadership over an affair that they had discovered he was having with one of his parishioners. Believing that his ministry and marriage were over, he chose to take his own life instead of coping with the shame and guilt. Some would say that his action was honorable; others would call him a coward.

However, we don’t know what this pastor was thinking about that gave him permission to take his own life. And just like today, as we continue to hear the news of pastors/ministers committing suicide, we really don’t know what they are thinking. Sadly, the culture of the church not has created a way for clergy to share the fears and hardships they are struggling with.  Many pastors who have been put on a pedestal fall, and then do not know how to properly address the shame, guilt, or humiliation they have caused, with the very people that had elevated them.

Over the years I have heard dozens of stories by Pastors, Ministers, and Lay people in the church that have expressed the thought of giving up or quitting; some of them have even said they had considered suicide. However, they were able to find an alternative to the permeant solution that they had considered. They used the steps of the acrostic: TALK

Tell someone what you are thinking
Ask someone for help
Listen to what people share to help you
Keep focused on the positive

And Choose Life

            Today we should be encouraging our pastors/ministers to choose life by providing a safe place for them to TALK where they may engage openly within a fellowship of caring pastors who encourage and help them walk through traumatic experiences.

            I have been involved in ministry for over 35 years and have been hurt by a lot of people. Ironically, no one has hurt me more in the church than other pastors. There are probably a thousand reasons why pastors commit suicide, but I think the main reason is that other clergy did not or did not know how to support and encourage them daily. I can’t answer for you pastor, but I can ask myself:
Do I give others the freedom to tell me what they are thinking?

Am I willing to provide help when they ask, and do I hear/see the non-verbal cries for help?
Do I really listen to what they share with me, or I’m too busy focusing on the next sermon or big program at my church?
Am I tearing them down instead of building them up?

Pastors, it is time we focus on Life and help others in the ministry to do so today.

Three simple challenges!

Call a pastor and encourage him in his role as a minister!
Ask a pastor to how he is doing, and then really listen to what he says!
Commit to praying for 12 pastors in your area that you know personally. Ask God to encourage them and to allow you to influence them for LIFE!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Invitation to an upcoming event!





If your in Greater Cincinnati/Tri-state area we would love to see you @ this upcoming event!

Drop us an e-mail and let us know your coming!