DURHAM, N.C. (BP)–The unveiling of the local church-based treatment and recovery program HIS Way by Ted Stone Ministries in a Baptist Press news article July 13 has produced positive responses from readers across the Southern Baptist Convention.
The “relapse” possibility in dealing with recovering addicts has always been an unwanted nightmare waiting just around the corner. HIS Way provides the needed hope and assistance to help make such sad events become a thing of the past.
One of the major keys to success in this endeavor will be the selection and training of mentors from among the local body of believers, whose task will be to show the participants, by example and advice, the way to a better life. Past failures have been due largely to programs whose focus is primarily pointed toward the achievement of sobriety or a drug-free status, without sufficient regard to the spiritual development of the hurting individual seeking help. HIS Way will provide mentors called by God to become involved in this much needed ministry.
Because one of the requirements for entrance into the program is enrollment in one of the Christ-centered treatment facilities (that provide a regimen of primary care and offer abundant opportunities for the recovering addict to experience salvation through trusting in Jesus), mentors and potential mentors should become acutely aware of the opportunities afforded in such surroundings.
The first two churches involved in this program, Central Baptist Church in Wendell, N.C., and Parkview Baptist Church in Morehead City, N.C., already are making plans to visit two such centers in North Carolina — Bethel Colony at Lenoir and Hebron Colony in Boone — in order to gain first-hand knowledge of the prior drug-abuse treatment received by newcomers to HIS Way. They will also inspect the first Baptist-operated halfway house for recovering addicts, Damascus Home, located in Creedmoor, N.C.
The properly trained mentors, who are godly individuals, will stand ready to provide guidance and accountability to those who graduate from such initial treatment programs, and they will at last fill the gap that has existed for so many who return to the local community, who are armed with a recent close walk with the Lord and longing for the fruits of permanent recovery.
The mentor to whom they are referred will provide direction and the answer to the penetrating question, “What now?” This dedicated Christian will use every tool at his disposal to disciple the participant, who must have experienced salvation through Jesus before assignment to a mentor, and eventually to assimilate this newcomer into the local church, where he will become during the six month or longer program a valued and loved member of the body of believers and will shed the shackles of those sad nametags — alcoholic or drug addict — forever.
Essential qualifications for HIS Way mentors, each of whom must be approved by the senior pastor and other staff members and lay leaders assigned to this responsibility, include a thorough knowledge of the drug problem and its accompanying consequences. It is not necessary that mentors have tasted the bitter fruits of drug abuse firsthand, but he must have a clear understanding of the troubled background from which his charge comes.
The mentor must be:
— A dedicated Christian who lives the Christian life in public and private, and who has a godly reputation in the church and the community.
— One who has a working knowledge of the Bible and who studies God’s Word on a daily basis.
— One who totally abstains from the use and sale of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs, and one who does not abuse prescribed or over-the-counter medicines.
— One who does not gossip and who maintains total confidentiality.
— One who is deeply involved in the local church and is a regular attendee at services.
— One who loves broken people and has a sincere desire to see them healed.
— One who has a good heart, who loves people and, above all, loves God.
— One who prays often.
— A responsible individual whose word is his or her bond.
— One who sets a good example in all matters.
— An encourager, but never tolerant of improper actions or thoughts.
Matthew Omlie, a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student and an associate of this ministry, often says at mentor training sessions, “The mentor must become God’s spokesman to his charge, as Ted Stone did as my mentor during my treatment days at Bethel and Hebron, and as he has during my answer to God’s call to serve him. After I trusted Jesus as my Savior, Ted introduced me to a unique concept … that of total surrender to God’s will. This same concept must become the keynote of this program and every newcomer should be urged to endorse it in his own life. This will assure him of staying on the right path … HIS Way! Each mentor must become God’s spokesman to the participant assigned to him.”
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40, Holman Christian Standard version.) What a huge responsibility the Bible places on every mentor, but the results will be well worth the efforts.
For further information on HIS Way or speaking engagements or other services of Ted Stone Ministries, write to Ted Stone, P.O. Box 1397, Durham, N.C., 27702 or call 919-477-1581.