Date of Award

1-1-1995

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)

Degree Name

D.Min.

Abstract

The major concern is that the church is not actively involved with solving the substance abuse dilemma that is disturbing communities nationwide, especially within the Black communities. The validity of this characterization is supported by the understanding that most congregational members generally view substance abusers as sinners, excluded from God's mercy and concern. This problem intensifies when considering that substance abuse treatment and aftercare residential facilities are available to 15 percent, or less, of approximately 18 million alcoholics and 5.5 million drug abusers. Since there are no established standards for ministering to substance abusers, the church must be relevant to causes and cures of all issues that are contributing factors to human destructiveness resulting from substance abuse. This study focuses on examining and exploring some initiatives for confronting this nation's substance abuse predicament. The design for this inquiry was organized into three phases. Phase I involves examining possibilities to form a substance abuse group recovery home, to prove that any religious body can set up one with a reasonable amount of economic planning and without government financial support. Phase II consists of exploring opportunities to develop a simple biblical and spiritual growth study guide for community and congregational use. Phase III involves conducting a feasibility study for establishing a comprehensive relationship between a local substance abuse treatment center and churches located within the vicinity of the center for creating a healing community with a wholistic approach. Study conclusions provided sufficient information that a self-supported and self-governed group recovery home could be operated and function under the directions of a religious body, without government assistance. Current operations of the Agape House Ministry is the result of this phase. Completion of a social analysis survey of recovering substance abusers in a local treatment center, dialoguing with a recovering person, and conducting a study of two groups (recovering substance abusers & congregational members) provided the format for developing a simple study guide. Although Phase III was initiated with a survey mailed to 22 religious leaders, time did not permit continuous study. However, receipt of 7, out of 22 response, indicated that the membership of any congregation have the abilities to provide flexible services that are less expensive and useful to all involved.

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