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> What If Church Were Run Like Aa?
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Elspeth 
Posted: 16-Feb-2006, 08:08 AM
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What if church were run like AA?



Traveling the path of addiction and recovery with a loved one, I found myself wishing my church was as supportive of me as the AA community is of their members. Wondering what it would be like if Christian communities were as supportive as the alcoholic recovery community.
What if when we joined a church we were given a sponsor? Someone to befriend and challenge us in Christ. Someone with the proven life experience and commitment we lack. Someone to guide us through the clashing rocks of temptation. To hold us back from the edge when our lifeís direction leads us off path. To wake us up when we fall asleep at the wheel.

What if we were given a phone list of people to call, anytime of the day or night when life throws us those curves we donít know how to handle? A list so extensive it guaranteed we would never be without one of Christís earthly representatives.

What if members were given lists of area church services so that they can attend service as often as needed?
What if our churches were as committed to their members knowing the Bible, chapter and verse, as AA is to their members knowing the Big Book? To not questioning the why of the book, but accepting the Bible works just because it does.
What if after five years of learning the Bible, of questing for the truth, of following the precepts of honesty and purity we became mentors to others?
What if Christians were welcomed into church folds as complete equals the way AA welcomes those with addictions?

Is there a difference between recovering addict and recovering sinner? All of us only know grace sufficient for the day.

AA members have the bond of their addiction; the knowledge that they cannot overcome this addiction alone.
Christians have the bond of sin. But, more often than not, that seems to be our personal shame, to be hidden in the dark recesses of our hearts. Are we not all sinners? What if church services were begun by the minister announcing, ďGood morning, Iím Reverend Smith and Iím a sinnerĒ?

It appears to this Christian that the church could learn a lot from the support system utilized by AA. A system where no one is lost from the fold unless they chose to fall away. And even then, they are always welcomed back as the Prodigal Son.
Too often churches fall into the trap of being the older brother. We put so much into our Christianity. We attend church regularly, give regularly, devote ourselves to learning, meetings, programs. Act as model Christians. But in the doing for our church community, do we remember what it is really all about?
An alcoholic knows if he doesnít follow the program he is in danger of slipping back into the hell of addiction. At meetings he admits he is an addict and that he needs the redemptive program of AA.
Do we Christians admit enough in church our sinful state and contemplate where we would be without the grace of God?
But AA doesnít stop at admittance of sin. It offers hope. Stories of those who walked through the fire and came through the other side.
Would the modern church benefit from the old time testimonies? Would we more completely gather at the foot of Jesus if we all saw each other in our sin and loved each other, not anyway, but because of it?

Why isnít church run like AA? We could go into the practicalities of budgets, programs, heating and electrical costs. We could go into busy schedules and overwhelmed church members. We could go into the Horatio Alger mentality of individual responsibility. We could go into the sensitivity to otherís privacy.
We could admit, if we were truly honest, that we are afraid to be as open in our sin and need of God as is an alcoholic who is sincere about recovery.

So, again I ask, what if church were run like AA? There are many church help books out there selling millions of copies. What if churches invested in a copy of the Big Book and gleaned from those pages their proven methods of community and healing?




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John Clements 
Posted: 16-Feb-2006, 08:54 AM
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WowÖ
You might have just opened Pandoraís Box?
I mean, one could go anywhere from hereÖ


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Siobhan Blues 
Posted: 17-Feb-2006, 11:24 AM
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"What if when we joined a church we were given a sponsor? Someone to befriend and challenge us in Christ. Someone with the proven life experience and commitment we lack. Someone to guide us through the clashing rocks of temptation. To hold us back from the edge when our lifeís direction leads us off path. To wake us up when we fall asleep at the wheel.."

What a marvelous idea!! In my own Baptist church, once someone becomes a Christian its just presumed that they will magically grow into strong knowledgable Christians - by attending Sunday School, worship services, etc. where they'll learn about Jesus more and how Christian faith can guide you in your life. I've watched new Christians wilt when the trials of life hit... how much better it would have been for them, had they had this 'sponsor...


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Elspeth 
Posted: 21-Feb-2006, 09:30 AM
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SB, your post made me realize I had left a key point out. In AA everyone has sponsors, they new guys AND the oldtimers. For all are in danger of falling out of sobriety, just as we are all in danger of falling away from God.
I've got to make a revision. smile.gif
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marti64 
  Posted: 23-Feb-2006, 11:06 PM
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Elspeth: Good Idea!!!! In a way, I think we have a version of the BIG BOOK in the form of the Bible, don't we?

In one church that I attended in the past, a person was given a sponsor, or one that they could call for guidance. These places of worship tend to be more fundamental in their beliefs, and sometimes more contraversial, niot really for me, as I like to see something before I can believe.

Being raised in a Yankee Protestant environment, I have questioned my beliefs on more that one occasion. Yet, I realize that I DO HAVE soemthing to elieve in....and if ther WAS someone to help me understand it better, then the journey would be easier!!!

Did I run on too long???? I hope not!!!!!! Love!!!! Marti


--------------------
]AN EXCERPT FROM A POEM THAT I WROTE ON 10/11/07

WE CAN'T CHANGE WHAT WE HAVE DONE....
BUT ONLY TAKE A LESSON FROM EACH EXPERIENCE
AND MAKE THE MOST OF EACH MINUTE THAT WE HAVE LEFT
AND TELL OURELVES THAT IT IS OK TO LIVE, LAUGH AND CRY.....
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ALL WORK TOGETHER
TO GIVE US WHAT WE CAN AND SHOULD EXPERIENCE
AND WE NEED TO CHERISH ALL OF THE TIME
THAT WE SPEND WITH OURSELVES AND OTHERS MAKING THE MOST OF THE SPECIAL MEMORIES THAT ARE OURS..
AND THE ONES THAT WE HAVE YET TO CREATE WITH THE PEOPLE THAT WE HAVEN'T MET!!!!![/SIZE]
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Elspeth 
Posted: 24-Feb-2006, 08:09 AM
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It is never too long, Marti! smile.gif

We DO have a BiG Book, but my experiences with churches seem to assume it is accept Christ and you're all OK on your own. Paul's letters to the early churches show us that isn't the best method. And, in my opinion it is arrogance. If we don't think we need each other, can we really believe we need God?

Thanks for in the input.
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j Padraig moore 
Posted: 24-Feb-2006, 12:23 PM
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The sponsor idea is a good idea, also biblically sound. But it can be abused. The wife and I were originally in a church where one was assigned or (very) strongly encouraged to get that "sponsor". Sometimes that sponsor, especially if they were a "baby in Christ" themselves, would sometimes become a tyrant. It's a really long story.
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j Padraig moore 
Posted: 24-Feb-2006, 12:24 PM
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The sponsor idea is a good idea, also biblically sound. But it can be abused. The wife and I were originally in a church where one was assigned or (very) strongly encouraged to get that "sponsor". Sometimes that sponsor, especially if they were a "baby in Christ" themselves, would sometimes become a tyrant. It's a really long story.
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j Padraig moore 
Posted: 24-Feb-2006, 12:24 PM
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Oops! Sorry for the double post!!!
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Elspeth 
Posted: 25-Feb-2006, 02:39 AM
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You're right, there are potential pitfalls. But to go to AA again, my husband told me just last night he wasn't comfortable with the level of interaction he was getting from his sponsor (in his case not enough). He is going to ask someone else to be his sponsor.
I suppose it should work the same way for church. In AA, you're not assigned a sponsor, but strongly (and I mean strongly) encouraged to get one. Who you ask is up to you and if you need or want to change, that's your prerogitive.

I need to change the wording....
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John Clements 
Posted: 25-Feb-2006, 11:51 AM
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We all take soulless in one form or another, weather it be in religion, or a group like AA, but if you ask me, I take soulless in John Lennonís Imagine.

Yes! I know, I'm gonna go to hell.
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Elspeth 
Posted: 25-Feb-2006, 01:29 PM
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Hey John, lighten up.

We're discussing here in the Christian forum a better way for churches to operate.

No is telling you you're going anywhere.
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John Clements 
Posted: 25-Feb-2006, 03:05 PM
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Sorry if I offended anyone, Iím just telling it the way I see it, and if my memory serves we well, having been raised a Roman Catholic. Iíve already been condemned to go, you know where.
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Elspeth 
Posted: 26-Feb-2006, 06:26 AM
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John, no person/organization can condemn you or anyone else to hell. That's God's territory.

And He condemns no one.

A person can chose to not call upon Him for salvation and therefore be separated for eternity. But that is the individual's choice. All one has to do is call upon the name of Jesus to be saved.

So, if any church told you you were condemned to hell, they were wrong. The choice is yours.

In this instance, it is all about personal choice. smile.gif

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Siobhan Blues 
Posted: 07-Mar-2006, 08:54 AM
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After an indepth study of the Catholic church and comparing it to the Protestant ideas, I honestly believe the difference in the two is mainly that the Catholic religion is 'bigger' - its more complicated, has so many more rules, and has so much more built on the original teachings of Jesus. Read up on Martin Luther some time and see what got him so uncomfortable that he went directly back to the Bible for guidance instead of the Church's books of rules...
Of course these days most denominations have added rules to the Bibles teachings so its a source of conflict just about everywhere in the religious world.

The Catholic church definately teaches that a person is condemned to hell for doing or not doing a list of things. But the Bible teaches that a person will go to hell if he/she chooses to reject God: before Christ came, peoples choices and actions were judged. But after Christ came, choosing to believe He was who He claimed to be became the crucial issue. Christ simplified things, but as a friend of mine once told me 'Jesus is too good to be true' and this friend rejects Christ on that basis. Christ being 'too good to be true' is what made it impossible for me to take my eyes off Him - He's fascinating, controversial, surprising, compassionate, radical, and totally irresistable to me. All else pales when you just watch Him...

John, please give the Scriptures another chance! Take a look at it yourself - you don't need a priest to interpret, YOU are the one its written for and it has a unique message that will touch your heart. Its surprising how much gentle guidance is there, how much grace & peace of heart is waiting for us if we reach out for it...

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