Are Recovery Groups Needed in Churches?

Not long ago I heard someone say: "I don't see any need for recovery groups in our congregation because we already have a very vital small group program." This comment started me thinking about the differences between traditional small groups in the local church and recovery groups.

I have been a participant in small groups and small group ministries for a long time. I have led groups, I have been trained as a group leader, I have written curricula for small groups, I have organized small group ministries and trained small group leaders. These experiences have been very helpful to me and I count them as some of the most valuable of my entire Christian experience. None of them prepared me, however, for the kind of group experiences found in what we now call 'recovery groups'. I remember, for example, the first time I attended a 12 step group. I knew, from the moment the very first person began to speak, that I was participating in a group dynamic which was dramatically different from any other I had experienced.

In order to understand the differences between traditional small groups and recovery

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by Dale S. Ryan

Dale Ryan, part of the School of Theology faculty since 1993,
is associate professor of recovery ministry and director
of the Fuller Institute for Recovery Ministry.

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