Romans 8:28

"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God:

those who are called according to His purpose."




A CHRIST-CENTERED recovery program

We do not all have the same hurts, habits, and hang-ups. They have not interfered in our lives in the same way or to the same degree. However, what we have in common is a desire and a willingness to lean on God AND each other to overcome our particular hurt, habit or hang-up. According to Rick Warren, "Celebrate Recovery is the clearest expression of the church in action in America today."

We share with each other in an attempt to support and encourage each other. WE DO NOT GIVE ADVICE and WE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FIX EACH OTHER. In order to create safety for sharing to occur honestly and freely, anonymity and confidentiality are VERY HIGHLY VALUED. Our motto is "Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here."

The PURPOSE of Celebrate Recovery

You may be thinking that recovery is just for people with alcohol or drug problems. The truth is that only one third of the people attending Celebrate Recovery are dealing with chemical dependencies. Many of us have created ungodly and unhealthy methods for handling life.


Regardless of your struggle, whether itís emotional, relational, financial, spiritual, sexual or whatever, Celebrate Recovery will teach you to make the healing choices that will help you become the person God created you to be. If you have hurt that haunts your heart, hang-ups that cause you pain or habits that have messed up your life Celebrate Recovery is the place for you.

The purpose of Celebrate Recovery at River Valley Christian Fellowship is to fellowship and celebrate God's healing power in our lives through working the 12 Steps and 8 Recovery Principles. This experience allows us to be changed. We open the door by sharing our experiences, strengths, and hopes with one another. In addition, we become willing to accept God's grace in solving the problems in our lives.

By working and applying these Biblical principles, we begin to grow spiritually. We become free from our addictive, compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors. This freedom creates peace, serenity, joy and most importantly, a stronger personal relationship with God and others.

As we progress through the program, we discover our personal, loving and forgiving Higher Power - Jesus Christ.

Jeremy Camp "Healing Hand of God"


The HISTORY of Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery started in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. At that time, the church was meeting at a high school gymnasium. John Baker wrote Pastor Rick the "now famous concise 13-page single-spaced" letter outlining the vision God had given him for Celebrate Recovery. After reading John's letter, Pastor Rick said, "Great John, go do it!"

The first night 45 people attended, and Celebrate Recovery was born. Beginning with only four Open Share Groups - Men's and Women's Chemical Dependency, and Men's and Women's Co-Dependency - the ministry has grown to over fourteen groups today. Over 8,500 people have gone through the program at Saddleback Church, and many of them are now serving in Celebrate Recovery and the church. Celebrate Recovery has become the number one outreach ministry at Saddleback Church, with over 70 percent of its members now coming from outside the church.

The first ten years were the birth stage of Celebrate Recovery, and now God is calling us to take it to the world. There are now thousands of Celebrate Recovery ministries around the world and it is growing. We are part of a movement that is bringing in the hurting and broken to the healing power of Jesus Christ.

In addition, Celebrate Recovery is not just growing in churches, but in recovery houses, rescue missions, and prisons around the world. New Mexico was the first state to adopt Celebrate Recovery into their state prison system. Now, New Mexico has Celebrate Recovery pods in all their state prisons. In August of 2004, Celebrate Recovery was announced as California's state approved substance abuse program for prisons. This is an exciting and growing outreach opportunity for every Celebrate Recovery.


Seven UNIQUE Features of Celebrate Recovery

  • This recovery ministry is based on God's Word, the Bible. When Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, he began by stating "Eight Ways to Be Happy". Today we call them the Beatitudes. From a conventional viewpoint, most of these statements didn't make sense. They sounded like contradictions. But when you fully understand what Jesus is saying, you'll realize that these eight principles are God's road to recovery, wholeness, growth, and spiritual maturity.

  • This recovery ministry is forward-looking. Rather than wallowing in the past, or dredging up and rehearsing painful memories over and over, Celebrate Recovery focuses on the future. Regardless of what has already happened, the solution is to start making wise choices now and depend on Christ's power to help me make those changes.

  • This recovery ministry emphasizes personal responsibility. Instead of playing the "accuse and excuse" game of victimization, this program helps people face up to their own poor choices and deal with what they can do something about. We cannot control all that happens to us. But we can control how we respond to everything. That is a secret of happiness. When we stop wasting time fixing the blame, we have more energy to fix the problem. When you stop hiding your own faults and stop hurling accusations at others, then the healing power of Christ can begin working in your mind, will, and emotions.

  • This recovery ministry emphasizes spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ. The third principle calls for people to make a total surrender of their lives to Christ. Lasting recovery cannot happen without this step. Everybody needs Jesus. Celebrate Recovery is thoroughly evangelistic in nature. In fact, the first time Rick Warren of Saddleback Church took his entire church through this program over 500 people prayed to receive Christ on a single weekend. Changed lives always attract others who want to be changed.

  • This recovery ministry utilizes the biblical truth that we need each other in order to grow spiritually and emotionally. It is built around small group interaction and the fellowship of a caring community. There are many therapies, growth programs, and counselors today that are built around one-on-one interaction. But Celebrate Recovery is built on the New Testament principle that we don't get well by ourselves. We need each other. Fellowship and accountability are two important components of spiritual growth.

  • This recovery ministry addresses all types of habits, hurts and hang-ups. Some recovery programs deal only with alcohol or drugs or another single problem. But Celebrate Recovery is a "large umbrella" ministry under which a limitless number of issues can be dealt with. Less than one out of three who attend Celebrate Recovery are dealing with alcohol or drugs. This ministry is for all types of hurts, hang-ups and habits.

  • Finally, this recovery ministry encourages giving back! Because Celebrate Recovery is biblical and church-based, it encourages people to seek out where God wants them to serve after they've found recovery in Christ. Eighty-five percent of the people who've gone through Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback Church are now active members, and an amazing 42% are now using their gifts and talents serving the Lord in some capacity in their church.

These features were taken from a letter by Rick Warren. To read the letter click here.


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