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Self-Help Groups
During the last year one in six Adventist churches sponsored a self-help group all year or a shorter period of time.

Adventist churches are more likely than other faith groups to have such groups occasionally or once a year. This is probably because of the stop-smoking programs that Adventist churches sponsor which typically operate for only a short period of time.

The percentage of Adventists providing self-help groups throughout the year is the same as other faiths. This included 12-step groups such as Regeneration ministries for people struggling with addictions or substance abuse as well as groups with other missions/curricula.

It is surprising that more churches do not offer ministries of this type! The funding needed to run them is minimal, and the need in our society today is enormous. Those congregations, both Adventist and others, report that self-help groups attract new people and inactive members as well as contribute to church growth.

This approach certainly resonates with Adventist heritage and our theology about a holistic way of living.

Discussion questions:

1. Has our congregation ever sponsored a self-help group or personal growth group of any kind? How did it go?

2. Is there a significant need in our community and/or within our congregation for help with addictions or substance abuse, or coping with grief or divorce or other loss?

3. Has anyone in our congregation (or in our conference) been made aware of the "Regeneration" ministries (a 12-step approach) sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church? To learn more, go to: http://www.adventistrecoveryministries.org or 425.481.7171 (phone).

4. Should we appoint someone or a small committee to explore the possibility of offering a self-help or personal growth group?

Adventist Congregations Today contains more research findings in both book and CD-R. Learn more about the Faith Communities Today (FACT) research.

Paul Richardson
Executive Director
Center for Creative Ministry

New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry