How Do I Lead An Intervention For A Loved One?

When dependency reaches a point at which people are hurting themselves and do not know they need help, a guided intervention may be necessary. Intervention is an attempt to change an influencing force that is destroying a person’s well-being.

The principle of intervention is certainly not new since the Bible records interventions into the destructive behavior of many people. Genesis 3 gives an account of God’s first intervention with the first parents of the human race. After Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience, they needed a recovery program, and we have been in need of recovery since that time. When they hid themselves from God among the trees, He sought a conversation with them asking, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). God was keenly aware of their fallen condition and obviously knew their whereabouts, but He wanted a response from them. Through this intervention, God helped them see their condition, held them responsible for their actions, and provided a way out of their web of deception.

After David took Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and then had Uriah murdered in an effort to cover up their sin, the Lord sent Nathan to intervene in David’s destructive course. Nathan sought a response by telling him about two men in a certain community: one was rich and the other was poor (see 2 Samuel 12). When a traveler came to the rich man for a meal, the rich man would not give him one of his own sheep. Instead, he took the only ewe lamb the poor man had, one that had grown up with his family, and prepared it for the traveler. After hearing the story, David responded with anger toward the rich man, suggesting his death. Nathan then said to David, “You are the man!” (v7). Nathan discussed the consequences of David’s behavior, and David acknowledged he had sinned against the Lord. The Lord used Nathan to conduct an intervention on David to help him see his sinful condition, its long-term consequences, his need for repentance, and how to get back on the track of recovery.

Showing guided level-by-level interventions, Jesus deals with the principle of restoration in Matthew 18:15-17. He begins with an early intervention: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you” (v15). Early intervention should be done privately with careful confrontation based on observations (show him his faults), not with judgment and condemnation. This should be done soon after the fault has been observed to prevent delusion. If the brother in the wrong responds favorably, then the issue is over with and restoration accomplished.

If the brother does not respond to early intervention, he is probably in a state of delusion. The next step, intermediate intervention, is described in verse 16: “But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ ” There should be descriptive facts presented based on times, places, people affected, and so forth, as they relate specifically to the problem.

The third level of restoration is crisis intervention. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector” (v17). At this level the church should already have a plan in place to assist this person if he is repentant and shows a willingness to receive help. If not, he should be made aware of the church’s continued love and compassion for him, but the church members will lovingly detach themselves from him until he shows evidence of wanting to change.

This principle of intervention shows three levels with people being added at each phase. All involved are people who are meaningful in his life. To prevent gossip, it is important to inform only those who need to know. The purpose of intervention is to help people, not tear them down.

How does the local church intervene when a person’s addictive behavior reaches a crisis stage? After the individual has been approached with early and intermediate intervention without success, who should be involved in the crisis intervention-the entire church body or just a few meaningful people in the person’s life? A crisis intervention should involve only meaningful people. Involving the entire local church body would probably include enablers, carnal Christians, and those who do not understand addictive behaviors which would hamper restoration.


Material from Understanding the Times and Knowing What to Do 
Copyright © 1991, 1997 by Turning Point Ministries 
All Rights Reserved
Advertisements

Tunya Adams – Making A Difference In Cynthiana, Kentucky

We are overjoyed to introduce Tunya Adams, our Living Free Ministry Award recipient for 2016. We love to highlight community servants and Tunya and her team are having much success using Living Free in her church plant and local community. We had the opportunity to speak with her about her start, her vision, and her advice on making an impact in your community.

When did you first become involved with Living Free?

Actually we began praying about getting involved with Living Free (Turning Point at that time) over 15 years ago. To become leaders, we were required to do the one day training and the Insight 10 week class. During that class I learned so much about myself and the needs of our community, but it wasn’t until 2008 that we did another training as a part of our Church Plant when we saw it take off. So we’ve been doing Living Free of Harrison County since March of 2009.

When did God begin to give you a vision for something more in your community?

When we started our Living Hope church plant in 2007, we knew we wanted to reach out to those hurting with addictions, but didn’t truly see the mission and vision until we opened up the church in the downtown area of Cynthiana. We were in the middle of it all.

God blessed our Living Free Ministry with His favor in our judicial system and community. We began to disciple and help people stuck in addiction and by 2016 we had helped over 163 individuals.

What were some of the steps you took to begin your Living Free Ministry?

We covered our efforts with prayer for many years, then our initial step was to start making contacts in the community so we could have a referral base. That’s when we started seeing God’s Favor. We met with any pastor, business or community leader that would listen to us.

What were some of the obstacles you faced?

The greatest obstacle was the spirit of religion here in our community. We have over 70 churches in our city with a population of 20,000. And that sounds great until you realize nothing has changed in most of those churches for 50+ years, so the people that attended and left those churches are just burn out on religion.

So we had to educate and demonstrate over and over that it’s about a relationship not a religion. Most churches still don’t see a need for this discipleship ministry, however the secular community has welcomed us with open arms.

What advice would you give someone who is looking to make a difference in their community?

  • Get to know your community’s needs. Don’t just assume you know them.
  • Schedule meetings with leaders, business people and religious leaders.
  • Get involved in your community before you start bringing anything to the table.
  • Prepare the people working alongside you, but go slow and prepare to stay awhile. Our community had seen many things start up and fall to the wasteside within a year or two. In order to earn the trust of the people, you have to have longevity.
  • And prepare for the success as much as you prepare for the setbacks. For example, don’t forget to celebrate the little victories out loud and to others. We sometimes can focus on just the setbacks and loose site of the ones we are truly helping. Not everyone will accept your help or care for your success in other people’s lives. But once you understand that, you won’t focus on the ones who reject your mission but on the ones we are ready to accept.

Stages of a Life-Controlling Problem

img_6865

Vernon E. Johnson, founder and president emeritus of the Johnson Institute in Minneapolis, observed (without trying to prove any theory) literally thousands of alcoholics, their families, and other people surrounding them. He writes, “We came up with the discovery that alcoholics showed certain specific conditions with a remarkable consistency” (8).

Dr. Johnson uses a feeling chart to illustrate how alcoholism follows an emotional pattern. He identifies four phases: 1) learns mood swing; 2) seeks mood swing; 3) harmful dependency; 4) uses to feel normal. Many of the observations made by Dr. Johnson and others, including us, can also be related to other types of dependencies, although the terminology may differ.

In Living Free materials, these four stages are labeled: 1) experimentation; 2) social use; 3) daily preoccupation; and 4) using the substance or practicing the behavior just to feel normal. Not everyone progresses through all these stages, however there is no way to predict which people who begin the pattern will continue to stage four.

By the time people arrive at stage three, their developing life-controlling issues are clearly idols in their lives. They are beginning to suffer negative consequences from their involvement, but instead of slowing down in response to the pain, they involve themselves more deeply. They look to the behavior, substance, or relationship that is entrapping them for comfort or relief. Their delusion grows deeper until they no longer recognize the truth.

In the video, we looked at the stages an alcoholic typically goes through as drinking becomes a life-controlling problem. However, these stages can also apply to behavioral struggles. These are the stages people often experience with an eating disorder, a sexual addiction, and several types of emotional struggles. Although the actual name used for the phase may be different and the details may vary, what is important to know is that even though life-controlling problems take many forms, they develop along similar predictable patterns.

Adapted from Living Free Coordinator’s Guide, Jimmy Ray Lee and Dan Strickland, Turning Point, Chattanooga, TN, 1999, pp 40-42.
Used by permission

Let This Next Year Be The Beginning Of Your Ministry

You will need a good foundation to build an effective Living Free ministry. You can do this by learning as much as possible yourself and then sharing what you learn with others.

Our office will help you. Ask us your questions. We are glad to help.

Here are steps you can follow as an individual to encourage your congregation or group to begin Living Free groups in your church or ministry.

INFORM AND TRAIN YOURSELF

The first step you should take is to learn as much as you can about Living Free.  Study the the website. Order the training series, or if that is impossible, watch the training series online so that you can experience first-hand what you want to encourage the church to enjoy.  After you review the materials, you may want to encourage some others to join you and look at them.  Test the interest level and see if there is a group of people who might like to work together to make this ministry a reality in your church. Remember, studying the materials as an individual is never as effective as experiencing them is a small group.  We need the eyes of others to see ourselves as we really are and the encouragement of others to apply the wisdom of God’s word to the difficult areas of our lives.

GAIN THE SUPPORT OF LEADERS

As you consider taking this information to your church leaders, be sure to pray.  When you meet with them, tell them about your own experience and how you think that these materials could help many others. Always keep a good attitude, even if the leaders are not receptive to you. Remember, it is God that opens and closes doors, and he has his own perfect timing for everything.

Try to see things from the perspective of ministry leaders.  Most church leaders are overworked and underpaid and experience many demands competing for their time.  Sometimes they will see a ministry like this as just another activity that they will have to staff and manage.  So if you want to see this ministry in your church, be sure that you’re volunteering to make it happen and not just handing it off for someone else to do.  When leaders see such a commitment, it will eliminate some of the barriers to beginning a new ministry.

How Do I Know If I Would Be A Good Small Group Facilitator?

wisdom

Having the spirit of a servant is essential for group leaders. Small groups should not be used as a platform for building the leader’s ego. Leaders must guard against possessiveness toward group members or manipulation of those who may be spiritually weak. Christ, not the group leaders, should remain the focus. A servant’s heart can be exhibited by encouraging group members to become all God intended them to be.

Having a good attitude is essential to being an effective group leader. A bad attitude will spread among group members and destroy the purpose of the group. The leader’s life should exhibit gentleness, purity, and a loving spirit. Positive attitudes can be as contagious as negative attitudes. Submissiveness to the local church is a quality that is needed for all group leaders. Without submissiveness to each other and Christ, groups will do more harm than good. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).

Spiritual maturity. Group leaders should have a Bible-based foundation. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Having a good knowledge of the Scripture (see 2 Timothy 2:15) along with Bible-based common sense is extremely important. The groups should be led by individuals who are not recent converts (see 1 Timothy 3:6). To avoid possible pitfalls, group leaders should be people of proven character. “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (1 Timothy 3:7). They should have strong commitment which displays reliability, faithfulness, and follow-through. Spiritual maturity, gentleness, and humility are a special combination for group leaders.

Emotional stability. Group leaders should exhibit a balanced lifestyle with confidence, however, not arrogance or overconfidence. “For God did not give us the spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Those who cannot discipline their own lives will not be effective in leading others to wholeness in Christ. Leaders should be team players, flexible, and adaptable.

Being responsible people, they should speak and work in reality, never advising group members to stop taking medication or cancel the doctor’s care. Small groups are not places to fantasize, exhibit self-punitive characteristics, or heap condemnation on people. S. Bruce Narramore notes:

A third emotion related to guilt feelings and fears of punishment is what I call constructive sorrow. Paul writes of this in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, where he reminds the Corinthians there is a difference between worldly sorrow that leads to death and godly sorrow that leads to righteousness. Constructive sorrow is a love-motivated emotion closely related to guilt feelings yet radically different. Whereas psychological guilt is a self-punitive process, constructive sorrow is a love-motivated desire to change that is rooted in concern for others. I believe a confusion of psychological guilt and constructive sorrow has often interfered with the church’s efforts at promoting wholeness and health in the body of Christ (33).

Group leaders who have overcome a life-controlling problem should understand that their purpose is to facilitate learning and growth. They should not put themselves in a position as an expert, based on personal experience. A helper who has been affected by a family member’s life-controlling problem should be aware of personal attitudes. Being intolerable to the values and lifestyles of others may prevent group members from receiving the help they need. Stephen P. Apthorp in his clergy handbook on alcohol and substance abuse notes:

If a recovering alcoholic or recovering drug abuser is selected to be the “spark plug,” it must be made clear to him that he is to be a facilitator of people, not a teacher or an expert witness by virtue of his personal experience. One of the fundamental characteristics of many a recovering person is the need to be in control and the need to control. . . . By the same token, selecting a parent whose child has been impaired by drug abuse may meet the requirements of enlisting a committed person, but in some cases the injury is such that it blocks the person’s ability to tolerate others’ attitudes, values, or lifestyles (33).

Communication skills are extremely important in small-group interaction. Whether verbally or with silence, group members are always communicating in some manner. Effective communication requires active listening and having genuine concern for each group member. Since it is easy to develop poor patterns of interacting with people, communication skills require practice.

Open-ended questions help create discussion in the group. These types of questions cause the participants to have a better understanding of themselves. Repeating the content of the group member’s message helps individuals know that they are being heard and that you are with them. When confronting is needed, care-fronting skills should always be used.

As mentioned earlier, communications are enhanced by having people sit in a circle. Having the need for eye contact, all group participants should be able to see each other. Group members who sit across from each other tend to communicate better than those who sit next to each other. Group facilitators should sit across from each other and acknowledge all contributions to the group process. No one should ever be put down for a comment that is in error.

Group leaders should guard against the temptation to dominate the discussion. It is a common temptation to answer most of the questions, to be the super Christian, or to turn the group meeting into a platform for preaching. The leaders should give direction to the group process by starting the discussion then steering the conversation according to the curriculum being used. It is best to divert conversations on controversial subjects that may cause division among group members. Although the sharing of past experiences can be interesting and in some cases valuable, the focus of the small group should be on the present in the person’s life. Since conversation on intellectual levels often results in surface discussion, it tends to kill personal sharing. There is a difference between what persons may think versus what they feel.

Material from Understanding the Times and Knowing What to Do
Copyright © 1991, 1997 by Turning Point Ministries
All Rights Reserved

Small Group Facilitators: How To Handle Those Who Talk Too Much and Not Enough

Handling excessive talkers in the group. There will be some people who tend to overtalk in the group or who may wish to show off their knowledge. Some may believe they have more knowledge than the facilitator (and they may); others may like the attention. There are certain communication skills that can be used to correct this situation. Questions and answers can be directed to individuals by name. Sitting next to the overtalker may help since the facilitator receives less eye contact than the other group members. This will cause the person to be away from the focus of attention and be less likely to respond.

The facilitators should analyze themselves to see if they are communicating clearly. If the group leaders are offensive, it is possible that the overtalker may see the need to take charge. It may be necessary to care-front the person privately. The overtalker may have leadership potential but needs to learn to be a better listener.

Handling nonparticipants. Some people are very timid or feel they do not have anything to contribute to the group. There are those who may also have reading difficulties. Group participants should be cared for with sensitivity (working within their comfort level). There are certain communication skills that can help increase their comfort level. In all group sessions, the facilitators should remind participants that no one is expected to disclose if he or she does not want to talk. No one is forced to talk-everyone has the freedom to pass. Offering encouragement by gently directing to the shy persons questions that can be answered with ease and comfort will help them become active in the group discussion. These people should receive special attention before and after each group session. Group leaders may need to offer encouragement in private. Every answer they provide should be affirmed.

Small Group Facilitators: How To Communicate In Your Group

Communication skills are extremely important in small-group interaction. Whether verbally or with silence, group members are always communicating in some manner. Effective communication requires active listening and having genuine concern for each group member. Since it is easy to develop poor patterns of interacting with people, communication skills require practice.

Open-ended questions help create discussion in the group. These types of questions cause the participants to have a better understanding of themselves. Repeating the content of the group member’s message helps individuals know that they are being heard and that you are with them. When confronting is needed, care-fronting skills should always be used.

As mentioned earlier, communications are enhanced by having people sit in a circle. Having the need for eye contact, all group participants should be able to see each other. Group members who sit across from each other tend to communicate better than those who sit next to each other. Group facilitators should sit across from each other and acknowledge all contributions to the group process. No one should ever be put down for a comment that is in error.

Group leaders should guard against the temptation to dominate the discussion. It is a common temptation to answer most of the questions, to be the super Christian, or to turn the group meeting into a platform for preaching. The leaders should give direction to the group process by starting the discussion then steering the conversation according to the curriculum being used. It is best to divert conversations on controversial subjects that may cause division among group members. Although the sharing of past experiences can be interesting and in some cases valuable, the focus of the small group should be on the present in the person’s life. Since conversation on intellectual levels often results in surface discussion, it tends to kill personal sharing. There is a difference between what persons may think versus what they feel.