… and this is a GREAT thing! THIS is what church should be but many are too concerned with production value and broadcasting of the services and fail to be “real” when it comes to spreading the Gospel, the dirty, beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ and His power of redemption. It “falls short” because it is not trying to live up to the production standards of some of the churches in the area who pride themselves on “entertainment” rather than spreading the message of God’s love and our redemption.
Those of us in recovery will sometimes walk into our church service thinking that others are looking at us with downcast eyes; Pharisees? This is especially true early on in recovery when we have just been “found out” or rumors spread of our marital or personal problems. We fear that these “normal” people are without addictions or compulsions and look down upon us that struggle with these issues. We feel that the people in this room have never committed adultery, been black-out drunk, or used illegal drugs. We fear that these people have never sinned; at least not like us. This, of course, is not the case at a Prodigals service. Those that attend this service are all broken, are all sinners, and are all loved by God. This is because we are not blind to the fact that we are sinful and selfish people. For most of us attending this service, the 12 Steps have taught us this about ourselves; we are no longer blind. Performing a deep and thorough inventory of who we really are has enlightened us of our character and leaves us with no choice but to turn to Jesus and His power to set us free.
The setting is fantastic, intimate and inviting. The worship music is tailored to resonate with addicts and the broken. It cuts to the core of our want and need for redemption and our cry out to the Lord to heal us from our affliction; to free us from our self-imposed bondage. Freedom. Along with the praise and worship music, a testimony is given in this service which adds to the welcoming environment needed by those of us in recovery. We feel like we are not alone after hearing a testimony to which we can relate. The short but effective sermon is one that we can also relate to. It typically includes recovery-related themes with recovery-related language. It also is raw, unblemished, and truthful. They are not afraid to share of their brokenness or of their addiction. They are not afraid to speak truth to those of us who are listening. And they rejoice at having been restored from a life of addiction and compulsion to where the Lord can now use them for His good purpose.
If you are in any recovery program and feel like you don’t “fit in” at your church, I encourage you to visit the Prodigals service and see for yourself how powerful the experience can be worshiping the Lord with other recovery individuals. Even if you are comfortable at your own church like I am, visit the Prodigals and experience a different side of praise and worship and the Word of God with your fellow recovering members. Experience hope! It is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Prodigals information is written below:
Location: Loft Worship, Student Building of The Fellowship
Date: Every Saturday Evening