My Life, Pressing Forward

Guest Author: Trent Childers Editor's Note: I asked Trent Childers to write about his past and why he wrote Pressing Forward: Bible-Based Addiction Recovery, which will be released by Start2Finish on December 30th. Thank, Trent, for sharing your story and using it to point the way to Christ. — mcw

Writing Pressing Forward was daunting indeed. It is sobering, and a little terrifying, to know that something I wrote is going into permanent print. However, I am so grateful that God allowed me to do this, as there is a legitimate need. I pray fervently that God will use this work to help the struggling, and to help the body of Jesus help the struggling. So, why did I write it?

A little background is in order. I was reared to fear God and keep His commandments, which includes being reared to avoid alcohol and other drugs. Even so, I ended up using drugs before turning 16 and was arrested at age 17. I went on to receive 3 DUI’s before turning 22. I succumbed to the pleasures of alcohol and other drugs, as well as other worldly temptations. They came to be mostly all I thought about. I participated in grossly immoral behavior, and I turned into what I believe was a selfish monster. One night my crying mother caused me to realize that I didn’t want to continue living that way. Fittingly I dedicated the book to her.

I sought help through a twelve-step program and don’t regret it, as I met my wife there. Also, through that experience I learned valuable life skills and made friends I likely would not have otherwise made. However, looking back on it, what I now realize is that I let my involvement in that program hold me back from glorifying Jesus as I should have. How so? That program teaches spiritual diversity, believing in God as you understand Him. There is an appendix in my book dedicated to contrasting the disease/12 step model with the Bible. Those meetings and events presented open doors to teach people the Gospel, but I did not walk through them. I am not at all saying attending these meetings is inherently wrong, as there is value in them. As just mentioned, they actually serve to meet those who are spiritually searching. For me personally, I was actually hindered spiritually.

I obtained a job with an Alcohol and Drug rehab facility at the end of 2006, and worked there until around November of 2008. I left the facility because an opportunity arose to work with a local church. I didn’t know what I was doing, but they let me work with them. I remember studying the disease concept during that time and coming to the conclusion that it was not Biblical. I remember deciding for myself that I wanted to stop attending the 12-step meetings so that I could properly devote myself to serving and glorifying Jesus with the church. My wife struggled at first with realizing that, and understandably as she had been involved in it longer that I had. She eventually had the same realization.

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In the fall of 2012, Torrey Clark and I were discussing on the phone the need for churches to host Biblically based meetings designed to help drug addicts. I had thought that for years. People were going in droves to 12-step meetings, but were not being taught the Gospel there. How could the church reach out to addicts and help them? I did not want to be contented with someone’s ceasing drug use, but I wanted people to be saved by Jesus Christ. Ronnie Crocker said something to me on the phone years ago: “I don’t want people to get sober and go to hell.” Amen! This is about something bigger; this is about glorifying God! It is probably safe to say that there are millions who have ceased addictions through twelve-step meetings, but life is about much more than that. I can cease an addictive behavior and not glorify God.

So Torrey and I decided the addicts who attended would need a guide, and that resulted in writing Pressing Forward. The title was derived from Paul’s words as found in Philippians 3:13,14. Charles Harris and Bruce Hatcher came on board along with Torrey to help me in this effort. I finally finished this year.

Torrey and I decided that it would be best to have Start2Finish publish the book. I had never met nor even spoken with Michael, that I remember at least. I knew Michael was fond of The Light Network and had been a guest on shows. Since Torrey works with the network, I told him to contact Michael. He did, and here we are!

What are the plans for Pressing Forward? This is designed to be more than a book. Our original thought was to have meetings designed to draw in addicts so they can be taught the Gospel. This book is meant to aid in that process. The plan is to launch a web site for Pressing Forward, which will have a downloadable curriculum. This curriculum is designed to train churches to prepare to implement this work. It educates about the Bible and addiction, and teaches how to conduct the meetings and how to interact with those who attend. We encourage churches to purchase copies of the book to distribute to addicts who attend the meetings. We want to create an environment in which the addict is comfortable opening up about struggles. This isn’t just about reaching addicts in the community though. In fact, that is secondary. What do I mean? I mean our first priority is reaching addicts in the church (Gal. 6:1-10). Yes, in the church. Let’s confess there is an elephant in the room. Addiction is an issue in the church.

My favorite part of the curriculum is modeling the outreach method of Jesus. He approached broken people. He approached people even when it meant getting ridiculed by the religious leaders of the day. Could it be we have neglected approaching addicts for fear of reactions from others? Could it be we have neglected it because of irrational fears? Could it be we have neglected it because there is no way they would ever obey the Gospel? I do not intend to be negative. I want to challenge us. I want to encourage us to move forward with our God-given responsibility––reaching out to the downtrodden with the Gospel.

In January, we here at Collierville are starting the curriculum. I will be teaching the adults, and Torrey will be teaching the teens on Sunday mornings. On Wednesday nights, we will combine them and do personal evangelism training. You can customize it to your home church as appropriate. Lord willing, in April we will start hosting the meetings.

You can do the same. You can be a part of this work. You can make a difference in your home church. You can make a difference in your community. Will you press forward with us?

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