My heart is broken the fourth Monday of every month at 1 pm. It’s like clockwork. If you want to have your heart broken in ministry, here’s a guaranteed way: work with people suffering from addictions. Mt Vernon Church is privileged to have a partnership with Recovery House, an in treatment facility assisting ladies dealing with drug and alcohol issues. During the first 90 days, the ladies come to Mt Vernon every week for Sunday services. We get to know them. We learn their backstories, their tragic choices, and their courage in attempting to face their consequences.
On the fourth Monday of each month, I meet the ladies at Recovery House and we have two hours of “girl talk.” We get to know each other, share our stories, and they can ask any spiritual question they like (some of the questions are way out of left field). I get to know the ladies and learn about their upbringing, their families, their kids.
And then they break my heart. This past Monday, I went out and learned that we lost three ladies this month. Two of them relapsed, and one decided not to continue in the program. They’re out in their old haunts, promising to try harder, but we all know how that’s going to turn out. They’ve resigned themselves to months (and sometimes years) of struggling with the addictions that brought them to Recovery House in the first place. Many of you know the pain of watching someone you care about walk away and ruin their lives with reckless choices.
If you want easy ministry, stay inside the four walls of the church. Only talk to nice looking middle class families. If you want your heart broken, roll up your sleeves and begin caring for those dealing with major addictions. I rejoice with their successes and weep with their failures. Somehow I think Jesus would do the same.