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The “A” Word in Church: Addressing Addiction From the Pulpit


Addiction is a heavy issue with widespread effects not only on the user themselves but on their friends and families. From the pulpit to churchwide programs, here are 8 ways to tackle this serious issue with your church community.

Pulpit Practicals

  1. Don't talk about addiction as a moral failing, but as an illness like cancer or diabetes.
  2. Name it. Acknowledge it during times of prayer or other opportunities.
  3. When talking about addiction, use restoration framework language. For example, "I've learned that addiction often is the result of an individual's attempt to manage the tremendous pain they are trying to cope with."
  4. When appropriate, give attendees an opportunity to talk about their journeys with recovery.

Programmatic Practicals

  1. Support community-based groups like AA, NA, and Smart Recovery to hold meetings in your church.
  2. Offer Sunday School or other educational opportunities that address the topic of addiction and related topics like mental health and trauma.
  3. Since addiction often starts in the teen years, make sure youth and college ministry leaders are trained in knowing how to respond to addiction-related concerns.
  4. Work with other community-based agencies during key recovery-based programs, like National Recovery Month each September (https://recoverymonth.gov).

Hope is available to those affected by addiction. For more insight and practical support to address this topic with your church community, refer to the Addiction section in our free RelateStrong | Leadership Series eBook.