Barnesburg Church offers support to those battling addiction

·3 min read

Apr. 27—Overcoming one's personal struggles is never easy, but having a strong support group works miracles. In this case, literally.

Barnesburg Baptist Church is holding a monthly resources event called Leap of Faith Outreach. The event aims to offer support to people overcoming "addiction, suicide, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, or any stronghold," according to director Chance Sweet.

Sweet and his wife Michelle have a combined 35 years of being actively addicted. Chance Sweet said he started the program after a while of waking up to a feeling that he was being visited by God, who urged him to help those in his community and lift them "out of darkness."

"I just started writing down on paper what he told me," said Sweet. "And he gave me the name 'Leap of Faith Outreach,' and I kept doubting it."

Sweet felt he was unqualified by the position but said he felt God say, "If I wanted you to be a doctor, I'd give you a stethoscope."

The Leap of Faith Outreach connects people with resources. People without transportation or those who are food insecure can be given rides to and from their group meetings or rehab clinics and are also fed and clothed.

"A lot of people going into recovery, they're coming off the street with nothing," said Sweet.

Essentials like hygiene items are also provided, and each monthly "recovery rally" offers a large meal for people to fill their bellies. To Chance and Michelle Sweet, they are a part of these individuals' families, and they feel they need to provide for them.

"We've got to feed the sheep," said Sweet. "That's what Jesus called us to do."

Recovery rallies consist of a live band and testimonials given by former addicts telling how their lives have changed since they got sober.

The program also gives the local homeless, especially those in recovery, bags full of supplies including a tent during the summer.

Jordan Burks, pastor of Barnesburg Baptist, grew up down the road from Sweet. As they grew, their paths diverged. Now that they're together again, they are each marching to the same goal.

"God really put it on his heart to have a mission, especially for those who are facing going into rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol," said Pastor Burks. "Our main focus is to get these people help and let them know that they're not alone."

These recovery rallies, said Burks, are a symbol of celebration for those who have conquered their vices and are forging a new path for themselves.

Burks said that the team behind the program is also looking to do a "recovery fest." Still in the early stages of planning, the event would be free of charge.

"We're looking forward to hopefully starting it in June," said Burks. "We'll have speakers from out of town, musical guests, food, prizes, just letting folks know we're here."

People can donate to the program on Facebook, at the "Leap of Faith Outreach" page.